[Image-SIG] PIL vs Numpy in raster calculations

Christopher Barker Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
Tue May 26 19:54:45 CEST 2009

Chris Ps wrote:
> Lately I'm dealing with image statistics with PIL (1.1.6). After I've 
> read that numpy (1.2.1) is very fast, I've also tried this library to 
> make the same calculations.

In general, I'm not sure there's any reason to expect better performance 
from numpy for things that are built in to (and done in C code) in PIL. 
numpy does give you access to more full featured manipulation, though.

Interesting results, just the same.

> After all these tests I conclude that the problem is when numpy has to 
> calculate the stats for large images. Probably mean() copies the image 
> before calculations take place so this copy action costs considerable 
> time.

I don't think mean() copies -- it certainly shouldn't have to.

However, this does:


indexing creates a copy, slicing does not, so you can do:


instead. That may be quite a bit faster.

However, numpy is vectorized, so I'd compute all three means at once:


what that does is reshape (without copying) the array into WxHx3 array, 
then do the mean over each band independently. I think that's about as 
fast as it can get.

For more ideas, try the numpy list.


Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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