low-level error diffusion image dithering implementation

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import imageDither from '';


Image - Dither

Build Status

Low level engine for error diffusion image dithering. Takes a buffer or an array of rgba values and applies dithering. Options for dithering include the error diffusion matrix (some common matrices are built-in), color palette, color distance metric and output 'pixel' size.

Beware, this is not particulary optimized.


npm install image-dither
npm install vorpal

Getting Started

var Dither = require('image-dither');

var options = {matrix: Dither.matrices.atkinson};
var dither = new Dither(options);
var img = magicallyRetrieveBuffer('path/to/img.png');
var imgWidth = magicallyRetrieveWidth('path/to/img.png');

var ditheredImg = dither.dither(img, imgWidth);


The example folder contains helpful examples demonstrating basic usage as well as more complex stuff.

require('image-dither') returns the Dither class, whose instances provide the following methods:

dither(buffer, width, options)

This method takes a buffer or array representing the image to dither. The buffer is expected to consecutively store the channel values for all pixels. An example is the buffer used by jimp. The second argument is the width of the image - the engine needs to know where new lines start.

Returns an array of the channel values for all pixels of the new image and does not modify the passed buffer directly.


The following options can be set by passing an options object to the Dither constructor, by accessing the options object exposed by each Dither instance, or by passing an options object to the dither()method.

The options passed to the methods only apply to this method call, and overrule the options set for the Dither instance.


The height and length for a 'pixel' in the output. Bigger step means lower resolution. Defaults to 1.


The number of channels per pixel stored in the buffer. Defaults to 4.


The diffused error is multiplied with this factor before being added. Defaults to 0.9, which looks better most of the time.

clip(buffer, index)

This is called after setting the channel-values for a pixel in the error buffer, and can be used to e.g. clip values to fit into the color space dimensions. buffer[index] is the value for the first channel, buffer[index+1] for the second channel, and so on. Does nothing by default.


This function is called once for each pixel with the pixel's color (error diffusion included) and should return the color to use in the output image. Colors are passed (and expected) as an array with the values for each channel.

The implementation of this function is left to the user, and determines palette choice and color distance metric.

The default function expects and returns rgba values from 0 to 255 and returns either 0,0,0,255 or 255,255,255,255, based on brightness.


The error diffusion matrix. The following matrices, all taken from this helpful article on dithering, are built in:

  • Dither.matrices.atkinson
  • Dither.matrices.burkes
  • Dither.matrices.floydSteinberg
  • Dither.matrices.jarvisJudiceNinke
  • Dither.matrices.oneDimensional
  • Dither.matrices.sierraLite
  • Dither.matrices.sierra2
  • Dither.matrices.sierra3
  • Dither.matrices.stucki
  • Dither.matrices.none

Defaults to Dither.matrices.floydSteinberg.

To specify your own error diffusion matrices, take a look at the implementation of the matrices above in That should be easier than explaining it here.