pgm man page

pgm — Netpbm grayscale image format

Description

This program is part of Netpbm(1).

The PGM format is a lowest common denominator grayscale file format. It is designed to be extremely easy to learn and write programs for. (It's so simple that most people will simply reverse engineer it because it's easier than reading this specification).

A PGM image represents a grayscale graphic image.  There are many pseudo-PGM formats in use where everything is as specified herein except for the meaning of individual pixel values.  For most purposes, a PGM image can just be thought of an array of arbitrary integers, and all the programs in the world that think they're processing a grayscale image  can easily be tricked into processing something else.

The name "PGM" is an acronym derived from "Portable Gray Map."

One official variant of PGM is the transparency mask.  A transparency mask in Netpbm is represented by a PGM image, except that in place of  pixel intensities, there are opaqueness values.  See below.

The Format

The format definition is as follows.  You can use the libnetpbm(1) C subroutine library to conveniently and accurately read and interpret the format.

A PGM file consists of a sequence of one or more PGM images. There are no data, delimiters, or padding before, after, or between images.

Each PGM image consists of the following:

 

Strings starting with "#" may be comments, the same as with PBM(1).

Note that you can use pamdepth to convert between a the format with 1 byte per gray value and the one with 2 bytes per gray value.

All characters referred to herein are encoded in ASCII. "newline" refers to the character known in ASCII as Line Feed or LF.  A "white space" character is space, CR, LF, TAB, VT, or FF (I.e. what the ANSI standard C isspace() function calls white space).

Plain PGM

There is actually another version of the PGM format that is fairly rare: "plain" PGM format.  The format above, which generally considered the normal one, is known as the "raw" PGM format. See pbm(1) for some commentary on how plain and raw formats relate to one another and how to use them.

The difference in the plain format is:

  • There is exactly one image in a file.
  • The magic number is P2 instead of P5.
  • Each pixel in the raster is represented as an ASCII decimal number  (of arbitrary size).
  • Each pixel in the raster has white space before and after it.  There must be at least one character of white space between any two pixels, but there is no maximum.
  • No line should be longer than 70 characters.

Here is an example of a small image in the plain PGM format.

P2
# feep.pgm
24 7
15
0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
0  3  3  3  3  0  0  7  7  7  7  0  0 11 11 11 11  0  0 15 15 15 15  0
0  3  0  0  0  0  0  7  0  0  0  0  0 11  0  0  0  0  0 15  0  0 15  0
0  3  3  3  0  0  0  7  7  7  0  0  0 11 11 11  0  0  0 15 15 15 15  0
0  3  0  0  0  0  0  7  0  0  0  0  0 11  0  0  0  0  0 15  0  0  0  0
0  3  0  0  0  0  0  7  7  7  7  0  0 11 11 11 11  0  0 15  0  0  0  0
0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0

There is a newline character at the end of each of these lines.

Programs that read this format should be as lenient as possible, accepting anything that looks remotely like a PGM.

Internet Media Type

No Internet Media Type (aka MIME type, content type) for PGM has been registered with IANA, but the value image/x-portable-graymap is conventional.

Note that the PNM Internet Media Type image/x-portable-anymap also applies.

File Name

There are no requirements on the name of a PGM file, but the convention is to use the suffix ".pgm".  "pnm" is also conventional, for cases where distinguishing between the particular subformats of PNM is not convenient.

Compatibility

Before April 2000, a raw format PGM file could not have a maxval greater than 255.  Hence, it could not have more than one byte per sample.  Old programs may depend on this.

Before July 2000, there could be at most one image in a PGM file.  As a result, most tools to process PGM files ignore (and don't read) any data after the first image.

See Also

pnm(1), pbm(1), ppm(1), pam(1), libnetpbm(1), programs that process PGM(1),

Author

Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 by Jef Poskanzer.

Document Source

This manual page was generated by the Netpbm tool 'makeman' from HTML source.  The master documentation is at

http://netpbm.sourceforge.net/doc/pgm.html

Referenced By

cjpeg(1), dcraw(1), ddjvu(1), djpeg(1), efix(1), jbgtopbm(1), mplayer(1), pbmtojbg(1), pnmtoy4m(1), xcf2pnm(1), xzgv(1), y4mtopnm(1).

09 October 2016 netpbm documentation