Configuration

Manim provides an extensive configuration system that allows it to adapt to many different use cases. There are many configuration options that can be configured at different times during the scene rendering process. Each option can be configured programmatically via the ManimConfig class, or at the time of command invocation via command-line arguments, or at the time the library is first imported via the config files.

The ManimConfig class

The most direct way of configuring manim is via the global config object, which is an instance of ManimConfig. Each property of this class is a config option that can be accessed either with standard attribute syntax or with dict-like syntax:

>>> from manim import *
>>> config.background_color = WHITE
>>> config["background_color"] = WHITE

The former is preferred; the latter is provided mostly for backwards compatibility.

Most classes, including Camera, Mobject, and Animation, read some of their default configuration from the global config.

>>> Camera({}).background_color
<Color white>
>>> config.background_color = RED  # 0xfc6255
>>> Camera({}).background_color
<Color #fc6255>

ManimConfig is designed to keep internal consistency. For example, setting frame_y_radius will affect frame_height:

>>> config.frame_height
8.0
>>> config.frame_y_radius = 5.0
>>> config.frame_height
10.0

The global config object is meant to be the single source of truth for all config options. All of the other ways of setting config options ultimately change the values of the global config object.

The following example illustrates the video resolution chosen for examples rendered in our documentation with a reference frame.

Example: ShowScreenResolution

../_images/ShowScreenResolution-1.png
from manim import *

class ShowScreenResolution(Scene):
    def construct(self):
        pixel_height = config["pixel_height"]  #  1080 is default
        pixel_width = config["pixel_width"]  # 1920 is default
        frame_width = config["frame_width"]
        frame_height = config["frame_height"]
        self.add(Dot())
        d1 = Line(frame_width * LEFT / 2, frame_width * RIGHT / 2).to_edge(DOWN)
        self.add(d1)
        self.add(Text(str(pixel_width)).next_to(d1, UP))
        d2 = Line(frame_height * UP / 2, frame_height * DOWN / 2).to_edge(LEFT)
        self.add(d2)
        self.add(Text(str(pixel_height)).next_to(d2, RIGHT))

Command-line arguments

Usually, manim is run from the command-line by executing

manim <file.py> SceneName

This asks manim to search for a Scene class called SceneName inside the file <file.py> and render it. One can also specify the render quality by using the flags -ql, -qm, -qh, or -qk, for low, medium, high, and 4k quality, respectively.

manim -ql <file.py> SceneName

These flags set the values of the config options config.pixel_width, config.pixel_height, config.frame_rate, and config.quality.

Another frequent flag is -p (“preview”), which makes manim show the rendered video right after it’s done rendering.

Note

The -p flag does not change any properties of the global config dict. The -p flag is only a command-line convenience.

Examples

To render a scene in high quality, but only output the last frame of the scene instead of the whole video, you can execute

manim -sqh <file.py> SceneName

The following example specifies the output file name (with the -o flag), renders only the first ten animations (-n flag) with a white background (-c flag), and saves the animation as a .gif instead of as a .mp4 file (-i flag). It uses the default quality and does not try to open the file after it is rendered.

manim -o myscene -i -n 0,10 -c WHITE <file.py> SceneName

Tip

There are many more command-line flags that manim accepts. All the possible flags are shown by executing manim render --help. A complete list of CLI flags is at the end of this document.

The config files

As the last example shows, executing manim from the command-line may involve using many flags at the same time. This may become a nuisance if you must execute the same script many times in a short time period, for example when making small incremental tweaks to your scene script. For this purpose, manim can also be configured using a configuration file. A configuration file is a file ending with the suffix .cfg.

To use a configuration file when rendering your scene, you must create a file with name manim.cfg in the same directory as your scene code.

Warning

The config file must be named manim.cfg. Currently, manim does not support config files with any other name.

The config file must start with the section header [CLI]. The configuration options under this header have the same name as the CLI flags, and serve the same purpose. Take for example the following config file.

[CLI]
# my config file
output_file = myscene
save_as_gif = True
background_color = WHITE

Config files are read with the standard python library configparser. In particular, they will ignore any line that starts with a pound symbol #.

Now, executing the following command

manim -o myscene -i -c WHITE <file.py> SceneName

is equivalent to executing the following command, provided that manim.cfg is in the same directory as <file.py>,

manim <file.py> SceneName

Tip

The names of the configuration options admissible in config files are exactly the same as the long names of the corresponding command- line flags. For example, the -c and --background_color flags are interchangeable, but the config file only accepts background_color as an admissible option.

Since config files are meant to replace CLI flags, all CLI flags can be set via a config file. Moreover, any config option can be set via a config file, whether or not it has an associated CLI flag. For a list of all CLI flags and all config options, see the bottom of this document.

Manim will look for a manim.cfg config file in the same directory as the file being rendered, and not in the directory of execution. For example,

manim -o myscene -i -c WHITE <path/to/file.py> SceneName

will use the config file found in path/to/file.py, if any. It will not use the config file found in the current working directory, even if it exists. In this way, the user may keep different config files for different scenes or projects, and execute them with the right configuration from anywhere in the system.

The file described here is called the folder-wide config file because it affects all scene scripts found in the same folder.

The user config file

As explained in the previous section, a manim.cfg config file only affects the scene scripts in its same folder. However, the user may also create a special config file that will apply to all scenes rendered by that user. This is referred to as the user-wide config file, and it will apply regardless of where manim is executed from, and regardless of where the scene script is stored.

The user-wide config file lives in a special folder, depending on the operating system.

  • Windows: UserDirectory/AppData/Roaming/Manim/manim.cfg

  • MacOS: UserDirectory/config/manim/manim.cfg

  • Linux: UserDirectory/config/manim/manim.cfg

Here, UserDirectory is the user’s home folder.

Note

A user may have many folder-wide config files, one per folder, but only one user-wide config file. Different users in the same computer may each have their own user-wide config file.

Warning

Do not store scene scripts in the same folder as the user-wide config file. In this case, the behavior is undefined.

Whenever you use manim from anywhere in the system, manim will look for a user-wide config file and read its configuration.

Cascading config files

What happens if you execute manim and it finds both a folder-wide config file and a user-wide config file? Manim will read both files, but if they are incompatible, the folder-wide file takes precedence.

For example, take the following user-wide config file

# user-wide
[CLI]
output_file = myscene
save_as_gif = True
background_color = WHITE

and the following folder-wide file

# folder-wide
[CLI]
save_as_gif = False

Then, executing manim <file.py> SceneName will be equivalent to not using any config files and executing

manim -o myscene -c WHITE <file.py> SceneName

Any command-line flags have precedence over any config file. For example, using the previous two config files and executing manim -c RED <file.py> SceneName is equivalent to not using any config files and executing

manim -o myscene -c RED <file.py> SceneName

There is also a library-wide config file that determines manim’s default behavior and applies to every user of the library. It has the least precedence, so any config options in the user-wide and any folder-wide files will override the library-wide file. This is referred to as the cascading config file system.

Warning

The user should not try to modify the library-wide file. Contributors should receive explicit confirmation from the core developer team before modifying it.

Order of operations

With so many different ways of configuring manim, it can be difficult to know when each config option is being set. In fact, this will depend on how manim is being used.

If manim is imported from a module, then the configuration system will follow these steps:

  1. The library-wide config file is loaded.

  2. The user-wide and folder-wide files are loaded, if they exist.

  3. All files found in the previous two steps are parsed in a single ConfigParser object, called parser. This is where cascading happens.

  4. logging.Logger is instantiated to create manim’s global logger object. It is configured using the “logger” section of the parser, i.e. parser['logger'].

  5. ManimConfig is instantiated to create the global config object.

  6. The parser from step 3 is fed into the config from step 5 via ManimConfig.digest_parser().

  7. Both logger and config are exposed to the user.

If manim is being invoked from the command-line, all of the previous steps happen, and are complemented by:

  1. The CLI flags are parsed and fed into config via digest_args().

  2. If the --config_file flag was used, a new ConfigParser object is created with the contents of the library-wide file, the user-wide file if it exists, and the file passed via --config_file. In this case, the folder-wide file, if it exists, is ignored.

  3. The new parser is fed into config.

  4. The rest of the CLI flags are processed.

To summarize, the order of precedence for configuration options, from lowest to highest precedence is:

  1. Library-wide config file,

  2. user-wide config file, if it exists,

  3. folder-wide config file, if it exists OR custom config file, if passed via --config_file,

  4. other CLI flags, and

  5. any programmatic changes made after the config system is set.

A list of all config options

['aspect_ratio', 'assets_dir', 'background_color', 'background_opacity',
'bottom', 'custom_folders', 'disable_caching', 'dry_run',
'ffmpeg_loglevel', 'flush_cache', 'frame_height', 'frame_rate',
'frame_size', 'frame_width', 'frame_x_radius', 'frame_y_radius',
'from_animation_number', `fullscreen`, 'images_dir', 'input_file', 'left_side',
'log_dir', 'log_to_file', 'max_files_cached', 'media_dir', 'media_width',
'movie_file_extension', 'notify_outdated_version', 'output_file', 'partial_movie_dir',
'pixel_height', 'pixel_width', 'plugins', 'preview',
'progress_bar', 'quality', 'right_side', 'save_as_gif', 'save_last_frame',
'save_pngs', 'scene_names', 'show_in_file_browser', 'sound', 'tex_dir',
'tex_template', 'tex_template_file', 'text_dir', 'top', 'transparent',
'upto_animation_number', 'use_opengl_renderer', 'use_webgl_renderer',
'verbosity', 'video_dir', 'webgl_renderer_path', 'window_position',
 'window_monitor', 'window_size', 'write_all', 'write_to_movie']

A list of all CLI flags

manim --help

Usage: manim [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  Animation engine for explanatory math videos

Options:
  --version   Show the version and exit.
  --help  Show this message and exit.

Commands:
  render*  Render SCENE(S) from the input FILE.
  cfg      Manages Manim configuration files.
  plugins  Manages Manim plugins.

  Made with <3 by Manim Community developers.

Each of the subcommands has its own help page which can be

manim render --help
manim cfg --help
manim plugins --help