Asciimatics is a package to help people create simple ASCII animations on any platform. It is licensed under the Apache Software Foundation License 2.0.


Why not? It brings a little joy to anyone who was programming in the 80s… Oh and it provides a single cross-platform Python class to do all the low-level console function you could ask for, including:

  • Coloured/styled text - including 256 colour terminals
  • Cursor positioning
  • Keyboard input (without blocking or echoing)
  • Mouse input (terminal permitting)
  • Detecting and handling when the console resizes
  • Screen scraping

In addition, it provides some simple, high-level APIs to provide more complex features including:

  • Anti-aliased ASCII line-drawing
  • Image to ASCII conversion - including JPEG and GIF formats
  • Many animation effects - e.g. sprites, particle systems, banners, etc.
  • Various widgets for text UIs - e.g. buttons, text boxes, radio buttons, etc.

Currently this API has been proven to work on CentOS 6 & 7, Raspbian (i.e. Debian wheezy), Ubuntu 14.04, Windows 7, 8 & 10 and OSX 10.11, though it should also work for any other platform that provides a working curses implementation.


Asciimatics supports Python versions 2 & 3. For a list of the precise list of tested versions, see here.

To install asciimatics, simply install with pip. You can get it from here and then just run:

$ pip install asciimatics

This should install all your dependencies for you. If you don’t use pip or it fails to install them, you can install the dependencies directly using the packages listed in requirements.txt. Additionally, Windows users will need to install pywin32.

Quick start guide

Once you have installed asciimatics as per the instructions above, simply create a Screen, put together a Scene using some Effect objects and then get the Screen to play it. An Effect will typically need to display some pre-formatted text. This is usually provided by a Renderer. For example:

from asciimatics.screen import Screen
from asciimatics.scene import Scene
from asciimatics.effects import Cycle, Stars
from asciimatics.renderers import FigletText

def demo(screen):
    effects = [
            FigletText("ASCIIMATICS", font='big'),
            screen.height // 2 - 8),
            FigletText("ROCKS!", font='big'),
            screen.height // 2 + 3),
        Stars(screen, (screen.width + screen.height) // 2)
    ][Scene(effects, 500)])