Manim

There exists a YouTube channel that transcends the traditional formatting of educational videos by removing all anthropogenic distractions that naturally occur in conventional teaching scenarios. Although Sal Khan deserves a special place in history for bringing free lectures to the screen, I believe Grant Sanderson deserves to be recognized for bringing concepts directly into the mind. Watching a 3Blue1Brown video feels more like a teacher placing visuals directly into your mind. If you have not had the chance to watch one of his videos, I recommend you check him out.

3Blue1Brown

 

Naturally, I became intrigued by the method that Sanderson used to create these videos. After doing a quick search on his website, I discovered that he had written his own Python library called Manim, short for Mathematical Animation. Now, I am by no means a Python wizard, and the forums indicated that getting Manim installed on one’s computer not only meant switch back to Python 2.7, but also going through a litany of Python and LaTeX problems. At that point I decided to postpone pursuing Manim as a side project.

After awhile, I finally determined that it was time to try and take on the challenge. And it was definitely a challenge.

I followed a series of blogposts by Todd Zimmerman on his website that walk users through learning Manim. It is well written, well organized, and there are a lot of other jewels in his posts, so if it is Manim you are interested I recommend starting there.

As well written as his blog is, it doesn’t do much for addressing issues with getting Manim to work. Which resulted in a week of frustration of getting it installed on my Mac. However, I think I figured out the a decent way of getting it installed and was able to repeatedly do it on my wife’s Mac in under a couple of hours. I would like to preface my journey by reiterating that I am not a Python wizard. I only learn enough to the language to complete a task at hand and have not ventured much beyond. If there are better way, please comment below, or publish it somewhere else so that more people can help change the world of education.

My Journey to Manim on a Mac