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A Python library for alpha matting
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PyMatting: A Python Library for Alpha Matting

License: MIT Build Status PyPI

We introduce the PyMatting package for Python which implements various methods to solve the alpha matting problem.


Given an input image and a hand-drawn trimap (top row), alpha matting estimates the alpha channel of a foreground object which can then be composed onto a different background (bottom row).

PyMatting provides:

  • Alpha matting implementations for:
    • Closed Form Alpha Matting [1]
    • Large Kernel Matting [2]
    • KNN Matting [3]
    • Learning Based Digital Matting [4]
    • Random Walk Matting [5]
  • Foreground estimation implementations for:
    • Closed Form Foreground Estimation [1]
    • Multilevel Foreground Estimation (CPU, CUDA and OpenCL)
  • Fast multithreaded KNN search
  • Preconditioners to accelerate the convergence rate of conjugate gradient descent:
    • The incomplete thresholded Cholesky decomposition (Incomplete is part of the name. The implementation is quite complete.)
    • The V-Cycle Geometric Multigrid preconditioner
  • Readable code leveraging NumPy, SciPy and Numba

Getting Started


Minimal requiremens

  • numpy>=1.16.0
  • pillow>=5.2.0
  • numba>=0.47.0
  • scipy>=1.1.0

Additional requirements for GPU support

  • cupy-cuda90>=6.5.0 or similar
  • pyopencl>=2019.1.2

Requirements to run the tests

  • pytest>=5.3.4

Installation with PyPI

pip3 install pymatting

Installation from Source

git clone
cd pymatting
pip3 install .


from pymatting import cutout

    # input image path
    # input trimap path
    # output cutout path

More advanced examples


Run the tests from the main directory:

 python3 tests/
 pip3 install -r requirements_tests.txt

Currently 89% of the code is covered by tests.


  • Thomas Germer
  • Tobias Uelwer
  • Stefan Conrad
  • Stefan Harmeling

See also the list of contributors who participated in this project.


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the file for details


[1] Anat Levin, Dani Lischinski, and Yair Weiss. A closed-form solution to natural image matting. IEEE transactions on pattern analysis and machine intelligence, 30(2):228–242, 2007.

[2] Kaiming He, Jian Sun, and Xiaoou Tang. Fast matting using large kernel matting laplacian matrices. In 2010 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, 2165–2172. IEEE, 2010.

[3] Qifeng Chen, Dingzeyu Li, and Chi-Keung Tang. Knn matting. IEEE transactions on pattern analysis and machine intelligence, 35(9):2175–2188, 2013.

[4] Yuanjie Zheng and Chandra Kambhamettu. Learning based digital matting. In 2009 IEEE 12th international conference on computer vision, 889–896. IEEE, 2009.

[5] Leo Grady, Thomas Schiwietz, Shmuel Aharon, and Rüdiger Westermann. Random walks for interactive alpha-matting. In Proceedings of VIIP, volume 2005, 423–429. 2005.

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