Ubuntu, how to install OpenCV for python3?

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I want to install OpenCV for python3 in ubuntu 16.04. Fist I tried running sudo apt-get install python3-opencv which is how I pretty much install all of my python software. This could not find a repository. The install does work however if I do sudo apt-get install python-opencv this issue with this is that by not adding the three to python it installs for python 2 which I do not use. I would really perfer not to have to build and install from source so is there a way I can get a repository? I also tried installing it with pip3 and it could not find it either.

2016-05-12 13:37
by chasep255
I don't think you can install opencv on python 3.x directly the way you would for python 2.x. You should follow this short guide or this to help you get through an installation from gi - Moses Koledoye 2016-05-12 14:09
Ok just wanted to make sure. I am doing the source install right now - chasep255 2016-05-12 14:10


Well this will be a lengthy answer, so let's start :

Step 1: Install prerequisites : Upgrade any pre-installed packages:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Install developer tools used to compile OpenCV 3.0:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake git pkg-config

Install libraries and packages used to read various image and videos formats from disk:

$ sudo apt-get install libjpeg8-dev libtiff5-dev libpng-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libswscale-dev libv4l-dev

Install GTK so we can use OpenCV’s GUI features:

$ sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev

Install packages that are used to optimize various functions inside OpenCV, such as matrix operations:

$ sudo apt-get install libatlas-base-dev gfortran

Step 2: Setup Python (Part 1)

Let’s download pip , a Python package manager, installed for Python 3:

$ wget https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
$ sudo python3 get-pip.py

Let’s use our fresh pip3 install to setup virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper :

$ sudo pip3 install virtualenv virtualenvwrapper

Now we can update our ~/.bashrc file (place at the bottom of the file):

# virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper
export VIRTUALENVWRAPPER_PYTHON=/usr/bin/python3
export WORKON_HOME=$HOME/.virtualenvs
source /usr/local/bin/virtualenvwrapper.sh
$ source ~/.bashrc
$ mkvirtualenv cv

Step 2: Setup Python (Part 2)

we’ll need to install the Python 3.4+ headers and development files:

$ sudo apt-get install python3.4-dev

OpenCV represents images as NumPy arrays, so we need to install NumPy into our cv virtual environment:

$ pip install numpy

Step 3: Build and install OpenCV 3.0 with Python 3.4+ bindings

$ cd ~
$ git clone https://github.com/opencv/opencv.git
$ cd opencv
$ git checkout 3.0.0
$ cd ~
$ git clone https://github.com/opencv/opencv_contrib.git
$ cd opencv_contrib
$ git checkout 3.0.0

Time to setup the build:

$ cd ~/opencv
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
    -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local \
    -D OPENCV_EXTRA_MODULES_PATH=~/opencv_contrib/modules \

Let's start OpenCV compile process :

$ make -j4

Assuming OpenCV 3.0 compiled without error, you can now install it on your system:

$ sudo make install
$ sudo ldconfig

Step 4: Sym-link OpenCV 3.0

If you’ve reached this step, OpenCV 3.0 should now be installed in /usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/.

Here, our OpenCV bindings are stored under the name cv2.cpython-34m.so

However, in order to use OpenCV 3.0 within our cv virtual environment, we first need to sym-link OpenCV into the site-packages directory of the cv environment, like this: (Be sure to take note of cv2.cpython-34m.so)

$ cd ~/.virtualenvs/cv/lib/python3.4/site-packages/
$ ln -s /usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/cv2.cpython-34m.so cv2.so

Notice how I am changing the name from cv2.cpython-34m.so to cv2.so — this is so Python can import our OpenCV bindings using the name cv2 .

Step 5: Test out the OpenCV 3.0 and Python 3.4+ install

$ workon cv
$ python
>>> import cv2
>>> cv2.__version__

Hope that helps. Also, credit to Adrian Rosebrock on his post. It worked for me as a charm.

2016-05-12 14:47
by Vtik
So I installed it and it seems to be working. The only issue I am having is that PyDev in eclipse does not seem to be able to find cv2. I can import cv2 and run it fine but I find it annoying that I can't use the auto-complete ctrl+Space feature in eclipse while coding. I looked into the /usr/local/lib/python3.5/dist-packages and noticed that there was only a .so file for cv2 rather than a folder containing python files like the other libraries in the package. Is there any way to get python files for cv2 so it will integrate nicely with eclipse - chasep255 2016-05-12 15:51
it looks like solved here, also, please mark your question as answered if the answer did solve your original question. Thanks - Vtik 2016-05-12 15:54
Well I actually got it to work by adding cv2 to forced built-ins in pydev - chasep255 2016-05-12 15:56
This installation is incompatible with cuda 8. Use latest cv2 repo if you have cuda 8 - Cartesian Theater 2016-12-24 20:24
I did this for CUDA 8 and have this issue for Ubuntu 14.04 https://github.com/opencv/opencv/issues/8036 Please have a loo - Mona Jalal 2017-01-19 02:07
Thank you. I worked for me. But I had to replace $ ln -s /usr/local/lib/python3.4/site-packages/cv2.cpython-34m.so cv2.so with $ ln -s /usr/local/lib/python3.4/dist-packages/cv2.cpython-34m.so cv2.so to make it work - RenaudBlue 2017-05-23 15:45
be aware that OpenCV repository moved to https://github.com/openc - Fedor Chervinskii 2017-10-01 08:50
tried 'make -j1' instead of 'make -j4'. It shows the cores. j1 was working for me but not j - bibinwilson 2019-02-23 07:52


I found this:


OpenCV on wheels

'Unofficial OpenCV packages for Python.'

Installation was painless for Ubuntu 16.04

pip3 install opencv-python

Check the installation

Python 3.5.2 (default, Nov 17 2016, 17:05:23) 
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import cv2
>>> cv2.__version__

Not sure why this wasn't mentioned. Perhaps it is newly available?

2017-01-18 00:22
by Trevor
Maybe because it's unofficial and doesn't have video functionality.. - XåpplI'-I0llwlg'I - 2017-01-21 02:29
It was painless, but when I call imshow() OpenCV says that the function is not implemented and that I need to rebuild the package - nikkou 2017-07-27 15:45
For me it also required sudo apt-get install -y python-qt - roy650 2017-09-23 18:47
In server (headless) environment I also needed to run: apt-get install libglib2.0-0 to make it wor - iezepov 2018-08-17 02:46
this seems to be unable to install opencv version2 series - Scott Yang 2018-11-13 07:18


Using conda inside a python3 environment:

First install conda in a python3 environment and activate it if you haven't yet:

conda create --name py3k python=3
source activate py3k

Now you can install opencv in the conda environment:

pip install pillow
conda install -c menpo opencv3=3.1.0

To import in Python:

import cv2
2016-12-18 19:13
by k26dr
I have been trying different solutions for hours. I kept getting an error with cv2.imshow(). Now I've tried this and it finally works. Thank you - elevendollar 2017-03-10 16:04


This is because you have multiple installations of python in your machine.You should make python3 the default, because by default is the python2.7

2016-05-12 13:41
by makoulis
i meant python.....sorry.....was so difficult to understand it - makoulis 2016-05-12 13:56
Well I don't think that is the issue. Why can't I just install it for python3 like I have done with every other library - chasep255 2016-05-12 13:59
You just need to set the default python in cmake/OpenCVDetectPython.cmake: set(PYTHONDEFAULTEXECUTABLE "${PYTHON3_EXECUTABLE}" - Joe Chakra 2017-09-29 02:27