Note -- I would appreciate any comments on ho to improve the question -- I did the best I could but it I feel it may still be sup-par.

HIPS was/is an excellent image processing software. It was basically a large number of unix command line tools each that did something very well and you used UNIX pipes to combine them.

I'm either looking for something equivalent or a library that has equivalent functions that I can write command line wrappers around.

A library in Java would be Devine, Open Source is a must.


Some example of the tools HIPS had (full list here):

Geometric and Other Operations on Pictures

  • abspix - take the absolute value of pixels
  • bnoise - add binomial noise to an image
  • calcpix - generate and execute a program which manipulates byte-formatted sequences
  • exppix - take the exponential of an image
  • fcalcpix - generate and execute a program which manipulates float-formatted sequences
  • gnoise - pipe sequence through a channel with Gaussian noise
  • histoeq - histogram equalization
  • histostretch - stretch contrast by ignoring outlier pixel values
  • logimg - take the natural logarithm of an image
  • mean0 - subtract the mean from an image so that it has a mean of zero
  • neg - take the photographic negative of an image
  • noise - simulate a noisy digital communication channel
  • powerpix - raise to a power and normalize each pixel of a frame
  • scale - scale a sequence of images
  • scalemeansd - scale images to have a specified mean and standard deviation
  • shiftpix - shift pixel values
  • stretchpix - stretch or compress the range of gray-levels
  • thresh - apply a threshold

Frame Arithmetic

  • absdiffseq - compute the absolute value of the difference of image pixels
  • addseq - add two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • andseq - compute the logical AND of two sequences
  • autodiff - absolute value of the difference between successive frames
  • calccomb - generate and execute a program which combines byte-formatted sequences
  • colorkey - perform a `color keying' operation for merging several images
  • diffseq - subtract two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • divseq - divide two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • fcalccomb - generate and execute a program which combines float-formatted sequences
  • maxabsseq - compute the maximum absolute value of two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • maxseq - compute the maximum of two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • minabsseq - compute the minimum absolute value of two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • minseq - compute the minimum of two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • mulseq - multiply two sequences, pixel by pixel
  • orseq - compute the logical OR of two sequences
  • xorseq - compute the logical XOR of two sequences

Convolution, Correlation, Edge Detection and Other Spatial Operations

  • abdou - Abdou's edge fitting procedure
  • bclean - remove small 8-connected components
  • btcsmooth - smooth a btc image
  • convolve - 3D convolution
  • correl - cross-correlate two images
  • discedge - a discrete domain regional edge detector
  • discedge2 - a discrete domain regional edge detector with offsets
  • dog - filter an image by applying difference of Gaussians mask
  • extremum - apply an extremum filter to an image
  • mask - generalized filtering program
  • maskseq - convert a mask set into a HIPS sequence
  • median - apply a median filter to an image
  • morphdilate - apply the morphological operator of dilation
  • morpherode - apply the morphological operator of erosion
  • nonisot - nonisotropic convolution
  • thicken - thicken a white-on-black image
  • thin - thin and categorize a white-on-black image
  • zc - find zero-crossings in a convolved sequence

Digital Transforms and Filters

  • bandpass - apply a bandpass filter to a sequence
  • bandreject - apply a band rejection filter to a sequence
  • dct - discrete cosine transform
  • dispwbasis - output the basis set for the Walsh transform of a 16X16 array
  • flipquad - swap opposite image quadrants
  • fourtr - Fourier transform and spectrum
  • fourtr3d - 3D Fourier transform and spectrum
  • highpass - apply a highpass filter to a sequence
  • inv.dct - inverse discrete cosine transform
  • inv.fourtr - inverse Fourier transform
  • inv.walshtr - inverse Walsh transform
  • lowpass - apply a lowpass filter to a sequence
  • walshtr - Walsh transform

Gaussian and Laplacian Pyramid Operations

  • imgtopyr - compute a Laplacian or Gaussian pyramid
  • pyrdisplay - convert an image pyramid to a single image for display
  • pyrexpand - apply the pyramid expand operation to an image or pyramid
  • pyrextract - extract a subset of pyramid levels
  • pyrmerge - merge several images or pyramids into a single pyramid
  • pyrreduce - apply the pyramid reduce operation to an image or pyramid
  • pyrtoimg - reconstruct an image from a Laplacian pyramid -Image Compression
  • ahc3 - 3D adaptive hierarchical coding into binary trees of binary images
  • ahc3_r - decode an ahc3-coded sequence into a byte formatted sequence
  • binquad - 3D binary (temporal) and quadtree (spatial)
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am not sure if OpenCV Contains all those functions. But I am positive that it is one of the best Computer Vision library ever. link $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2015 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ Could you review my answer? $\endgroup$
    – Royi
    Mar 30, 2021 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ Royi, while ImageMagick and many such libraries have all the functions -- what is amazing about Hips is it's ability to use UNIX pipes and combination operators to form complex pipelines. As far as I know -- ImageMagic, OpenCV and the like do not have these facilities. $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2021 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ @user1172468, Could you please mark / review my answer? $\endgroup$
    – Royi
    Feb 20, 2022 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ What's wrong with HIPS? It's now public domain and already does everything you want. $\endgroup$
    – Peter K.
    Feb 20, 2022 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


It sounds like ImageMagick is a good fit for you.

Give it a try and tell us what you think.


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