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pyvips 2.0.4

binding for the libvips image processing library

PyPI package:

This module wraps the libvips image processing library. It needs the libvips shared library on your library search path, version 8.2 or later.

This binding passes the vips test suite cleanly and with no leaks under python2.7 - python3.6, pypy and pypy3 on Windows, macOS and Linux.

We have formatted docs online here:

How it works

Programs that use pyvips don’t manipulate images directly, instead they create pipelines of image processing operations building on a source image. When the end of the pipe is connected to a destination, the whole pipeline executes at once, streaming the image in parallel from source to destination a section at a time.

Because pyvips is parallel, it’s quick, and because it doesn’t need to keep entire images in memory, it’s light. For example, the libvips speed and memory use benchmark:

Loads a large tiff image, shrinks by 10%, sharpens, and saves again. On this test pyvips is typically 5x faster than Pillow-SIMD and needs 4x less memory.

There’s a handy blog post explaining how libvips opens files, which gives some more background.


You need the libvips shared library on your library search path, version 8.2 or later. On linux and macOS, you can install via your package manager; on Windows you can download a pre-compiled binary from the libvips website:

Then just install this package, perhaps:

$ pip install --user pyvips


This sample program loads a JPG image, doubles the value of every green pixel, sharpens, and then writes the image back to the filesystem again:

import pyvips

image = pyvips.Image.new_from_file('some-image.jpg', access='sequential')
image *= [1, 2, 1]
mask = pyvips.Image.new_from_array([[-1, -1, -1],
                                    [-1, 16, -1],
                                    [-1, -1, -1]
                                   ], scale=8)
image = image.conv(mask, precision='integer')

Converting old code

To convert old code, replace the lines:

import gi
gi.require_version('Vips', '8.0')
from gi.repository import Vips


import pyvips
Vips = pyvips

Instead of the pyvips = Vips, you can of course also swap all Vips for pyvips with eg.:



The Python binding included in libvips works, but porting and installation are more difficult than they should be.

This new binding is:

  • compatible with the current Python binding (it runs the same test suite, unmodified)
  • easier to install, since the stack is much smaller, and there are no issues with the overrides directory
  • faster, since we implement Buffer and save some copies
  • faster, since it is “thinner”. The ffi Ruby binding is about twice as fast as the gobject-introspection one, when running the test suite
  • portable across CPython, PyPy and others
  • more simply portable to Windows
  • easy to package for pip


Local user install:

$ pip install --user -e .
$ pip3 install --user -e .
$ pypy -m pip --user -e .

Run test suite:

$ nosetests --logging-level=WARNING
$ python3 -m nose --logging-level=WARNING
$ pypy -m nose --logging-level=WARNING


$ flake8

Generate HTML docs in doc/build/html:

$ cd doc; sphinx-build -bhtml . build/html

Regenerate autodocs:

$ cd doc; \
  python -c "import pyvips; pyvips.Operation.generate_sphinx_all()" > x

And copy-paste x into the obvious place in doc/vimage.rst.

Update version number:

$ vi pyvips/
$ vi doc/

Update pypi package:

$ python bdist_wheel
$ twine upload dist/*
File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
pyvips-2.0.4-py2.py3-none-any.whl (md5) Python Wheel py2.py3 2017-09-07 56KB