Announcing, a directory of OpenFrameworks extensions

14 November, 2011

At Art && Code 3D a few weeks back I met James George. We immediately found we had a lot in common, kicking off a wide-ranging conversation about everything from miniature worlds to Portland food carts to ways of making the OpenFrameworks community more accessible. On this last topic, we even conceived a project: an website that searches Github for OpenFrameworks addons written by the community and indexes them for easier discovery. Today, I'm proud to announce the launch of exactly that site:

The site features nearly 300 addons that we've divided into 13 categories: Animation, Bridges, Computer Vision, Graphics, GUI, Hardware Interface, iOS, Physics, Sound, Typography, Utilities, Video/Camera, and Web/Networking. We've also put together a how-to guide on creating your own addons. That guide includes standards for how to structure an addon so it is easy to install and will work smoothly for all users of OpenFrameworks. It's based on the emerging standards coming out of the community of addon authors.

While categorizing them, James and I came across a bunch of really remarkable addons. In the rest of this post, I want to highlight a few of the addons that most struck us.


ofxGrabCam by Elliot Woods provides an intuitive interactive camera for 3D apps. It was inspired by the camera in Google Sketchup: it uses the z-buffer to automatically select the object that's under your mouse when you click as the center of your translations and rotations. Here's a video Elliot made showing it in action:

And here's Elliot's full write-up. Rumor on the street is that this might make it into OF core in a future version, so check it out now.

ofxGifEncoder and ofxGifDecoder

Both by Jesus Gollonet, this pair of libraries lets you create and parse animated GIFs. ofxGifEncoder does the creating and ofxGifDecoder does the parsing. You can create GIFs programmatically to look however you want. The animated GIF above shows an awesome glitch I achieved recently while screwing up some pixel math on one of the sample OF videos.

FUGIFs is an app that use ofxGifEncoder to automatically turn video files into animated GIFs. Sounds like it was made by a frustrated designer of animated flash banners. Useful.


ofxGts is an addon from Karl D.D. Willis that wraps the Gnu Triangulated Surface Library, a useful set of tools for dealing with 3D surfaces. GTS can add vertices to meshes to make them smoother (as shown in the horse model illustrated above), it can simplify models, it can decompose models into triangle strips, etc., etc.

Karl's version of the addon seems to have some compatibility issues with OF 007 so James put together a fork that fixes those: obviousjim/ofxGts. Merge that pull request Karl!

ofxKyonyu: Kinect Breast Enlarger

This addon by novogrammer was too absurd not to share. It seems (the site (and most of the documentation/code comments) is in Japanese) to use the Kinect to enlarge the breasts of people it detects. I'm sure this will get reused in tons of projects.



Here's a great addon that could have a lot of application in accessibility and kiosk work: ofxSoftKeyboard by Lensley. This addon provides an onscreen software keyboard that generates key events when the user clicks (or taps, etc.) on a key. It works well and they've already accepted James' pull request updating it to full OF 007 compatibility!


Last, but not least, we've got this addon which provides an interface to the GigE uEye SE, a small form-factor Gigabit Ethernet camera that looks really useful. It's windows only at the moment so we haven't been able to actually run it, but it seems quite well put together.

That's just a sampling of all of the great addons that are available. If you browse around the site for just a few minutes I'll bet you'll be amazed at what you find. In fact, I bet, like me, you'll immediately think of three projects ideas just seeing what kinds of cool things are possible.