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(Building a creative coding environment from scratch is a ton of work, so please consider becoming a patron!)


Hi! This is the origin of the Framework creative coding library.

A creative coding library

Framework is a creative coding library developed in C++. It includes support for drawing images and playing sounds with one line of code, facilitating very rapid prototyping during creative code jams or workshops. It also includes easy access to keyboard, mouse and up to four gamepads. Shader programming is easy using the Shader class. All resources (images, sounds, shaders and more) can be tracked in real-time and hot-reloaded when changed.

In addition to the library itself, the code available here also includes a few side-projects built using Framework, including audiograph and vfxgraph. audiograph is a node based sound synthesis library and editor, while vfxgraph is intended for visuals and control. Both are built on top of avgraph, which provides a node based editor similar to VVVV and TouchDesigner.

Design philosophy

The philosophy behind the design of Framework is that it should be fun to do coding!

As such, its language tries to be pragmatic and sparse, optimized for expression. The build system makes it easy to add apps and libraries and distribute packages. Code longevity is extended through a careful design of its vocabulary, slowly accumulating new functionality over time as it is needed. Build-times are kept low (usually a second or less) through careful monitoring and optimization of build times. Iteration is kept fast, through hot-reloading of resources when they are changed, and by delaying loading resources at startup until they are used (with full resource pre-loading being available for distributing builds).


  • Multiple windows, keyboard, mouse and gamepads available everywhere. No callbacks needed,
  • Hot-reloading of textures, models, shaders, or your own resources,
  • Text drawing routines (SDF fonts or bitmapped),
  • GX drawing api with backend implementations for OpenGL and Metal,
  • GX immediate mode api. This api is similar in design to the legacy OpenGL interface for drawing primitives (gxBegin, gxEnd, gxVertex2f, etc). This api is intended for rapidly prototyping visuals,
  • GX mesh api, using vertex and index buffers. This api allows for high-performance graphics, but is more rigid in nature than the immediate mode api,
  • High quality primitive drawing, using signed distance fields for edge anti-aliasing,
  • Surface class for easily drawing to textures, with built-in support for double buffering and post-processing,
  • Render passes api with support for multiple render targets (mrt),
  • Support for custom shader output semantics to aid development of shaders for use with mrt,
  • GX capture api, for capturing GX immediate mode drawing into a GxMesh,
  • Built-in shaders for hard and soft skinning, gaussian blurs, and more,
  • Sprites and Spriter animations,
  • FBX and glTF model loading and drawing,
  • Stereo sound output, OGG/vorbis loading and streaming,
  • Build system designed to make happy, not sad.

Getting started

In summary,

  • Clone the framework repository,
  • Clone the submodules of the framework repository,
  • Create a 'chibi root' file, and let it point to both the 'framework' repository and your own repository(s),
  • Generate the project file.

Step by step:

cd ~
git clone
git clone<your-account>/<your-project>

Clone framework submodules,

cd ~
cd framework
git submodule update --init --recursive

Create a text file named chibi-root.txt with the following contents,

cd ~
vim chibi-root.txt
add_root framework

This will create a chibi root file referencing the chibi root file in the framework repository.

Generate the project file,

On linux/macOS,

cd ~
cd framework

On Windows,

cd framework

The project file generator should open Finder on macOS, with Project.xcodeproj focused, or Explorer on Windows, with Project.sln focused.

Open the generated project file in your favourite ide. To run one of the example apps, select the target and build and run it.

Using framework within your own projects

To use framework within your own apps, you will need to,

  • Create a folder and a chibi.txt file for your app(s),
  • Add your chibi file to the chibi root,
  • Add one or more apps to your chibi file, and depend on the framework library,
  • Generate the project file.

Step by step:

Create a folder and a chibi.txt file,

cd ~
mkdir myapp

Create a chibi.txt file within the myapp folder with the following contents,

cd myapp
vim chibi.txt
app myapp
	depend_library framework
	add_files main.cpp

Create a main.cpp file,

#include "framework.h"

int main(int argc, char * argv[])
	if (!framework.init(800, 600))
		return -1;

	for (;;)

		if (framework.quitRequested)

		framework.beginDraw(0, 0, 0, 0);
			drawRect(100, 100, 200, 200);


Add your chibi file to chibi-root.txt,

cd ~
vim chibi-root.txt
add_root framework
add myapp

Generate the project file,

cd ~
cd framework
./ myapp

Note that the target to generate the project file for is set to myapp. This will generate a project file tailored to build and run myapp only. If you want to add more targets to your project file, that's possible too. Just append the targets you want to generate to the command line.

For instance,

./ myapp vfxgraph-*

Note that the wildcard * means we will generate all of the libraries and apps with a name starting with vfxgraph-. These are all of the vfxgraph library example apps.

Marcel's user apps

There's a few user-contributed apps and libraries inside the users/marcel folder. The chibi root file for these projects isn't hooked up by default. You can add users/marcel/chibi-root.txt to your root file and generate these apps and libraries. This folder is where I develop new ideas, and add prototypes for libraries, that may eventually be included in a next version of framework.

What else is included?

Framework libraries

  • avgraph Reusable graph editor with real-time editing support,
  • audiograph Graph-based system for real-time audio synthesis,
  • gltf glTF model loading and drawing. Includes pbr shaders,
  • libreflection Low-overhead reflection library,
  • libreflection-jsonio json read-write for reflected types,
  • libreflection-textio text read-write for reflected types,
  • fluidCube 2d and 3d fluid dynamics (cpu and gpu),
  • libfbx Speedy fbx parsing library,
  • libosc OSC endpoints and threaded message handling, built on top of liboscpack,
  • libvideo Threaded video decoding using libavcodec (ffmpeg),
  • libwebrequest Perform web requests and download files using a download cache.

Framework integration libraries

Framework includes a few 3rd party library integrations out of the box, including,

  • imgui-framework Quickly add user interfaces to your projects using ImGui,
  • nanovg-framework Draw antialiased paths using the gpu with NanoVG,
  • nanovg-canvas Provides a canvas api on top of nanovg-framework,
  • jsusfx-framework Provides Framework implementations for jsusfx's file and graphics apis, enabling jsusfx dsp effects to be run within the context of a Framework app,
  • jsusfx-audiograph jsusfx audio nodes for audiograph,
  • jgmod-audiograph jgmod audio nodes for audiograph.

Third party libraries

This is a list of libraries made readily available through this repository.

  • box2d Add real-time 2d physics to your apps,
  • libetherdream Control laser projectors using the Etherdream controller,
  • leapmotion Track hands and fingers using the Leap Motion controller,
  • libfreenect2 (macOS only) Receive depth and color images from Kinect v2 sensors,
  • PS3EYEDriver Connect PS3 eye cameras through usb and receive camera and microphone streams into your apps,
  • Syphon (macOS only) Share your visuals with other applications,
  • DeepBelief (macOS only) Use machine learning to classify images,
  • rapidjson Parse and write json documents,
  • tinyxml2 Parse and write xml documents,
  • portaudio Multichannel audio input and output,
  • rtmidi Cross-platform midi input and output,
  • nfd Native file dialog library,
  • oscpack Send and receive OSC messages, to let your app communicate with the outside world,
  • jsusfx Jesusonic scripting language and framework for creating dsp plugins for the Reaper digital audio workstation (daw),
  • FreeImage Load and save most image formats,
  • freetype2 Load and render glyphs for many font formats,
  • libsdl2 Create SDL2 applications (or let Framework manage things for you),
  • msdfgen Create MSDF signed distance fields from paths,
  • oggvorbis Read and write ogg/vorbis files,
  • turbojpeg Fast jpeg encoding and decoding library,
  • libjgmod A relic from the past! Plays xm, mod, s3m and (many) it files,
  • utf8rewind Full-featured utf8 library,
  • xmm Use various classifiers to identify and track gestures.

vfxgraph Node based visuals and control

  • vfxgraph is a visual node based system, adopting the data-flow paradigm to programming.
  • vfxgraph makes it easy to add new node types by either hand-crafting a types.xml file, or by defining them in code.
  • The environment allows one to inspect and preview any input or output socket. Persistent socket value visualizers can be added by right clicking on a socket.
  • Graph changes are applied in real-time and previewed behind the editor, providing immediate visual feedback of the work you are doing.


audiograph Sound synthesis and performance demo

  • 4dworld is a sound synthesis and performance tool, using the graph editor included with avgraph to modularly design sounds and effects.
  • 4dworld includes an audio synthesis backend which makes it easy to experiment with sound design in real-time. It extends real-time editing by propagating changes to all instances of a graph.
  • This demo app shows how to create multiple instances from one graph. Each bird and machine uses its own audiograph instance for its sound synthesis.

Contacting the author

For questions or suggestions, send me an e-mail at marcel303 [at], or reach out to me on Github.

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