Visual Servoing Platform  version 3.1.0
Tutorial: Installation from source for 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, with 10.10.3 Yosemite and with 10.12.5 Sierra.

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 /usr/local/bin to the PATH environment var in your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile to have Homebrew be at the front of the PATH.
    $ echo "export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ source ~/.bashrc

Install 3rd parties

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

Recommended 3rd parties

We recommend to install the following packages.

  • OpenCV to get advanced image processing and computer vision features coming with ViSP
    $ brew install opencv
  • lapack and eigen for matrix inversion
    $ brew install lapack eigen
  • libdc1394 to capture images from firewire cameras
    $ brew install libdc1394
  • libxml2 to be able to configure the model-based trackers from xml files
    $ brew install libxml2
  • zbar for QR code detection
    $ brew install zbar

Other optional 3rd parties

  • If you have an Intel Realsense RGB-D camera (R200, F200, SR300, LR200, RZ300) you may install librealsense 1.12.1 and PCL library using:
    $ brew install librealsense pcl
  • If you have a rather a Basler camera you may donwload and install Pylon SDK following these instructions.
  • 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

Create a workspace

  • First create a workspace in $HOME/visp-ws that will contain ViSP source, build and dataset.
    $ export VISP_WS=$HOME/visp-ws
    $ mkdir -p $VISP_WS

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 -C $VISP_WS
    $ unzip -d $VISP_WS
  • You can also download a daily snapshot. Once downloaded, uncompress the file using
    $ tar xvzf visp-snapshot-yyyy-mm-dd.tar.gz -C $VISP_WS
  • Or you get the cutting-edge ViSP from GitHub repository repository using the following command
    $ cd $VISP_WS
    $ git clone

We suppose now that ViSP source is in the directory $VISP_WS/visp. The following should be adapted if you downloaded ViSP from a zip or tarball. In that case, the source is rather in something like $VISP_WS/visp-x.y.z.

Configuring ViSP from source

  • In the worspace, create first a directory named visp-build that will contain all the build material; generated Makefiles, object files, output libraries and binaries.
    $ mkdir $VISP_WS/visp-build
  • Enter the visp-build folder and configure the build:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-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.
    Snapshot of the ccmake ../visp command used to configure ViSP.

Building ViSP libraries

  • To build ViSP proceed with:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4
Installing ViSP is optional, since ViSP could be used as a 3rd party without installation. To proceed with the installation run:
$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ sudo make install
The default install location is set to /usr/local. This location could be changed modifying CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX var:
$ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
$ cmake ../visp -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr
$ sudo make install

Building ViSP documentation

  • To build ViSP documentation, you have first to install Doxygen package:
    $ brew install doxygen
    Then you can proceed with:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ cmake ../visp
    $ make -j4 visp_doc
    The generated documentation is then available in $VISP_WS/visp-build/doc/html/index.html
  • It is also possible to generate a more complete documentation that includes also all the internal classes. This could be achieved setting CMake var ENABLE_FULL_DOC to ON like:
    $ cmake ../visp -DENABLE_FULL_DOC=ON
    $ 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 requested to run ViSP examples.
    $ unzip -d $VISP_WS
  • We suppose now that the data are located in $HOME/ViSP-images-3.1.0.
    $ ls $HOME/ViSP-images-3.1.0
    AprilTag cube iv mbt-depth video
    Klimt calibration ellipse line mire
    LICENSE.txt circle ellipse-1 mbt mire-2
  • Set VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH environment variable to help ViSP examples and tests to find the location of the data set. It is more convenient if this environment variables is automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched:
    $ echo "export VISP_WS=$HOME/visp-ws" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ echo "export VISP_INPUT_IMAGE_PATH=$VISP_WS/ViSP-images-3.1.0" >> ~/.bashrc
    $ source ~/.bashrc
  • 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 $VISP_WS/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:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ sudo make uninstall

How to build only ViSP libraries

  • If you want to build only ViSP modules libraries, nor the examples, tutorials and tests:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4 visp_modules

How to build a ViSP specific module

  • If you want to build a given module and all the dependencies:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ make -j4 visp_<module_name>
    For example to build the model-based tracker module named mbt, run:
    $ cd $VISP_WS/visp-build
    $ 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_doc
    ... visp_modules
    ... visp_tutorials
    ... visp_demos
    ... visp_tests
    ... visp_examples
    ... visp_clipper
    ... visp_apriltag
    ... visp_core
    ... visp_gui
    ... visp_io
    ... visp_klt
    ... visp_me
    ... visp_sensor
    ... visp_ar
    ... visp_blob
    ... visp_robot
    ... visp_visual_features
    ... visp_vs
    ... visp_vision
    ... visp_detection
    ... 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 $VISP_WS/visp-build. We provide hereafter an example of a possible content of this file that contains also build info.
    $ cat $VISP_WS/visp-build/ViSP-third-party.txt
    General configuration information for ViSP 3.1.0
    Version control: 3.0.1-340-gae7e5f10c-dirty
    Timestamp: 2017-09-26T20:35:47Z
    Host: Darwin 16.6.0 x86_64
    CMake: 3.9.1
    CMake generator: Unix Makefiles
    CMake build tool: /usr/bin/make
    Configuration: Release
    Built as dynamic libs?: yes
    C++ Compiler: /Applications/ (ver
    C++ flags (Release): -Wall -Wextra -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -O3 -DNDEBUG
    C++ flags (Debug): -Wall -Wextra -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -g
    C Compiler: /Applications/
    C flags (Release): -Wall -Wextra -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -O3 -DNDEBUG
    C flags (Debug): -Wall -Wextra -std=c++11 -fvisibility=hidden -msse2 -msse3 -mssse3 -fPIC -g
    Linker flags (Release):
    Linker flags (Debug):
    ViSP modules:
    To be built: core gui io klt me sensor ar blob robot visual_features vs vision detection mbt tt tt_mi
    Disabled: -
    Disabled by dependency: -
    Unavailable: -
    Build options:
    Build deprecated: yes
    Build with moment combine: no
    Use Lapack/blas: yes (ver n/a)
    Use Lapack (built-in): no
    Use Eigen3: yes (ver 3.3.4)
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.3.0)
    Use GSL: yes (ver 2.3)
    Ogre simulator:
    \- Use Ogre3D: no
    \- Use OIS: no
    Coin simulator:
    \- Use Coin3D: no
    \- Use SoWin: no
    \- Use SoXt: no
    \- Use SoQt: no
    \- Use Qt4: no
    \- Use Qt3: no
    Media I/O:
    Use JPEG: yes (ver 90)
    Use PNG: yes (ver 1.6.31)
    \- Use ZLIB: yes (ver 1.2.8)
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.3.0)
    Real robots:
    Use Afma4: no
    Use Afma6: no
    Use Viper650: no
    Use Viper850: no
    Use aria (Pioneer): no
    Use PTU46: no
    Use Biclops PT: no
    Use X11: yes
    Use GTK: no
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.3.0)
    Use GDI: no
    Use Direct3D: no
    Use DC1394-2.x: yes (ver 2.2.2)
    Use CMU 1394: no
    Use V4L2: no
    Use directshow: no
    Use OpenCV: yes (ver 3.3.0)
    Use Flycapture: no
    Use Pylon: yes (ver
    RGB-D sensors:
    Use Realsense: yes (ver 1.12.1)
    \- Use PCL: yes (ver 1.8.0)
    \- Use VTK: yes (ver 8.0.0)
    Use Kinect: no
    \- Use libfreenect: no
    \- Use libusb-1: yes (ver 1.0.21)
    \- Use pthread: yes
    F/T sensors:
    Use atidaq (built-in): no
    Use comedi: no
    Use zbar: yes (ver 0.10)
    Use dmtx: no
    Use AprilTag (built-in): yes (ver 0.9.8)
    Use Clipper (built-in): yes (ver 6.4.2)
    Use XML2: yes (ver 2.9.4)
    Use OpenMP: no
    Use pthread: yes
    Use pthread (built-in): no
    Use cxx11: yes
    Use doxygen: yes
    Tests and samples:
    Tests: yes
    Demos: yes
    Examples: yes
    Tutorials: yes
    Install path: /usr/local

Kwown issues

/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig is not writable

  • During OpenCV installation, if you get the following errors:
    $ brew install opencv
    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.