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Makes your terminal output totally fabulous

Project description

Fabulous is a Python library (and command line tools) designed to make the output of terminal applications look fabulous. Fabulous allows you to print colors, images, and stylized text to the console (without curses.) Fabulous also offers features to improve the usability of Python’s standard logging system.


The following prerequisites are optional. But they help Fabulous run faster and make the full feature set is available:

sudo apt-get install gcc python-imaging

You can install Fabulous from PyPi:

sudo pip install fabulous

Or you could download and extract the latest version:

sudo python install

Run the demo to see what’s available:


Basic Examples


4-bit color. These colors and styles are standard and work almost everywhere. They are useful in helping make your program output easier to read:

from fabulous import bold, magenta, highlight_red

print bold(magenta('hello kitty'))
print highlight_red('DANGER DANGER!')

print bold('hello') + ' ' + magenta( kitty')

assert len(bold('test')) == 4

8-bit color. If you want to spice things up a bit, Fabulous supports xterm256 colors:

from fabulous import fg256, bg256
print fg256('#F0F', 'hello kitty')
print fg256('magenta', 'hello kitty')

Fancy Text

Way cool text. This is something neat you can use when you program starts up to display its name with style:

from fabulous import text
print text.Text("Fabulous!", color='#0099ff', shadow=True, scew=5)

It’s scriptable too:

fabulous-text --help
fabulous-text --skew=5 --shadow 'Fabulous!'


Fabulous lets you print images, which is more fun than useful. Fabulous’ unique method of printing images really shines when used with semi-transparent PNG files. When blending backgrounds, Fabulous assumes by default that your terminal has a black background. Don’t worry if your image is huge, it’ll be resized by default to fit your terminal:

from fabulous import utils, image
print image.Image("balls.png")

# adjust for a white background
utils.term.bgcolor = 'white'
print image.Image("balls.png")

It’s scriptable too (like img2txt)

fabulous-image balls.png

Image printing may perform slowly depending on whether or not Fabulous is able to compile ~/ on the fly. This is a tiny library that makes color quantization go much faster. The pure Python version of the algorithm is really slow because it’s implemented as a brute force nearest neighbor over Euclidean distance search. Although an O(1) version of this algorithm exists with slightly less correctness. Your humble author simply hasn’t had the time to implement it in this library.

If you like this image printing feature, then please check out hiptext which is a C++ program written by the same author as Fabulous. It offers a much richer version of this same functionality. It can even play videos in the terminal. Also be sure to check out rickrollrc.

Transient Logging

This is very useful tool for monitoring what your Python scripts are doing. It allows you to have full verbosity without drowning out important error messages:

import time, logging
from fabulous import logs

for n in range(20):
    logging.debug("verbose stuff you don't care about")
logging.warning("something bad happened!")
for n in range(20):
    logging.debug("verbose stuff you don't care about")

Gothic Poetry Generator

This is a gimmick feature that probably shouldn’t have been included, but it’s possible to generate silly gothic poetry by running fabulous-gotham.

This uses a simple mad lib algorithm. It has no concept of meter or rhyme. If you want a proper poetry generator, check out poemy2 which uses markov chains and isledict. It’s written by the same author as Fabulous.

Rotating Cube

This is another gimmick feature that probably shouldn’t have been included. You can display an animated rotating cube in your terminal by running fabulous-rotatingcube.

Why Fabulous?

Here’s how Fabulous compares to other similar libraries:

  • fabulous: Licensed MIT. Focuses on delivering useful features in the simplest, most user-friendly way possible (without a repulsive name.) Written in pure-python but will attempt to auto-magically compile/link a speedup library. ~1,000 lines of code.

  • libcaca: WTFPL. This is the established and respected standard for doing totally insane things with ascii art (ever wanted to watch a movie on the command line?) Weighing in at ~72k lines of C, this project is a monster. It uses an older, more complex text/dithering-based rendering method. Compared to fabulous, some images look better, some worse. I found the docs somewhat difficult to follow and couldn’t find support for transparency or 256-colors.

  • asciiporn: GPL. Similar to libcaca but has an interesting feature for drawing math graphs to the terminal… Needs to compile C code, requires numpy/python2.6, and I couldn’t get the darn thing to work. Aprox 17k lines of code.

  • pygments: BSD. Has excellent support for terminal syntax highlighting.

  • termcolor: GPL. Only supports 4-bit ANSI colors.


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