vidwhacker - Man Page

grab images and apply random filters to them


vidwhacker [--display host:display.screen] [--root] [--window-id number][--verbose] [--stdin] [--stdout] [--delay seconds] [-directory directory] [--fps]


The vidwhacker program grabs an image from disk, or  from the system's video input, then applies random image filters to it, and displays the result.  The vidwhacker program does not terminate until killed.  

It depends heavily on the various PBM tools (e.g., ppmrelief(1).)

Selection of random image files is done by running the xscreensaver-getimage-file(6x) program.  Capture of video frames (if requested) is done by running the xscreensaver-getimage-video(6x) program.  The options of whether to do video, and which directory to  search for images, are specified in the ~/.xscreensaver file.


vidwhacker accepts the following options:


Draw on the root window.  This is the default.

--window-id number

Draw on the specified window.


Print diagnostics.


Instead of grabbing an image from disk or video, read an image to manipulate from stdin.  This image must be in ppm(5) format.  The program will still perform repeated random image  transformations, but it will always use this one image as its starting point.

--delay seconds

How long to sleep between images.  Default 5 seconds (the actual elapsed time is significantly longer, due to processing time.)


Instead of displaying the image on a window or on the root, write the new image on stdout, and exit.

--directory directory

Use this directory instead of the imageDirectory specified in  the ~/.xscreensaver file.


Display the current frame rate and CPU load.



to get the default host and display number.


to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.


The window ID to use with --root.


It's slow.

To Do

It might be interesting to rewrite this to use gimp(1) plugins instead of the pbm tools.  It probably wouldn't be any faster, but there would be a wider variety of effects available.

See Also

X(1), xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-getimage-file(6x), xscreensaver-getimage-video(6x), xv(1), ppmtogif(1), cjpeg(1)


Jamie Zawinski <>, 18-Jan-98.


6.05-3.fc38 (06-Nov-2022) X Version 11 XScreenSaver manual