A story of my journey a few weeks ago when I learned how to create mathematical animations with Manim. Manim is a library that makes it easy to create animations with Python. And happy Pi Day!
Some days ago, a friend of mine told me about Manim. Manim is an open-source python library for creating mathematical animations. It was built by a YouTuber to create videos for his Youtube channel, 3Blue1Brown. My conversation about Manim with my friend was not my first time hearing about Manim. It appeared many times on my GitHub Explore feed, but I ignored it. But once this friend told me about it, I decided I would finally learn how to use this library.
One of my main setbacks from a smooth programming experience is my laptop’s frequent lagging when overworked. There are few things I find more frustrating than staring blankly at a laptop for minutes, waiting for something to compile, or for required files to be downloaded. I recently overcame this challenge by using Gitpod, an online service similar to Replit, that offloads the work of compiling my code to servers in the cloud. To avoid excessive computer lagging since Manim consumes a lot of memory while rendering graphics, I decided to do my work on Google Colab. Google Colab is an online environment that allows you to run compute-intensive python programs on Google servers.
Setting up a Google Colab was very straightforward. I just had to create a new Google Colab notebook and run a short terminal script to install the Manim dependencies. Once I did that, I was ready to create an animation with Manim. Since this was my first time using Manim, I opened the documentation for Manim and followed the tutorials on the website. In a few hours, I knew the basics like creating shapes, changing their colors, and adding basic animations like transforming a triangle into a circle. Following these tutorials was an immersive experience. The most fascinating thing I learned was a way of animating equations and turning one equation into another. Finally, to practice what I learned, I created an animated intro for Special Maths Academy inspired by the anagrams in the 2020 MIT Commencement invitation video.
I still have a long way to go to become proficient in creating mathematical animations with Manim. Over the coming months, I will dive deeper into the documentation to learn more about Manim. As I become more proficient, I will use Manim to create math videos on the Youtube channel of Special Maths Academy, an online olympiad training program I work with.
Learning Manim was exciting and rewarding, and I think you should check it out too. To learn more about Manim, see 3Blue1Brown’s Youtube channel and Manim’s website at https://www.manim.community.