I just open sourced my personal imutils package: A series of OpenCV convenience functions.


You know what’s a really good feeling?

Contributing to the open source community.

PyPI, the Python Package Index repository is a wonderful thing. It makes downloading, installing, and managing Python libraries and packages a breeze.

And with all that said, I have pushed my own personal imutils package online. I use this package nearly every single day when working on computer vision and image processing problems.

This package includes a series of OpenCV + convenience functions that perform basics tasks such as translation, rotation, resizing, and skeletonization.

In the future we will (probably, depending on feedback in the comments section) be performing a detailed code review of each of the functions in the imutils  package, but for the time being, take a look at the rest of this blog post to see the functionality included in imutils , then be sure to install it on your own system!


This package assumes that you already have NumPy and OpenCV installed (along with matplotlib, if you intend on using the opencv2matplotlib  function).

To install the the imutils  library, just issue the following command:

My imutils package: A series of OpenCV convenience functions

Let’s go ahead and take a look at what we can do with the imutils  package.


Translation is the shifting of an image in either the x or y direction. To translate an image in OpenCV you need to supply the (x, y)-shift, denoted as (tx, ty) to construct the translation matrix M:


And from there, you would need to apply the cv2.warpAffine  function.

Instead of manually constructing the translation matrix M and calling cv2.warpAffine , you can simply make a call to the translate  function of imutils .





Rotating an image in OpenCV is accomplished by making a call to cv2.getRotationMatrix2D  and cv2.warpAffine . Further care has to be taken to supply the (x, y)-coordinate of the point the image is to be rotated about. These calculation calls can quickly add up and make your code bulky and less readable. The rotate  function in imutils  helps resolve this problem.






Resizing an image in OpenCV is accomplished by calling the cv2.resize  function. However, special care needs to be taken to ensure that the aspect ratio is maintained. This resize  function of imutils  maintains the aspect ratio and provides the keyword arguments width  and height  so the image can be resized to the intended width/height while (1) maintaining aspect ratio and (2) ensuring the dimensions of the image do not have to be explicitly computed by the developer.

Another optional keyword argument, inter , can be used to specify interpolation method as well.






Skeletonization is the process of constructing the “topological skeleton” of an object in an image, where the object is presumed to be white on a black background. OpenCV does not provide a function to explicity construct the skeleton, but does provide the morphological and binary functions to do so.

For convenience, the skeletonize  function of imutils  can be used to construct the topological skeleton of the image.

The first argument, size  is the size of the structuring element kernel. An optional argument, structuring , can be used to control the structuring element — it defaults to cv2.MORPH_RECT  , but can be any valid structuring element.




Displaying with Matplotlib

In the Python bindings of OpenCV, images are represented as NumPy arrays in BGR order. This works fine when using the cv2.imshow  function. However, if you intend on using Matplotlib, the plt.imshow  function assumes the image is in RGB order. A simple call to cv2.cvtColor  will resolve this problem, or you can use the opencv2matplotlib  convenience function.





So there you have it — the imutils package!

I hope you install it and give it a try. It will definitely make performing simple image processing tasks with OpenCV and Python substantially easier (and with less code).

In the coming weeks we’ll perform a code review of each of the functions and discuss what is going on under the hood.

Until then!


Grab the imutils package from GitHub.

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78 Responses to I just open sourced my personal imutils package: A series of OpenCV convenience functions.

  1. David Tran July 1, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    Hi Adrian,

    I’m trying to get your imutils package for a project that I’m working on, but from importing imutils I get the error: ‘module’ object has no attribute ‘IMREAD_COLOR’. The error seems to come from the url to image function’s second parameter, readFlag=cv2.IMREAD_COLOR.

    I’m working on python 2.7. Could it be a problem with OpenCV? I have 2.4.10 installed.

    Thanks a bunch!

    • Adrian Rosebrock July 2, 2015 at 6:36 am #

      Hey David, that does indeed sound like an OpenCV problem, but as far as I know the cv2.IMREAD_COLOR is part of OpenCV 2.4.5+. Can you try manually editing the code to set readFlag=1 and see if that resolves the issue?


      I just tried on OpenCV The cv2.IMREAD_COLOR flag is definitely present:

      >>> import cv2
      >>> cv2.__version__
      >>> cv2.IMREAD_COLOR

  2. Ashwini Gat October 14, 2015 at 5:48 am #

    sir how to install imutils package in window 7 32bit without pip installer

    • Adrian Rosebrock October 14, 2015 at 6:13 am #

      You could always clone the repository from GitHub and manually copy the imutils directory into the site-packages directory of your Python installation, but it’s much easier to let pip do it for you.

  3. HaliseT October 15, 2015 at 4:21 am #

    I’m new to python and computer vision. I’m using ubuntu 14.04 OS and when I type the command pip install imutils i get the following error:

    could not create '/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/imutils': Permission denied

    is there another way I could install it?


    • Adrian Rosebrock October 15, 2015 at 6:28 am #

      It sounds like you need to let sudo install it for you:

      $ sudo pip install imutils

  4. Shelly November 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    Looks like a useful package! It seems like conda can’t find it, though. Any plans to make that happen?

    • Adrian Rosebrock November 28, 2015 at 6:45 am #

      You should be able to let pip, the Python package manager, install it for you. I’m personally not a conda user and I don’t have any plans to work with them.

    • ST January 11, 2017 at 6:59 am #

      Hi Shelly,

      You can uninstall system pip by ‘pip uninstall pip’. Then install pip through conda ‘conda install -c anaconda pip=9.0.1 ‘. Check whether your current pip location is from conda by typing ‘pip -V’. This should show something like ‘pip 9.0.1 from C:\Continuum\Anaconda3\lib\site-packages (python 3.5)’. Then install imutils by ‘pip install imutils’. This will install imutils to your conda environment.


  5. Cristhian December 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

    I have solved the previous problem opencv
    now my question I get an error when using imutils
    please help me

    • Adrian Rosebrock December 23, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

      You need to install the imutils package:

      $ pip install imutils

      • Antony Smith August 15, 2018 at 9:15 am #

        I can import the imutils package outside of my (cv) environment, but within it where I have opencv installed it says “ImportError: No module named imutils”.
        But then within the (cv) I try:
        sudo -H pip3 install imutils –upgrade
        and it says “already satisfied”?
        This is kind of the reason why I always avoid the virtual env thing.
        It throws irritating errors like this.

        • Adrian Rosebrock August 15, 2018 at 9:21 am #

          Hey Anthony — you may find virtual environments irritating at first, but they are a best practice. Secondly, a little bit of education goes a long way. By supplying the “sudo” command you are instructing your shell to install imutils into your system install of Python, NOT your Python virtual environment!

          Instead, you can install imutils into the “cv” Python virtual environment via:

          Again, a little bit of education goes a long way so I suggest you read up on Python virtual environments.

        • Antony Smith August 15, 2018 at 9:22 am #

          figured out what I was doing wrong in the virtualenv. Need to avoid buzz commands like “sudo -H”.
          Just a direct:
          “pip3 install –upgrade imutils” has installed it to the env.

  6. Cristina February 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    Hello, I need to do the same thing, but in C++.

    Do you know if there is something like imutils for c++ ?

    • Adrian Rosebrock February 13, 2016 at 11:30 am #

      I personally don’t do much work in C++, at this point I do mainly Python, so I’m not too privy with the latest C++ libraries. If I run across anything that looks interesting, I’ll be sure to post it here.

  7. Francisco March 31, 2016 at 12:18 am #

    Do you know how can I install imutils via LiClipse?, i dont wanna mess with prompt.

    Is matplotlib necessary to make the ball tracking, i mean the contour.


    • Adrian Rosebrock March 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      I don’t personally use LiClipse, but I would suggest becoming familiar with the prompt. Nearly all examples on the PyImageSearch blog require using the command line. It’s best to start getting used to it and working with it now.

      As for matplotlib, no, it is not required for tracking objects in images.

  8. Asha April 20, 2016 at 4:51 am #

    I installed imutils-0.3.6 using pip and also upgraded.It gives following error while importing..
    >>> import imutils
    >>> from imutils import paths

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    from imutils import paths
    ImportError: cannot import name paths
    >>> from imutils.object_detection import non_max_suppression

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    from imutils.object_detection import non_max_suppression
    ImportError: No module named object_detection

    please help..

    • Adrian Rosebrock April 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

      It sounds like you’re using an old version of imutils. Make sure you have updated to the latest version:

      pip install --upgrade imutils

  9. San July 15, 2016 at 5:38 am #

    Hi Adrian,

    I installed imutils using pip. But I can’t import it when inside virtual env, but can import when not inside virtual env. What might be the solution?

    • Adrian Rosebrock July 15, 2016 at 6:17 am #

      Make sure you use the workon command to access your Python virtual environment first and then install imutils into the virtual environment:

      • See0507 September 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

        My problem is similar. I installed imutils with pip, inside the virtual env! But I cant import it although I can find it with the file manager. I´m confused.

        • Adrian Rosebrock September 6, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

          It sounds like you are not in your virtual environment when importing imutils:

          Again, make sure you are in the correct Python virtual environment before importing the library.

          • See0507 September 7, 2016 at 5:56 am #

            It is possible to import in the console, but when I start my script out of python with F5 it says “no module named imutils” in the python shell.

            Opening the file by console is not possible either:
            python: cant open file “motion_capt.py” : [Errno 2] No such file or directory.
            Have I to save the file at a specific place?

          • Adrian Rosebrock September 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

            It sounds like you are using some sort of IDE for writing your code. If you’re using Python virtual environments, then you likely need to set the correct Python interpreter for your IDE.

          • See0507 September 9, 2016 at 4:47 am #

            I´m using the preinstalled python 3 IDE on Raspbian, could you give a short tutorial how to “set the correct Python interpreter for my IDE”. I´m sorry, but this whole Linux/raspi/etc thing is relatively new to me.

          • Adrian Rosebrock September 9, 2016 at 10:50 am #

            Instead of using the pre-installed Python IDLE, execute the script via the command line from within your cv virtual environment. You can learn more about virtual environments in this post.

  10. Havan January 16, 2017 at 2:46 am #

    Hey Adrian , when i am trying to install imutils using pip inside virtual environment it give error that:

    Could not find a version that satisfies the system requirements imutios.

    What to do???

    • Adrian Rosebrock January 16, 2017 at 8:06 am #

      There is a typo in your command. You are tying “imutios”, but the library is actually named “imutils”:

      $ pip install imutils

      • Mrjosh June 29, 2018 at 8:56 am #

        I’m having the same issue. I have checked the spelling, same error. Asn’t suggestions? The code I’m using is the motion detection tutorial article 2

        • Adrian Rosebrock July 3, 2018 at 8:50 am #

          What operating system are you using? Are you using Anaconda or standard Python virtual environments?

  11. Daniella Solomon February 7, 2017 at 7:51 am #

    There is option to to resize image both width and height (not just one of them)?
    p.s it will be lovely to get some notification by mail or something else when you/ your team response to comment (for me it’s difficult to track all my comments – it’a s lot, lol..)

    • Adrian Rosebrock February 7, 2017 at 8:58 am #

      If you want to resize on just one dimension and ignore the aspect ratio you should simply call cv2.resize directly. An example can be found in in this blog post. You’ll also find a more detailed explanation inside Practical Python and OpenCV.

  12. Rolf February 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    Hello Adrian,
    after installing opencv 3.1.0 and Python 3.4.2 .
    (A BIG Thank you for the fantastic help provided by your work…)
    I get the following message when launching skindetector.py

    Traceback (most recent call last):

    (h, w) = image.shape[:2]
    AttributeError: ‘NoneType’ object has no attribute ‘shape’

    Is it a message linked with Python version ? and how should I patch it ?

    Thank you in advance

    • Adrian Rosebrock February 24, 2017 at 11:30 am #

      This sounds like an issue with (1) loading an image from disk or (2) accessing a video stream. I explain how to diagnose and resolve NoneType errors in this blog post.

    • Y CHETHAN REDDY October 8, 2018 at 11:16 pm #

      Hello Rolf
      Were you able to solve this problem . I too have the same issue ,could you please help me out . Thanks in advance

  13. Yugank June 6, 2017 at 7:38 am #

    I have been trying to install this package but whenever I do it shows error.

    I type:- pip install imutils
    Error Received:- SyntaxError: invalid syntax

    Please help me with this.

    • Adrian Rosebrock June 6, 2017 at 11:54 am #

      It sounds like you are inside the Python shell. You shouldn’t be. Don’t start the Python program. Simply open up a terminal and type:

      $ pip install imutils

      • Kalyani June 6, 2018 at 3:28 am #

        I am still getting the same error even after typing the command with $. Also I wrote it on terminal and I am not inside the Python shell. Will you please help

        • Adrian Rosebrock June 7, 2018 at 3:13 pm #

          You do not type the “$”. The dollar sign indicates the shell. You need to execute “pip install imutils” from your shell.

  14. Svein June 11, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    Awesome, just got it to work with opencv 3.2, cuda 8.0 and latest dlib tools.. was considering creating a library like this myself !

    • Adrian Rosebrock June 13, 2017 at 11:06 am #

      Congrats, nice job Svein!

  15. Shazam June 16, 2017 at 8:59 am #

    I am trying to use your Color Kmeans code with Imutils package but when I run the program, it tells me: “AttributeError: module ‘imutils’ has no attribute ‘centroid_histogram’ ”

    Is this attribute no longer part of imutils?

    • Adrian Rosebrock June 16, 2017 at 11:09 am #

      Make sure you use the “Downloads” section of the blog post to download the source code to the blog post which includes all necessary code for the project. That will resolve the error.

  16. shaquiel oneal August 22, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Hey adrian,
    How can i use the opencv’s videocapture.get function using imutils’s FileVideoStream?

    • Adrian Rosebrock August 22, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

      Right now there isn’t a way to do that. You would need to modify the FileVideoStream class and either pass in a pre-instantiated cv2.VideoCapture object or (better yet) simply create your own version of FileVideoStream that performs the logic you want it to based on the .get call.

      • shaquiel oneal August 23, 2017 at 6:41 am #

        thanks for your quick reply.
        Python isn’t exactly my mother’s,
        but right now i can attend to FileVideoStream(videoPath).start().get in a static way,
        is it a bad practice?

        • Adrian Rosebrock August 23, 2017 at 6:48 am #

          No, that’s perfectly fine and will work.

  17. raspi September 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    Im using a raspberry pi 2 and have installed imutils into the virtual environment using pip , however i am not able to import imutils in python 2.7. python says no module named imutils.

    • Adrian Rosebrock September 20, 2017 at 7:03 am #

      Make sure you are in your virtual environment via workon your_env_name before running pip install imutils and then trying to import the library.

  18. Rithika Shyam Chari October 8, 2017 at 3:47 am #

    Hi..Thank you for the great post. I am running Python 3.5 and Python 2.7 on a 64bit env (Windows 10). I am trying to get OpenCV to work. I tried different versions but I am running into DLL load failed: %1 is not a valid Win32 application errors. I tried to run opencv (latest version) but there was some error in the convenience.py.
    Any heads up on the compatible versions is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Adrian Rosebrock October 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Rithika — thanks for the comment; however, I do not support Windows here on the PyImageSearch blog. I only support Unix-based environments such as macOS and Linux. If at all possible, please use either macOS or Linux when following the tutorials here on PyImageSearch.

      For what it’s worth, I offer a pre-configured Ubuntu VirtualBox virtual machine with OpenCV pre-installed as part of the Quickstart Bundle and Hardcopy Bundle of my book, Practical Python and OpenCV. This is by far the fastest way to get up and running with OpenCV. The VM will also run on Windows.

  19. Robert October 22, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    I’m using rasipian stretch and I have successfully installed imutils as when I type pip freeze it appears, however I can’t run any code with it because as soon as I put it in a script it say no module can be found

    • Adrian Rosebrock October 23, 2017 at 6:15 am #

      How are you executing your Python script? Via command line? Are you using Python virtual environments? If you used Python virtual environments make sure you installed “imutils” into it AND you are inside the Python virtual environment when you execute the script.

      • Robert October 25, 2017 at 5:57 am #

        yes I my code is:

        source ~/.profile
        workon cv
        cd ~/Python_Prorgrams
        sudo python script.py

        By doing this it says that imutils cannont be found however when I run in a python shell

        (Code for this:

        source ~/.profile
        workon cv
        cd ~/Python_Prorgrams
        sudo python

        import imutils


        it works fine with no error occurring

        • Adrian Rosebrock October 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

          Hi Robert — Is there a reason you’re running Python with the super user (sudo)? Check out this thread on SOF.

  20. Avinash November 9, 2017 at 5:20 am #

    Adrian Help me to install ” fom pyimagesearch.facedetector import FaceDetector ”

    I don’t know how to install that pyimagesearch facedetector module

    • Adrian Rosebrock November 9, 2017 at 6:12 am #

      Please use the “Downloads” form to download the source code and “pyimagesearch” module for the blog post you are referring to. The “Downloads” section will contain the module and code you are looking for.

  21. Manik November 22, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    Sir please suggest a good book for feature extraction of images using image transforms for classification…….

    • Adrian Rosebrock November 25, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

      Hi Manik,

      The PyImageSearch Gurus course includes over 30+ lessons on image classification via feature extraction. I suggest you start there.

  22. Antony May 31, 2018 at 12:55 pm #

    Adrian, my man, you’re an absolute legend!

    • Adrian Rosebrock June 5, 2018 at 8:33 am #

      Thank you for the kind words, Antony 🙂

  23. gaeta June 13, 2018 at 7:11 am #

    how do i resize an image up to 320×240 image

    cap1 = imutils.resize(frame, width=320, height= 240)

    doesn’t work

    • Adrian Rosebrock June 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

      Just call cv2.resize directly:

      image cv2.resize(image, (320, 240))

      The imutils function will preserve the aspect ratio, hence why it’s not behaving like you would expect it to.

  24. Aakash July 12, 2018 at 3:04 am #

    Hey, I’m unable to import build_montages.

    from imutils import build_montages

    I have updated my imutils

    • Adrian Rosebrock July 13, 2018 at 5:09 am #

      It sounds like either:

      1. You did not install imutils
      2. The ‘pip install imutils’ command exited with an error
      3. You installed imutils into a separate Python version (perhaps a Python virtual environment) than the one you are using

      Double-check the three above.

  25. Aneesh Bhat July 18, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    Wow! These functions helped me a lot on my project!!! Thanks a bunch!

  26. Alex Novic September 12, 2018 at 7:38 am #

    Adrian, hi! Glad to write you directly. (Cause you’re a legend for many of us :)) I have a strange behavior of the WebcamVideostreamCapture function. I am trying to show the stereo-image from two stereo-webcams on the RPi3’s 5″ TFT display. When I am using one camera the FPS (measured by your FPS-demo prog) is approx 56. But two cams, i.e. two objects generated by WebcamVideostreamCapture, dramatically decreases the FPS. Videos freezes for half of second and more. As soon as I am just adding a second object, FPS falls to the ground. I feel, something is in the RPi’s settings. I mean threading. Please help with this question.

    • Adrian Rosebrock September 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

      Keep in mind that the code is measuring the FPS throughput rate of the pipeline, not the actual FPS of the camera itself. I would suggest using the multiprocessing package instead of threading — that may give you a faster throughput rate.

  27. Rohan Sathasivam October 16, 2018 at 10:26 pm #

    Hi Ardian, I tried to use the function ”visualize_facial_landmarks’ from imutils library. However, it throws me an error: module ‘imutils’ has no attribute ‘visualize_facial_landmarks’. Could you please advise what needs to be done to trigger this function.

    • Rohan Sathasivam October 16, 2018 at 10:32 pm #

      I got it. Than you!. Your logical explanations are crystal clear. Thanks again

      • Adrian Rosebrock October 20, 2018 at 7:59 am #

        Congrats on resolving the issue, Rohan!

  28. Prince Sanjivy October 26, 2018 at 11:25 am #

    Hey, I just want to know is there an abbreviation for “imutils” ?

    • Adrian Rosebrock October 29, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

      Are you asking what the abbreviation for “imutils” is? If so, it’s short for “image utilities”.


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