Up & Running: OpenCV3, Python 3, & Anaconda

OpenCV3 is the latest major edition of the most comprehensive computer vision library, OpenCV. OpenCV has continued to expand its Python bindings and has finally started to support Python 3. Below I’ll show a fairly painless way of setting up this environment.
Anaconda makes creating virtual environments for Python and installing non-python packages like numpy and OpenCV incredibly easy, so we’re going to use that. Go to the following link and make sure to select I want Python 3.4.

If you’re on Windows this will download an executable that will install Anaconda. If you’re on Linux it will download a shell script that will install Anaconda. I assume OSX is similar to Linux.

Once we have Anaconda installed we’re going to want to create a new virtual environment in which to run all of our computer vision tasks. Virtual environments let us install packages without cluttering up our python ecosystem. In Windows make sure to open up the Anaconda command prompt. In Linux just a normal terminal. We’re going to install the following packages: numpy, scipy, scikit-learn, matplotlib. I don’t know if we’ll need all of them but they’re all great packages so what the heck. Only numpy is needed for sure. Run the following commands. (If you’re on Windows source activate becomes activate.)

conda create -n opencv numpy scipy scikit-learn matplotlib python=3
source activate opencv
conda install -c https://conda.binstar.org/menpo opencv3

Let’s explain what these commands mean. conda create makes a new virtual environment -n gives that environment a name. The names after that are the packages that get installed upon creating the environment and the keyword argument python=3 makes sure that we use python 3 (3.4 in my case). You might be wondering why we did not install OpenCV along with the other packages. That’s because OpenCV as of this writing is not included in Anaconda’s regular list of packages. We need to use binstar to get that.

Before that, we’ll activate our new virtual environment. This is similar to sourcing your bash profile in linux. In Windows source activate becomes activate. You should now see the name of your environment (opencv) prepended to the command prompt. Now we’re going to install OpenCV3. To do this we had to find where opencv3 is located. Go to binstar.org and search for opencv3. I found it under user menpo for linux_x64 and windows_x64. OSX has a separate package. We want to take that URL and modify it so that it works with the conda install. https://conda.binstar.org/user package_name The command as formatted above should install opencv3.

To check whether this works or not start up a python prompt. Run import cv2 (!!!IMPORTANT it’s still cv2 not cv3)To check the version print(cv2.__version__) If everything worked out you should have 3.0.0 🙂


  1. Elise

    Thank you very much, this post was of great help.

    I was having trouble because I had opencv 2.4 installed with anaconda and couldn’t upgrade it by any means.

    Had to run in terminal: conda remove opencv

    After that I used the comands specified by the author and it worked while I was at the enviroment (opencv), but after opening a new terminal window Python couldn’t find cv2. To fix this I runned the same ‘conda install -c https://conda.binstar.org/menpo opencv3′ in a regular terminal windows and it installed opencv3.

  2. Juan

    Thank you very much for your ‘to the point’ solution. I’ve just created a new environment for Python 2.7.11 + OpenCV 3.1.0 in OSX using your script as is (well, using python=2 instead)

  3. phyo arkar

    i am getting : ImportError: /usr/lib64/libpangoft2-1.0.so.0: undefined symbol: FcWeightToOpenType

    different system version of libpango . ..

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  5. Rishi Prasad

    Man, you’re a life saver! Thanks for saving me a lot of time here.

  6. saeed iqbal khattak

    Dear All,

    but still I am facing problem, When I use idle.

    Python 3.5.1+ (default, Mar 30 2016, 22:46:26)
    [GCC 5.3.1 20160330] on linux
    Type “copyright”, “credits” or “license()” for more information.
    >>> import cv2
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “”, line 1, in
    import cv2
    ImportError: No module named ‘cv2’
    Is there any way to resolve the above issues.

    1. Profile photo of Chris Sketch
      Chris Sketch Post author

      Have you activated the conda environment using activate or source activate? If you have you should be able to write conda list and see cv2. If it is listed and it still doesn’t work, then perhaps you need to start idle from the command prompt that has the environment activated or close Idle and open it back up after the environment has been activated.

      1. Amey

        I am facing the same problem (ImportError: No module named ‘cv2’).I am working on windows 10. Its saying ‘source’ is not recognized as an internal or external command.
        why this is happening and whats the solution for this??

    2. Jon

      When you run your file, make sure you don’t add “sudo” in front of it, because that was the issue for me.

  7. Adam

    Thanks – so much better than building from source. However, while this to worked well for Ubuntu 14.04, on OS X 10.11.5 it gives the following error during import:

    ImportError: dlopen(/opt/local/lib/Anaconda/lib/python2.7/site-packages/cv2.so, 2): Library not loaded: @rpath/libhdf5.10.dylib
    Referenced from: /opt/local/lib/Anaconda/lib/libopencv_hdf.3.1.0.dylib
    Reason: Incompatible library version: libopencv_hdf.3.1.dylib requires version 12.0.0 or later, but libhdf5.10.dylib provides version 11.0.0

    Also, any idea what backend this build uses for video I/O? On linux I could read “.avi” with the “MJPG” codec, but could not read “.mp4”. Is there a way to install / configure additional codecs?


    1. Profile photo of Chris Sketch
      Chris Sketch Post author

      I don’t know how you would go about that. The binaries aren’t available on anaconda.org and pip is no help, so you would need to install from source as Adrian describes. I’m not sure how this would interact with conda’s virtual environment, but I’m guessing it’d be messy. Wish I could be more help :-/

  8. Profile photo of Zhi Zeng
    Zhi Zeng

    Thank you very much for your help! Here is my result following your instruction. Success!

    ****iMac:~ ****$ source activate OpenCV-py3-cv3
    prepending /Users/****/anaconda/envs/OpenCV-py3-cv3/bin to PATH
    (OpenCV-py3-cv3) ****iMac:~ ****$ conda install -c menlo opencv3=3.1.0
    Using Anaconda Cloud api site https://api.anaconda.org
    Fetching package metadata ………
    Solving package specifications: ……….
    Package plan for installation in environment /Users/****/anaconda/envs/OpenCV-py3-cv3:
    The following packages will be downloaded:
    package | build
    tbb-4.3_20141023 | 0 1.6 MB menpo
    opencv3-3.1.0 | py35_0 37.3 MB menpo
    Total: 38.8 MB
    The following NEW packages will be INSTALLED:
    opencv3: 3.1.0-py35_0 menpo
    tbb: 4.3_20141023-0 menpo
    Proceed ([y]/n)? y
    Fetching packages …
    tbb-4.3_201410 100% |################################| Time: 0:00:26 61.73 kB/s
    opencv3-3.1.0- 100% |################################| Time: 0:04:19 150.82 kB/s
    Extracting packages …
    [ COMPLETE ]|###################################################| 100%
    Linking packages …
    [ COMPLETE ]|###################################################| 100%

  9. Aniruddha Saha

    I am working on Windows. I followed the steps. The installations worked perfectly. Now, when i open the Anaconda prompt and type python, then import cv2, and print cv2,__version__ it shows be opencv 3.1.0 and again when i activate opencv and type conda list it shows opencv 3.1.0 in the list. but when i open spyder from the prompt and try to import cv2 in the development environment in a .py file or in the IPython console it says ImportError: No module named ‘cv2’.

    Any solutions?

    1. Justin

      I have the exact same issue. Opencv3 3.1.0 is showing in anaconda Prompt, but in spyder if I run “import cv2″ I get the error ” ImportError: No module named ‘cv2’ “.

      I fixed this by running
      ” conda install -c https://conda.binstar.org/menpo opencv3 ”
      in the Anaconda Prompt window, but this time not from within the opencv environment. Hope that helps.

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  11. T

    OpenCV can be imported and run. However, reading video no matter it is .avi or .mp4 is not possible.
    I realise the problem is the ffmpeg and to solve this is to set a correct path. However, I have not so far sorted out the problem.

    OpenCV 3.1 + Python 3.5 + Mac

  12. Miko

    Hi Chris, it’s very nice!
    I am facing a silly problem as bellow.
    I successfully installed OpenCV3.1.0 by anaconda (python 3.5 + mac osx) and tested in python prompt
    >>> import cv2
    >>> cv2.__version__

    But in eclipse (pydev), it’s showing
    Unresolved import: cv2
    Please help me!

  13. Theo

    This is the error I get:

    UnsatisfiableError: The following specifications were found to be in conflict:
    – opencv3 -> python 2.7*
    – python 3.6*
    Use “conda info ” to see the dependencies for each package.

    How can I fix this? please help!

    1. Chris

      When you create your environment specify python=3.5 rather than python=3. That version was the default python 3 when I wrote this. Many of the packages on anaconda haven’t been updated to work with python 3.6 yet which I believe is now the default.

  14. Navneet

    how to resolve this conflict ?

    UnsatisfiableError: The following specifications were found to be in conflict:
    – opencv3 -> python 2.7* -> openssl 1.0.1*
    – python 3.6*
    Use “conda info ” to see the dependencies for each package.

    I did a fresh install of conda and python.

    1. Chris

      When you create your environment specify python=3.5 rather than python=3. That version was the default python 3 when I wrote this. Many of the packages on anaconda haven’t been updated to work with python 3.6 yet which I believe is now the default.

  15. Kees

    I have used your instruction to import opencv3 using conda. I set up a separate environment in conda. All seems to work with the exception of DestroyAllWindows() which just hangs when I execute it. I am using a Mac with OSX 10 and python 3.5. I tested cv3 with the following code:
    import cv2

    # Load our input image
    image = cv2.imread(‘./images/input.jpg’)
    cv2.imshow(‘Original’, image)

    The window stays open and I see a spinning beachball when I have my cursor on it.

    Any suggestions. Help would be very much appreciated

  16. Kees

    I got it to work! I found on the web that more people have trouble with this issue on Mac. What you need to do is put a cv2.waitKey(1) after the cv2.destroyAllWindows().

    My apologies for the typo in my previous comment. It is cv2.destroyAllWindows() not cv2.DestroyAllWindows().

  17. Peter

    I got error installing opencv for Ananconda3

    C:\Anaconda3>activate opencv

    (opencv) C:\Anaconda3>conda install -c https://conda.binstar.org/menpo opencv3
    Fetching package metadata …

    CondaHTTPError: HTTP None None for url
    Elapsed: None

    An HTTP error occurred when trying to retrieve this URL.
    HTTP errors are often intermittent, and a simple retry will get you on your way.
    SSLError(SSLError(SSLError(“bad handshake: Error([(‘SSL routines’, ‘ssl3_get_server_certificate’, ‘certificate verify failed’)],)”,),),)

    (opencv) C:\Anaconda3>python

  18. Navan

    Hi I have just started using Pydev in Eclipse and run Python intrepreter using Anaconda environment. I have numpy, matplotlob and openCV installed using conda

    I am able to display images etc using cv2 and matplotlib but CV2 doesnot show me all the possible arguments or information about the function I am using. Is there a reason .

    for example if i am doing something like this for matplotlib

    import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
    plt.imshow(X, cmap, norm, aspect, interpolation, alpha, vmin, vmax, origin, extent, shape, filternorm, filterrad, imlim, resample, url, hold, data)

    So as soon as I use imshow it shows me all possible arguments.

    But with cv2 :
    import cv2
    cv2.imshow() Here no arguments is shown

    Am i doing something wrong ?
    Python = 3.5.3
    opencv3 = 3.1.0

  19. shiv

    Thanks! This really helped. – Success in installing with python34. python36 is still a problem.

  20. Zak

    This will not install opencv_contrib correct? So you can’t use things like SIFT. I am trying to figure out how to install so that I can use opencv_contrib and finding it very difficult. Any chance that there will be a menpo that includes the opencv_contrib. OR a good tutorial on how to install and compile for opencv_contrib if you already installed using menpo?

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