Visual Servoing Platform  version 3.0.0
Tutorial: Installation from source on OSX with Homebrew

In this tutorial you will learn how to install ViSP from source on OSX with Homebrew. These steps have been tested with Mac OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks and with 10.10.3 Yosemite.

Concerning ViSP installation, we provide also other Tutorials.

Install prerequisities

First, go to to install Homebrew.

Next use homebrew to install additional software.

$ brew update
$ brew install cmake

You will need to add the next line to your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile to have Homebrew be at the front of the PATH.

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH

In order for the above changes to take effect reopen the terminal or run this command:

$ source ~/.bashrc

Install 3rd parties

ViSP is interfaced with several 3rd party libraries. The complete list is provided here.

Recommended 3rd party

We recommend to install the following packages.

OpenCV 3rd party

$ brew install homebrew/science/opencv3

You can find OpenCV at:


Now to indicate to CMake where OpenCV is installed you will need to add the following line in your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile

export OpenCV_DIR=/usr/local/opt/opencv3/share/OpenCV

Note that OpenCV_DIR var gives now the location of OpenCVConfig.cmake file.

In order for the above changes to take effect reopen the terminal or run this command:

$ source ~/.bashrc

libxml2 3rd party

Just run the following instruction:

$ brew install libxml2

libdc1394 3rd party

Just run the following instruction:

$ brew install libdc1394

zbar 3rd party

To install the zbar library used in detection module for QR code detection, run:

$ brew install zbar

Other 3rd party

GSL 3rd party

If lapack 3rd party is not detected during CMake configuration it may be useful to install the Gnu Scientific Library (GSL) to benefit from optimized mathematical capabilities. To this end run the following instruction:

$ brew install gsl

Install ViSP from source code

Getting ViSP source code

There are different ways to get ViSP source code:

  • You can download the latest release as a zip or a tarball. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using either
    tar xvzf visp-x.y.z.tar.gz
  • You can also download a daily snapshot. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using
    tar xvzf visp-snapshot-yyyy-mm-dd.tar.gz
  • Or you get the cutting-edge ViSP from GitHub repository repository using the following command
    $ git clone

We suppose now that ViSP source is in a directory denoted <source_dir>, for example $HOME/visp

Configuring ViSP from source

  • Create first a directory denoted <binary_dir> where you want to build ViSP. This directory will contain generated Makefiles, object files, and output libraries and binaries.
    cd $HOME; mkdir visp-build
  • Enter the <binary_dir> and configure the build:
    cmake ../visp
    A more versatile way to configure the build is to use ccmake, the CMake GUI:
    ccmake ../visp
    The previous command allows to configure (just by pressing [c] key) the build in a more advanced way where some options could be easily turned On/Off. It allows also to see which are the 3rd party that will be used. Then to generate the makefiles, just press [g] key in the ccmake gui. Now we can build ViSP.

Building ViSP from source

  • To build ViSP proceed with:
    $ make -j4
  • To install ViSP proceed with:
    $ sudo make install
  • To build ViSP documentation, you have first to install Doxygen package:
    $ brew install doxygen
    Then you can proceed with:
    $ make -j4 visp_doc

Install ViSP dataset

Some ViSP examples and tests require data (images, video, models) that are not part of ViSP source code but available in a separate archive named This archive could be downloaded from page. We provide here after the way to install these data if you want to run ViSP examples.

cd $HOME

We suppose now that the data are located in $HOME/ViSP-images.

$ ls $HOME/ViSP-images
Klimt circle ellipse iv mbt mire-2
LICENSE.txt calibration cube ellipse-1 line mire video

Set VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH environment variable to help ViSP examples and tests to find the location of the data set. It's convenient if the environment variables is automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched:

echo "export VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH=$HOME" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc
For historical reasons VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH should not contain the folder ViSP-images, but the parent folder.

From now, you can try to run ViSP examples and tests. For example you can run displayX example that should open a windows with Klimt painting image and some overlay drawings:

$ cd $HOME/visp-build
$ ./example/device/display/displayX
A click to close the windows...
A click to display a cross...
Cross position: 201, 441
A click to exit the program...

Tips and tricks

How to uninstall ViSP

After ViSP installation, you can remove installed material using:

$ sudo make uninstall

How to build only ViSP libraries

If you want to build only ViSP modules libraries, nor the examples, tutorials and tests:

$ make -j4 visp_modules

How to build a ViSP specific module

If you want to build a given module and all the dependencies:

$ make -j4 visp_<module_name>

For example to build the model-based tracker module named mbt, run:

$ make -j4 visp_mbt

Which are the targets that could be run with make ?

To know which are the target available with make:

$ make help | grep visp
... visp_tests
... visp_demos
... visp_tutorials
... visp_examples
... visp_modules
... visp_doc
... visp_core
... visp_detection
... visp_gui
... visp_io
... visp_klt
... visp_me
... visp_robot
... visp_sensor
... visp_ar
... visp_blob
... visp_visual_features
... visp_vs
... visp_vision
... visp_mbt
... visp_tt
... visp_tt_mi

Which are the 3rd party libraries that are used in ViSP ?

To see which are the optional 3rd parties that are found during the configuration stage and that will be used by ViSP during the build you can have a look to the text file named ViSP-third-party.txt and located in <binary_dir>. We provide hereafter an example of a possible content of this file:

ViSP third-party libraries
Below you will find the list of third party libraries used to
build ViSP on your computer.
Gnu Scientific Library : yes
Lapack/blas : yes
Ogre simulator : no
\- Ogre3D : no
\- OIS : no
Coin simulator : no
\- Coin3D : no
\- SoWin : no
\- SoXt : no
\- SoQt : no
\- Qt4 : no
\- Qt3 : no
Afma6 : no
Afma4 : no
Biclops : no
Ptu46 : no
Pioneer : no
Viper S650 : no
Viper S850 : no
Video devices (display)
X11 : yes
GTK : no
OpenCV : yes
GDI : no
Direct3D : no
Firewire libdc1394-2.x : yes
Video For Linux Two : no
DirectShow : no
CMU 1394 Digital Camera SDK : no
OpenCV : yes
Specific devices
Yarp : no
Kinect : yes
\-libfreenect : yes
\-libusb-1.0 : yes
\-pthread : yes
Video and image Read/Write:
libjpeg : yes
libpng : yes
XML2 : yes
pthread : yes
OpenMP : no
zbar : no
dmtx : yes
Doxygen : no
Graphviz dot : no
ViSP built with C++11 features: no

Kwown issues

/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig is not writable

  • During OpenCV installation, if you get the following errors:
    $ brew install opencv3
    Could not symlink lib/pkgconfig/isl.pc
    /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig is not writable.
    You can try again using:
    brew link isl
    it means maybe that you install other softwares without brew in /usr/local. A work arround is to change the owner of the corresponding folder like:
    $ sudo chown {your-user-name} /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
  • If you enter into troubles with the packages you install with brew, a good stating is to run:
    $ brew doctor

Application built with libpng-1.5.18 but running with 1.6.17

  • If you encounter the following issue
    $ ./modules/vision/testKeypoint-5
    libpng warning: Application built with libpng-1.5.18 but running with 1.6.17
    error: can't create a png read structure!
    error reading png file
    It means that apparently there is a conflict between libpng version installed by "brew install opencv3" (1.6.17), and the one used by X11/XQuartz (1.5.18). A work arround is to turn off libpng usage in ViSP. To configure and build again ViSP without png support:
    $ ccmake -DUSE_PNG=OFF ../ViSP
    $ make -j4
    An other work arround option is to turn off X11 usage in ViSP. Display capabilities will be then the one from OpenCV. To this end, configure and build again ViSP without X11 support:
    $ ccmake -DUSE_X11=OFF ../ViSP
    $ make -j4

Next tutorial

You are now ready to see the next Tutorial: How to create and build a CMake project that uses ViSP on Unix or Windows that will show you how to use ViSP as a 3rd party to build your own project.