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Python wrappers for libigl

Work in progress


Everything in this folder is currently being developed and it is likely to be changed radically in the next couple of months, breaking compatibility between different version. We plan to stabilize the python API by the end of 2016.


libigl functions can be called natively from python by compiling the wrappers in this folder. The wrappers supports both python 2.7 and python 3.5 and are generated using pybind11.

The generated library will statically link against all dependencies producing a single, self-contained binary.


The python bindings can be compiled with the following instructions, assuming that your terminal is pointing to the root of libigl:

cd python
mkdir build
cd build; cmake ..; make; cd ..

The cmake script will complain if it is not able to find python. In that case you can specify the location of the interpreter by specifying the following cmake variables.


SET(PYTHON_LIBRARIES "/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.5.0/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.5/lib/libpython3.5m.dylib")
SET(PYTHON_INCLUDE_DIR "/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.5.0/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.5/include/python3.5m")


SET(PYTHON_LIBRARIES "C:/Python35/libs/python35.lib")
SET(PYTHON_INCLUDE_DIR "C:/Python35/include")

On Linux you may need to install the development version of python:

sudo apt-get install python-dev


All libigl tutorials will be ported to python and will use the same naming scheme. You can find the tutorials in the folder python/tutorials and you can launch them with the following commands:

cd python

Matrix Representation


describe in detail the wrapped eigen classes and how to convert them to numpy.

Viewer and callbacks

The igl viewer provides a convenient and efficient way of visualizing 3D surfaces in python. It behaves in the same way as the C++ viewer and supports native python functions as callbacks. This is a simple example that loads two meshes and switches between the two when a key is pressed:

import pyigl as igl

V1 = igl.eigen.MatrixXd()
F1 = igl.eigen.MatrixXi()

V2 = igl.eigen.MatrixXd()
F2 = igl.eigen.MatrixXi()

def key_pressed(viewer, key, modifier):
    print("Key: ", chr(key))

    if key == ord('1'):
        # # Clear should be called before drawing the mesh;
        # # Draw_mesh creates or updates the vertices and faces of the displayed mesh.
        # # If a mesh is already displayed, draw_mesh returns an error if the given V and
        # # F have size different than the current ones, F1);
    elif key == ord('2'):;, F2);
    return False

#  Load two meshes
igl.readOFF("../tutorial/shared/", V1, F1);
igl.readOFF("../tutorial/shared/", V2, F2);

print("1 Switch to bump mesh")
print("2 Switch to fertility mesh")

viewer = igl.glfw.Viewer()

# Register a keyboard callback that allows to switch between
# the two loaded meshes
viewer.callback_key_pressed = key_pressed, F1)

Remote viewer

When using the viewer from an interactive python shell (iPython), it is inconvenient to let the viewer take control of the main thread for rendering purposes. We provide a simple wrapper for the viewer that allows to launch a remote process and send meshes to it via a TCP/IP socket. For more information on how to use it see the documentation in


The python wrappers can be natively being used from MATLAB. We provide a few examples in the folder python/matlab.


The python functions have exactly the same prototypes as their C++ counterpart. Docstrings for all available python functions are extracted from the C++ header files and compiled into the python module. To get help for a certain function, you can run help(pyigl.<function_name>) in the python console.

In the scripts folder there is the script that automatically generates python docstrings for a new function. You can run it with <path_to_cpp_header_files> <path_to_python_files>. The script depends on additional libraries (joblib, mako, clang), make sure to install them (e.g. through pip. python-clang is included in external/pybind11/tools/clang).

Known Issues


Libigl is a group endeavor led by Alec Jacobson and Daniele Panozzo. Please contact us if you have questions or comments. For troubleshooting, please post an issue on github.

If you’re using libigl in your projects, quickly drop us a note. Tell us who you are and what you’re using it for. This helps us apply for funding and justify spending time maintaining this.

If you find bugs or have problems please use our github issue tracking page.

2015 Alec Jacobson, Daniele Panozzo, Christian Schüller, Olga Diamanti, Qingnan Zhou, Sebastian Koch, Nico Pietroni, Stefan Brugger, Kenshi Takayama, Wenzel Jakob, Nikolas De Giorgis, Luigi Rocca, Leonardo Sacht, Olga Sorkine-Hornung, and others.

Please see individual files for appropriate copyright notices.