Pycortex is a python-based toolkit for surface visualization of fMRI data
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quickflat demo

Pycortex is a software library that allows you to visualize fMRI or other volumetric neuroimaging data on cortical surfaces.


python3 -m venv env  # use `virtualenv env` for python 2
source env/bin/activate
pip install -U setuptools wheel numpy cython
pip install -U git+git://

This command creates a new virtualenv for pycortex to resolve dependencies. Run source env/bin/activate whenever you need pycortex.


Pycortex is best used with IPython. Install it in your virtualenv using

source env/bin/activate
pip install ipython

To run the pycortex demo,

$ ipython
In [1]: import cortex
In [2]: cortex.webshow(cortex.Volume.random("S1", "fullhead"))


NEW: Massively updated documentation for pycortex is available at You can find many examples of pycortex features in the pycortex example gallery.


If you use pycortex in published work, please cite the pycortex paper:

Gao JS, Huth AG, Lescroart MD and Gallant JL (2015) Pycortex: an interactive surface visualizer for fMRI. Front. Neuroinform. 9:23. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2015.00023