logo (C) Bas Schuiling


What is it?

Grabby is a program to fetch images from a video4linux2 compatible device like a webcam or tv-card.
It can write images in JPEG or PNM format.
It can send them to an FTP server, can write them to disk, supports JPG and PPM, can auto-tune contrast/brightness, can convert to grayscale, can mirror pictures, overlay with an other picture ('chroma key', also known as color keying, color-seperation overlay and greenscreen/bluescreen), invert pictures and lots of other image trickery. See the examples page for a couple of examples.

Report bugs here.


Latest release:grabby-1.4.tgz
Please always read the included readme.txt file as it explains how the new (and older) features can be used.


Click here to see a couple of examples.


1.4:Added a couple of new effects, fixed segfault that happens when you did not use -N, added IPv6 support.
1.2:One can now have different intervals for window-, file- and streaming output. Logging can be redirected to a file or syslog. Added statistics-screen in the streaming webserver. Now including Cambozola so that also internet explorer can view the video stream.
1.1:Added moving magnifier effect. Added build-in webserver for streaming the input video stream WITH special effects to webbrowsers.
1.0:Added new effects: warhol effect, broken tv effect. Grabby can now in real-time apply the effects and display the result in a window on your display. RGB-motion did not work, that is now fixed. Added a '$^'-macro for filenames which is replaced by the image-number.
0.9:Added new effects: map image on sphere, pull image into center, rotate image, vortex effect. New filters: median filter, low pass filter (1 pole). Can now also read palettes from GIF (89a) files.
0.8:Chroma key-color is now configurable, added circles-effect, added interlace effect, made blocks-effect configurable, color blend effect added, puzzle effect added, max_saturation is now set_saturation instead for maximum configurability, color noise effect added, added effects for reducing the number of colors
0.7:Can now invert not only on the RGB color-model but HLS as well, wobble-effect vertical/horizontal, now multiple effects can be combined in one go (e.g. use multiple times -e), you now can select the color-channel(s) to merge for merge_pic.
0.6:matrix filter, add positional noise, left pixel difference, create symbolic link to last created image, sleep time now accepts fractions instead of only integer values, motion detection, execute script when motion detected, draw box around detected motion, show only the pixels that changed since last check, set user/group of created file, monochromatic conversions, maximize saturation, invert luminance, invert hue, invert saturation, max luminance, spot, inverted spot, colorized spot, set brightness, set brightness with wrapping
0.5:write images to a temporary file first to prevent errors in e.g. webbrowsers, exit with an understandeble errormessage when the device refuses the selected resolution, several fixes in colorconversions, can now set owner of image-file created, can now execute a script after a new image was written to disk (to do any postprocessing you might want to do)
0.4:added mirror, invert, overlay mask (chroma key), timestamp, PNG output
0.3:added auto contrast/brightness adjustment
0.2:added FTP upload
0.1:initial release

Tested with

  • Asus EEE PC901 internal webcam
  • Philips PCVC740K ToUcam Pro
  • Logitech, Inc. QuickCam Sphere

Q & A

Q:some webcams give black (or white) images
A:upgrade the drivers for the webcam, see http://hansdegoede.livejournal.com/6630.html for details

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