Pixel sorting images in python.
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What is Pixel Sorting?

Have a look at this post or /r/pixelsorting


Tested with python3. Should work with python2 as well.

Requires Pillow. pip install Pillow should work. If not, see here for details.

There is also a requirements file which pretty much does the same via pip install -r requirements.txt.


From the command line:

git clone https://github.com/satyarth/pixelsort.git
cd pixelsort
python3 pixelsort.py %PathToImage% [options]

Tip: To replicate Kim Asendorf's original processing script, first sort vertically and then horizontally in threshold (default) mode:

python3 pixelsort.py %PathToImage% -a 90
python3 pixelsort.py %PathToSortedImage%


Parameter Flag Description
Interval function -i Controls how the intervals used for sorting are defined. See below for more details and examples.
Output file -o Path of output file. Randomly generates a file name by default.
Randomness -r What percentage of intervals not to sort. 0 by default.
Threshold (lower) -t How dark must a pixel be to be considered as a 'border' for sorting? Takes values from 0-1. 0.25 by default. Used in edges and threshold modes.
Threshold (upper) -u How bright must a pixel be to be considered as a 'border' for sorting? Takes values from 0-1. 0.8 by default. Used in threshold mode.
Char. length -c Characteristic length for the random width generator. Used in mode random.
Angle -a Angle at which you're pixel sorting in degrees. 0 (horizontal) by default.
External int file -f Image used to define intervals. Must be black and white.
Sorting function -s Sorting function to use for sorting the pixels.

Interval Functions

Interval function Description
random Randomly generate intervals. Distribution of widths is linear by default. Interval widths can be scaled using clength.
edges Performs an edge detection, which is used to define intervals. Tweak threshold with threshold.
threshold Intervals defined by lightness thresholds; only pixels with a lightness between the upper and lower thresholds are sorted.
waves Intervals are waves of nearly uniform widths. Control width of waves with clength.
file Intervals taken from another specified input image. Must be black and white.
none Sort whole rows, only stopping at image borders.

Sorting Functions

Sorting function Description
lightness Sort by the lightness of a pixel according to a HSV representation.
hue Sort by the hue of a pixel according to a HSV representation.
saturation Sort by the saturation of a pixel according to a HSV representation.
intensity Sort by the intensity of a pixel, i.e. the sum of all the RGB values.
minimum Sort on the minimum RGB value of a pixel (either the R, G or B).


python3 pixelsort.py examples/image.jpg -i random -c 20


python3 pixelsort.py examples/image.jpg -i edges -t 250


  • file: Intervals taken from image specified with -f. Must be black and white.

python3 pixelsort.py examples/image.jpg -i file -f examples/intervals.png


(generated with elementary-ca)



  • Allow defining different intervals for different channels.

Based on https://gist.github.com/LycaonIsAWolf/667c5554e5d9d9a25ae6