Book Image

OpenFrameworks Essentials

Book Image

OpenFrameworks Essentials

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (19 chapters)
openFrameworks Essentials
About the Authors
About the Reviewers


openFrameworks Essentials is a guide that can be used to learn and use openFrameworks in order to develop creative and artistic real-time applications. The book contains an insight into how openFrameworks can be used to implement your creative ideas in powerful projects by working on the OS X, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and Raspberry Pi devices. Although openFrameworks is a very popular toolkit for creative coding, the number of books describing openFrameworks is not high.

This book is a fast-paced tutorial that begins with installing openFrameworks and then takes a step-by-step approach towards using openFrameworks to build a video synthesizer project. We will investigate and implement features such as 2D and 3D graphics, GUI, shaders, and reaction on sound, using the OSC networking protocol and Arduino.

The openFrameworks version considered is 0.8.4.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Getting Started with openFrameworks, introduces openFrameworks by explaining its installation and running one of its examples. Additionally, it discusses the structure of the video synthesizer project, which will be developed in the course of the book.

Chapter 2, Creating Your First openFrameworks Project, guides you to create a new openFrameworks project and implement 2D graphics.

Chapter 3, Adding a GUI and Handling Keyboard Events, explains creating a graphical user interface consisting of controls such as sliders and checkboxes. Also, it covers implementing keyboard events, using system dialogs, and saving screenshots.

Chapter 4, Working with Raster Graphics – Images, Videos, and Shaders, explains drawing images and videos, capturing video from a camera, mixing videos using additive blending, and creating the kaleidoscope video effect using a fragment shader.

Chapter 5, Creating 3D Graphics, introduces the basics of 3D graphics with openFrameworks by drawing a sphere in 3D and then texturing and deforming it.

Chapter 6, Animating Parameters, discusses using various data sources, such as Perlin noise, sounds, and text files, to automatically control the parameters of the project.

Chapter 7, Distributed and Physical Computing with Networking and Arduino, explains how to control your project from other programs using the OSC networking protocol. It describes building such controlling programs using openFrameworks by itself as well as the Python and Max/MSP programming languages. Also, it covers receiving data from an Arduino device.

Chapter 8, Deploying the Project on iOS, Android, and Raspberry Pi, guides you to run the light version of the developed video synthesizer on mobile and Raspberry Pi devices.

Chapter 9, Further Resources, suggests the direction to further enhance the video synthesizer project, provides sources of additional information on openFrameworks, and discusses debugging and speeding up openFrameworks projects.

Appendix A, Video Synthesizer Reference, is a comprehensive documentation of the developed video synthesizer project. It contains a description of all GUI controls, control keys, and media files used by the project.

Appendix B, openFrameworks Quick Reference, is a useful reminder of the basic openFrameworks functions and classes used in the book.

What you need for this book

openFrameworks is a cross-platform toolkit, so you can develop openFrameworks projects using your operating system of choice—OS X, Windows, Linux Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora, or Raspbian OS. To build the projects, you will need to install the C++ IDE and openFrameworks itself. All the required software is free; detailed instructions on installing are explained in Chapter 1, Getting Started with openFrameworks.

To proceed with some sections, you will need additional software (Python and Max/MSP) or hardware (camera, microphone, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino devices). If you currently don't have any devices, you can skip the corresponding section(s).

Who this book is for

The book is intended for those who want to use openFrameworks to build creative projects that run at maximum efficiency on desktops and mobiles. Perhaps you have some experience in creative coding but have never used C++ and openFrameworks, or perhaps you know a little C++ but are new to creative coding. In either case, this book will get you up and running quickly. A basic knowledge of programming languages, such as C++, Java, Python, or JavaScript, will be enough to proceed with the book.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "The class for playing videos is ofVideoPlayer."

A block of code is set as follows:

ofSetWindowTitle( "Video synth" );
ofSetWindowShape( 1280, 720 );
ofSetFrameRate( 60 );
ofBackground( ofColor::white );

When we wish to draw your attention to a particular part of a code block, the relevant lines or items are set in bold:

for (int i=-50; i<50; i++) {
  ofTranslate( i*20, 0 );
  ofLine( 0, -100, 0, 100 );

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

cd openFrameworks/libs/openFrameworksCompiled/project

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: "Click on the GENERATE PROJECT button."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

Reader feedback

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To send us general feedback, simply e-mail , and mention the book's title in the subject of your message.

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Downloading the color images of this book

We also provide you with a PDF file that has color images of the screenshots/diagrams used in this book. The color images will help you better understand the changes in the output. You can download this file from:


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