Welcome to Molywood

Welcome to Molywood

What does molywood do?

Molywood is there to make cool molecular movies for you.

Specifically, molywood automatizes the most tedious steps in generation of these movies, i.e. scripting in TCL, rendering, generating overlays and combining frames, as well as merging frames into the final movie:

Molywood workflow

We try to simplify the movie making syntax, as well as add extended functionalities such as animating trajectory data with matplotlib, adding insets or making multi-panel movies.

The basic idea behind the functionalities of molywood is best understood through the examples shown in the Tutorials section. Ambitious users are advised to familiarize themselves with the Documentation section, where individual keywords are described in detail, and explore the capabilities of the script through experimentation.


If you're an experienced user of scientific Python, VMD and ffmpeg, there is a good chance a plain pip installation will be sufficient for you. In this case, type

pip install molywood    # downloads the script
molywood-gen-env        # performs the checkups 
molywood                # initializes a sample run

In every other case, we recommend that you follow the step-by-step installation instructions from our OS-specific installation tutorials.


Sample movie scripts are available in the examples directory: try them first to see how the library works. Just running molywood in the command line will allow you to (a) generate a sample input script, (b) display a sample movie, (c) render a sample movie.

For regular use, molywood should be run from the console as:

molywood script.txt

In general, to run molywood the following files are needed:

  1. either (a) a visualization state generated by VMD, or (b) a structure file; (a) is the preferred way - user may define the representations as well as set the camera angle as desired, and then go to File > Save Visualization State); in option (b), a default representation is used, and a compatible trajectory file can be provided. Alternatively (c), one can provide a four-character pdb_code=..., and the structure will be automatically downloaded from the PDB database.
  2. a 'movie script', i.e. a simple text file containing directives, including a reference to the VMD visualization state (see examples and the explanations below).

The good news is that the actual time-consuming rendering can be done externally, e.g. on a remote workstation, once you set up the visualization state locally. By using the draft mode along with render=f, you can also quickly preview your movie.

Featured movies

If you believe your molywood-generated movie should be featured in our gallery to inspire other users, please email your example (input file, the rendered movie, and possibly other files, such as your structure/trajectory and the .vmd visualization state) to this address. You may also include a literature reference to highlight your work.

The molywood tool has been developed in Python version 3 and therefore it must be run over a Python 3 installation or environment. For more information about installation and running processes, please take a look to the tutorials section.