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A package to export NetLogo model runs in GIF or MP4 formats

Project description


Export NetLogo model runs as GIF or MP4 using Python.


The purpose of this project is to provide a simple and reliable way of capturing/exporting NetLogo model runs in moving image file formats. Currently, MP4 and GIF are supported. These formats are suitable for sharing on social media or instant messager, or embedding in presentations or documents.


This library was tested on Python 3.6. Requirements are:

These packages also have their own requirements, notably pyNetLogo's jpype dependency.

Install using:

pip install aul


The two main functions in the package are export_gif(...) and export_mp4(...). Both can take a variety of arguments, but also have useful default behavior. Two parameters are required: the NetLogo model name (must be in same folder as Python file), and the ticks to be exported. The generated file will be saved to the same folder as the model.


The terms tick and frame may be confusing. I use the term tick to refer to a single iteration step in the NetLogo model. Ticks are unique and sequentially numbered. Frames are individual images inside a GIF or MP4 (both of which are series of images). You can specify which ticks become frames with the ticks argument.


Export first 30 ticks of NetLogo run to GIF...

import aul

aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', 30)

or MP4.

import aul

aul.export_mp4('Fire.nlogo', 30)


You can specify ticks (see Terminology) in four ways - as an integer (see Basics), as a two- or three-element list of Python range() parameters, or as an explicit list of ticks:

import aul

#ticks 0 to 24
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', [0,25])

if you don't want every tick:

import aul

#every tenth tick from 0 to 190
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', [0,200,10])

for specific ticks:

import aul

#specific ticks only
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', [0,1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,12,22])

General Arguments

NetLogo runs will normally be instantiated with the input parameter values saved in the NetLogo model's sliders, switches, etc. You can override these values directly from Python by passing a dictionary of keys (NetLogo global variable name) and values to params:

import aul

fire_params = {

aul.export_gif('Fire Simple Extension 1.nlogo', 45, params = fire_params)

By default, the generated file will have the same pixel dimensions as the NetLogo world. You can adjust this with scale:

import aul

#GIF file will be twice as large as NetLogo world
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', 45, scale = 2.0)

You can also fade the last few frames of the run to black (to emphasize it is terminating) with fade:

import aul

#GIF will fade to black over last 30% of runtime
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', 45, fade = 0.3)

You can set the name of the output file with name. This is useful if you to export multiple runs (e.g. with different random seeds) through a loop.

import aul

#GIF will be saved as "custom-fire.gif"
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', 45, name = "custom-fire")

Per NetLogo conventions, the initialization and iteration procedures are expected to be named setup and go. Override these defaults with the setup and go parameters.

import aul

#Some custom model with unconventional procedure names
aul.export_gif('Custom.nlogo', 45, setup='init', go='run')

Adjust the playback speed of the output file with fps (frames per second).

import aul

#Save for playback at 8 frames per second
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', 45, fps = 8)

GIF-specific Arguments

You can reduce GIF file size by settings subrectangles = True.

import aul

#compress file
aul.export_gif('Fire.nlogo', 45, subrectangles = True)

You can override the fps parameter and specify frame durations instead with duration. This can be either as a global value (time per frame), or as a specific value for each individual frame.

import aul

#show first 15 frames in Fibonacci time
aul.export_gif('Fibonacci.nlogo', 15, duration = [1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610])

MP4-specific Arguments

You can reduce MP4 file size with the quality argument. Range from 0 to 10, 10 being default and best quality.

import aul

#compress file
aul.export_mp4('Fire.nlogo', 45, quality = 3)


Please get in touch if you have questions or suggestions, either through an issue or on:

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