I have an input image with a size of ~18MB, which is mostly black and only 25-30% contains data. After I run gdal translate command like this:

gdal_translate -ot Byte -scale_1 0 200 -scale_2 0 184 -scale_3 0 174 "input_image.tif" "output_image.tif"

the result image size is ~910MB. Using -co compress=LZW option makes the resulting image weigh ~230MB.

What is my mistake in using gdal translate command, which makes the resulting image that large? And how to solve it?

Here is a link to the input image file: https://mega.nz/file/79x3QRaR#RGqYkXUkgYlpkYh_JKxFPhX-eVFMDg_Wl1rdVd78Y1w

  • Gdalinfo reveals that the source file is using: COMPRESSION=YCbCr JPEG JPEG_QUALITY=75 SOURCE_COLOR_SPACE=YCbCr. So, compressed with a lossy but more effective method than LZW. Use the same compression and photometric options and you should be close to the original file size.
    – user30184
    Oct 27, 2022 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


Not having access to the files makes answering this hard. However, you may want to set the no data value to 0, and pass more options to the compression:

gdal_translate -ot Byte -a_nodata 0 \
               -scale_1 0 200 -scale_2 0 184 -scale_3 0 174 \
               "input_image.tif" "output_image.tif" \
               -co "COMPRESS=LZW" -co "TILED=YES" -co "PREDICTOR=2"

There's a lot more information on compression options here, including lossy methods.

  • Thanks, compression options reduced the image size to ~130Mb. I've also added a link to the input file. Oct 27, 2022 at 19:05
  • The file would appear to be compressed with a lossy compressor (JPEG). So you won't get similar compression ratios unless you use something like that.
    – Jose
    Oct 27, 2022 at 19:32
  • Updated answer to cover all the options available in GDAL
    – Jose
    Oct 28, 2022 at 9:55

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