Creating animations with graphviz

Here is a really pointless hack – Joern Hees asked me if I knew of any tools to force layout and visualise RDF graphs. We wondered about graphviz, but he wanted an interactive tool. When he left I wondered if it wouldn’t be quite easy to at least make an animation with graphviz. Of course it took longer than the 10 minutes, I expected, but it sort of worked. Based on the graphviz siblings example graph:

# get example

# create the initial random layout
neato -Gstart=rand -Gmaxiter=1 -o siblings.gv.txt

# create 200 pngs for each iteration 
for x in $(seq 200) ; do neato -Gmaxiter=$x -Tpng -o $(printf "%03d" $x).png ; done

# resize so they are all the same size - graphviz sizing (-Gsize=4,4) is specified in inches and does not always produce PNGs of the same size.
for f in *.png ; do convert $f -resize 500x500! out.png ; mv out.png $f ; done

# make movie
mencoder mf://*.png -mf w=450:h=500:fps=10:type=png -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:mbd=2:trell -oac copy -o output.avi

# upload to youtube
# profit!

(Of course there are many other tools that are much better than this – this is really a “because I can” case.)


  1. Nice ;)

    I’m currently giving gephi a hard time, seems very nice, come have a look ;)

  2. Say, graphviz, can it do svg?

    … Then you could steal the interaction of foafnaut for html5 :-P

  3. It does – and you could. Some of the BTC visualisations I did were laid out with graphviz. These days I guess doing everything with HTML5 canvas would be better.

  4. I’ve put together this it’s just a proof of concept, but it can come in handy‚Ķ

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