Python bindings for RGB Matrix library
If you have a different than the standard wiring (for instance if you have an Adafruit HAT), you can edit the ../../lib/Makefile first to choose the hardware in question (see below for setting it via command line argument).
Then, in the root directory for the matrix library simply type:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install python2.7-dev python-pillow -y make build-python sudo make install-python
You can also build for Python 3:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install python3-dev python3-pillow -y make build-python PYTHON=$(which python3) sudo make install-python PYTHON=$(which python3)
The cython binding to PyPy seems to be somewhat working but extremely slow (20x slower even than the regular Python binding, 160x slower than C++), so this is not recommended.
So Cython is not good together with PyPy which works best with a CFFI binding. @Duality4Y did an experiment here https://github.com/Duality4Y/rgb-matrix-cffi which works well with PyPy and is about twice as fast as running Python3+cython (but Python3+cffi is slower than Python3+cython, so we can't just replace everything with cffi).
Of course, it would be nice to have the fastest possible binding to all kinds of Python interpreters. If anyone wants to work on that, this would certainly be a welcome pull request.
The simplicity of scripting comes at a price: Python is slower than C++ of
If you have to do a lot of pixel updates in your demo, this can be too slow
depending on what you do. Here are some rough numbers for calling
in a tight loop:
- On a Pi-2 and Pi-3, a Python script will be about 1/8 of the speed compared to the corresponding C++ program (pushing ~0.43 Megapixels/s Python vs. ~3.5 Megapixels/s C++ on a Pi-3 for instance)
- On a Pi-1, the difference is even worse: 1/24 of the speed to the corresponding C++ program. Given that the Pi-1 is already about 1/10 the speed of a Pi-3, this almost makes Python unusable on a Pi-1 (~0.015 Megapixels/s Python vs. ~0.36 Megapixels/s C++)
- Also interesting: Python3 is a little bit slower than Python2.7. So if you can, stick with Python2.7 for now.
- The good news is, that this is due to overhead per function call. If you
can do more per function call, then this is less problematic. For instance
if you have an image to be displayed with
SetImage(), that will much faster per pixel (internally this then copies the pixels natively).
The ~0.015 Megapixels/s on a Pi-1 means that you can update a 32x32 matrix
at most with ~15fps. If you have chained 5, then you barely reach 3fps.
In a Pi-3, you get about 400fps update rate (85fps for 5-chain) with a Python
program (while with C++, you can do the same thing with a comfortable 3500fps
(700fps for 5)). Keep in mind that this is if all you do is just calling
SetPixel(), it does not include any time of what you actually want to do in
your demo - so anything in addition to that will drop your update rate.
If you can prepare the animation you want to show, then you can either prepare
images and then use the much faster call to
SetImage(), or can fill
entire offscreen-frames (create with
CreateFrameCanvas()) and then
SwapOnVSync() (this is the fastest method).
Using the library
Be aware of the fact, that using the RGBMatrix requires root privileges. Therefore you will need to run all you python scripts as using sudo.
You find examples in the samples/ subdirectory.
The examples all use the samplebase.py that provides
some utility to all example programs, such as command-line parsing: all
command line options to adapt to your configuration
cd samples sudo ./runtext.py --led-chain=4
To use different wiring without recompiling the library to change the default,
you can use
-m). For example, to use Adafruit HAT:
sudo ./runtext.py --led-gpio-mapping=adafruit-hat
Here a complete example how to write an image viewer:
#!/usr/bin/env python import time import sys from rgbmatrix import RGBMatrix, RGBMatrixOptions from PIL import Image if len(sys.argv) < 2: sys.exit("Require an image argument") else: image_file = sys.argv image = Image.open(image_file) # Configuration for the matrix options = RGBMatrixOptions() options.rows = 32 options.chain_length = 1 options.parallel = 1 options.hardware_mapping = 'regular' # If you have an Adafruit HAT: 'adafruit-hat' matrix = RGBMatrix(options = options) # Make image fit our screen. image.thumbnail((matrix.width, matrix.height), Image.ANTIALIAS) matrix.SetImage(image.convert('RGB')) try: print("Press CTRL-C to stop.") while True: time.sleep(100) except KeyboardInterrupt: sys.exit(0)