I managed to generate a PNG image with a fractal.

The image is 65,536 pixels high and 65,536 pixels wide. It’s too big to be decoded into memory and displayed. It has probably a lot of unused space near the borders and I want to trim it to significantly reduce its area.

I tried GIMP and GraphicsMagick, but GIMP froze my computer and GraphicsMagick failed to allocate enough memory for the image.

I use Linux and I have 16GB of RAM. The compressed image is 6.2MB in size.

Can I trim the borders without loading the image fully into memory?

FWIW, in the end I used my school's server but I still want to know the answer.

  • I know that because I ran the program to generate the fractal in different sizes. The resolution of the image is based on the number of iterations given as input and it's as small as possible while including the whole fractal and being easily calculatable.
    – matj1
    Apr 12, 2019 at 23:18
  • Maybe this could work? stackoverflow.com/q/1905421/1922095
    – Brian Z
    Apr 13, 2019 at 17:02
  • Why not splitting and conquerring. Divide the image in 3x3 and process the borders then merge back to one. ImageMagick should do
    – splaisan
    Apr 13, 2019 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


You already know the cartesian definition of the image.

Consider some Python code to read the file in reasonably-sized buffer-loads - choose one or multiple lines of image pixels per buffer, but sufficiently few with regard to memory-availability.

On most pixel-lines, the left-most and right-most "border" pixels can be discarded. The first few, and last few, "border" lines, similarly.

The buffer-size of the output file can, and will, be different to that of the input file, by definition.


ImageMagick's "crop" filter should be able to do this efficiently.


What you want to achieve is definitely possible in theory. It's just a matter of finding an application that actually does it like this.

Bear in mind that an image that is 65536 x 65536 with 24 bit colour will consume about 12Gb of RAM - so actually it will fit in memory.

If it's 32-bit colour it would be about 17Gb, but even then you can load the whole image into RAM - Linux will overflow memory into the sawp file. This is slow, and the performance won't be very good, but it won't actually fail - it will just succeed slowly, unless you run out of swap space.

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