OpenPose  1.7.0
The first real-time multi-person system to jointly detect human body, hand, facial, and foot keypoints
OpenPose Very Advanced Doc - Library Structure - Deep Overview

Note: Read doc/very_advanced/library_structure/ before this page.

Modules Diagram

Debugging C++ Code

Finding Segmentation Faults

This is the faster method to debug a segmentation fault problem. Usual scenario: You are editing OpenPose source code and suddenly OpenPose returns segmentation fault when executed. In order to find where it occurs:

  1. Select one of the 2 options:
    1. Switch to debug mode.
    2. Go to openpose/utilities/errorAndLog.hpp and modify dLog:
      1. Comment #ifndef NDEBUG and its else and endif.
  2. Call OpenPose with --logging_level 0 --disable_multi_thread.
  3. At this point you have an idea of in which file class the segmentation fault is coming from. Now you can further isolate the error by iteratively adding the following line all over the code until you find the exact position of the segmentation fault: opLog("", Priority::Low, __LINE__, __FUNCTION__, __FILE__);
  4. After you have found the segmentation fault, remember to remove all the extra opLog() calls that you temporarily added.


Checking OpenPose Accuracy Quantitatively

  1. Download OpenPose training code:
  2. Download val2017 set from COCO:
  3. Get JSONs in OpenPose: examples/tests/
  4. Get accuracy (Matlab): validation/f_getValidations.m

Checking Ground-Truth Labels

From the COCO dataset:

  1. Download 2014 or 2017 Train/Val annotations.
  2. Download the COCO API.
  3. With the COCO API (either Python, Matlab, or LUA ones), you can check any image with the image ID (equivalent to the number in the image name).

OpenPose Coding Style

  1. Error-prone mistakes:
    1. Do never use std::mutex.lock and/or std::mutex.unlock. Use std::unique_lock<std::mutex> if unlock required or std::lock_guard<std::mutex> otherwise.
    2. Do never use the new keyword with std::shared_ptr, but rather: std::make_shared<>.
  2. Naming:
    1. Class parameters should start with m, class pointers with p, shared_ptrs with sp, unique_ptrs with up, static parameters with s.
    2. Function and class parameters coding style is the same other than the previous point.
    3. Any parameters should not contain special characters, simply letters and numbers (preferred only letters) separated with upper case. E.g., mThisIsAParameter, thisIsAParameter.
    4. In addition, the names should be self-explanatory and not abbreviated. Good examples: counter, thisIs. Bad examples: ctr, var.
  3. Length:
    1. Lines should contain up to 120 characters.
    1. Only // comments are allowed in the code, /* */ should not be used.
    2. There should be a (at least) 1-line comment for each block of code inside each function.
  5. Loops and statements:
    1. There should be a space between the keyword (if, for, etc) and the parenthesis, e.g., if (true). Wrong: if(true). Note: So they can be easily located with Ctrl + F.
    2. Braces should be added in the following line with respect to the loop/statement keyword. See example in point 3.
    3. 1-line loops/statements should not contain braces. E.g.,
      if (booleanParameter)
      anotherParameter = 25;
      anotherParameter = 2;
      differentParameter = 3;
  6. Includes:
    1. There cannot be any include to a 3rd party in the headers (other than OpenCV core: opencv2/core/core.hpp).
      1. PImpl idiom can be checked (e.g., in include/openpose/pose/poseExtractorCaffe.hpp) for an idea of how to avoid it.
      2. Otherwise the defining class examples in include/openpose/core/macros.hpp (point 1 is highly preferred).
    2. They should be sorted in this order:
      1. Std libraries.
      2. OS libraries.
      3. 3rd party libraries (e.g., Caffe, OpenCV).
      4. OpenPose libraries.
      5. If it is a cpp file, the last one should be its own hpp.
    3. Inside each of the previous groups, it should be sorted alphabetically.
  7. Functions arguments:
    1. It should first include the variables to be edited, and secondly the const variables.
    2. Any variable that is not gonna be modified must be added with const.
  8. Pointers:
    1. Pointers must be avoided if possible.
    2. If a pointer must be used, std::unique_ptr must be always be used.
    3. If the pointer must be shared, then std::shared_ptr.
    4. No delete keyword is allowed in OpenPose.

Main Modules

In order to use and/or slightly extend the OpenPose library, we try to explain the 2 main components on this section. doc/very_advanced/library_structure/UML contains the class diagram of all these modules.

  1. The basic module: core.
  2. The multi-threading module: thread.
  3. The multi-person keypoint detection module: pose.

Basic Module: <tt>core</tt>

Array<T> - The OpenPose Basic Raw Data Container

This template class implements a multidimensional data array. It is our basic data container, analogous to cv::Mat in OpenCV, Tensor in Torch and TensorFlow or Blob in Caffe. It wraps a cv::Mat and a std::shared_ptr, both of them pointing to the same raw data. I.e. they both share the same memory, so we can read this data in both formats, while there is no performance impact. For instance, op::Datum has several op::Array<float>, for instance the op::Datum<float> pose with the pose data.

Construction And Data allocation

There are 4 different ways to allocate the memory:

  1. The constructor Array(const std::vector<int>& size), which calls reset(size).
  2. The constructor Array(const int size), which calls reset(size).
  3. The reset(const std::vector<int>& size) function: It allocates the memory indicated for size. The allocated memory equals the product of all elements in the size vector. Internally, it is saved as a 1-D std::shared_ptr<T[]>.
  4. The reset(const int size) function: equivalent for 1-dimension data (i.e., vector).
  5. The setFrom(const cv::Mat& cvMat) function: It calls reset() and copies the data from cvMat.

Data access

The data can be access as a raw pointer, shared pointer or cv::Mat. So given your Array<T> array:

  1. Similar to the std::vector: array[index] or If the code is in debug mode, they both has the same functionality. In release mode, the only difference is that the at function checks whether the index is within the limits of the data.
  2. As const cv::Mat: array.getConstCvMat(). We do not allow to directly modify the cv::Mat, since some operations might change the dimensional size of the data. If you want to do so, you can clone this cv::Mat, perform any desired operation, and copy it back to the array class with setFrom().
  3. As raw pointer: T* getPtr() and const T* const getConstPtr(). Similar to std:: and std::shared_ptr::get(). For instance, CUDA code usually requires raw pointers to access its data.

Dimensionality Information

There are several functions to get information about the allocated data:

  1. bool empty(): Similar to cv::Mat::empty(). It checks whether internal data has been allocated.
  2. std::vector<int> getSize(): It returns the size of each dimension.
  3. int getSize(const int index): It returns the size of the index dimension.
  4. size_t getNumberDimensions(): It returns the number of dimensions (i.e., getSize().size()).
  5. size_t getVolume(): It returns the total internal number of T objects, i.e., the product of all dimensions size.

Datum - The OpenPose Basic Piece of Information Between Threads

The Datum class has all the variables that our Workers need to share to each other. The user can inherit from op::Datum in order to add extra functionality (e.g., if he want to add new Workers and they require extra information between them). We highly recommend not to modify the op::Datum source code. Instead, just inherit it and tell the Workers and ThreadManager to use your inherited class. No changes are needed in the OpenPose source code for this task.

UserDatum : public op::Datum {/* op::Datum + extra variables */}
// Worker and ThreadManager example initialization
op::WGui<std::shared_ptr<std::vector<std::shared_ptr<UserDatum>>> userGUI(/* constructor arguments */);
op::ThreadManager<std::shared_ptr<std::vector<std::shared_ptr<UserDatum>>> userThreadManager;

Since UserDatum inherits from op::Datum, all the original OpenPose code will compile and run with your inherited version of op::Datum.

Multi-Threading Module - <tt>thread</tt>

The ThreadManager<T> Template Class

It manages and automates the multi-threading configuration and execution. The user just needs to add the desired Worker<T> classes to be executed and the parallelization mode, and this class will take care of it.


Just call op::ThreadManager<TypedefDatumsSP> threadManager.

Adding a Worker Sequence

There are 4 ways to add sequence of workers:

  1. void add(const std::vector<std::tuple<unsigned long long, std::vector<TWorker>, unsigned long long, unsigned long long>>& threadWorkerQueues).
  2. void add(const std::vector<std::tuple<unsigned long long, TWorker, unsigned long long, unsigned long long>>& threadWorkerQueues).
  3. void add(const unsigned long long threadId, const std::vector<TWorker>& tWorkers, const unsigned long long queueInId, const unsigned long long queueOutId).
  4. void add(const unsigned long long threadId, const TWorker& tWorker, const unsigned long long queueInId, const unsigned long long queueOutId).

Threading Configuration Modes

There are 3 basic configuration modes: single-threading, multi-threading and smart multi-threading (mix of single- and multi-threading):

  1. Single-threading, with 2 variations:
    1. Just call threadManager.add(0, std::vector<TypedefWorker> VECTOR_WITH_ALL_WORKERS, 0, 1);
    2. Add the workers one by one, but keeping the same threadId: ``` auto threadId = 0; auto queueIn = 0; auto queueOut = 0; threadManager.add(threadId, {wDatumProducer, wCvMatToOpInput}, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 0, queues 0 -> 1 threadManager.add(threadId, wPose, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 0, queues 1 -> 2 ```
  2. Multi-threading: Just increase the thread id for each new sequence: ``` auto threadId = 0; auto queueIn = 0; auto queueOut = 0; threadManager.add(threadId++, wDatumProducer, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 0, queues 0 -> 1 threadManager.add(threadId++, wCvMatToOpInput}, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 1, queues 1 -> 2 threadManager.add(threadId++, wPose, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 2, queues 3 -> 3 ```
  3. Smart multi-threading: Some classes are much more faster than others (e.g., pose estimation takes ~100 ms while extracting frames from a video only ~10 ms). In addition, any machine has a limited number of threads. Therefore, the library allows the user to merge the faster threads in order to potentially speed up the code. Check the command line demo too see a more complete example. ``` auto threadId = 0; auto queueIn = 0; auto queueOut = 0; threadManager.add(threadId++, {wDatumProducer, wCvMatToOpInput}, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 0, queues 0 -> 1, 2 workers merged together into 1 thread threadManager.add(threadId++, wPose, queueIn++, queueOut++); // Thread 1, queues 1 -> 2, 1 worker ```

Thread Id:

In order to have X different threads, you just need X different thread ids in the add() function. There should not be any missing thread or queue id. I.e., when start is called, all the thread ids from 0 to max_thread_id must have been added with the add() function, as well as all queue ids from 0 to the maximum queue id introduced.

The threads will be started following the thread id order (first the lowest id, last the highest one). In practice, thread id ordering might negatively affect the program execution by adding some lag. I.e., if the thread ids are assigned in complete opposite order to the temporal order of the Workers (e.g., first the GUI and lastly the webcam reader), then during the first few iterations the GUI Worker will have an empty queue until all other Workers have processed at least one frame.

Within each thread, the Workers are executed in the order that they have been added to ThreadManager by the add() function.

Queue Id:

In addition, each queue id is forced to be the input and output of at least 1 Worker sequence. Special cases are the queue id 0 (only forced to be input of >= 1 Workers) and max_queue_id (forced to be output of >=1 Workers). This prevent users from accidentally forgetting connecting some queue ids.

Recursive queuing is allowed. E.g., a Worker might work from queue 0 to 1, another one from 1 to 2, and a third one from 2 to 1, creating a recursive queue/threading. However, the index 0 is reserved for the first queue, and the maximum index for the last one.

The Worker<T> Template Class - The Parent Class of All Workers

Classes starting by the letter W + upper case letter (e.g., WGui) directly or indirectly inherit from Worker<T>. They can be directly added to the ThreadManager class so they can access and/or modify the data as well as be parallelized automatically.

The easiest way to create your own Worker is to inherit Worker<T>, and implement the work() function such us it just calls a wrapper to your desired functionality (check the source code of some of our basic Workers). Since the Worker classes are templates, they are always compiled. Therefore, including your desired functionality in a different file will let you compile it only once. Otherwise, it would be compiled any time that any code which uses your worker is compiled.

All OpenPose Workers are templates, i.e., they are not only limited to work with the default op::Datum. However, if you intend to use some of our Workers, your custom TDatums class (the one substituting op::Datum) should implement the same variables and functions that those Workers use. The easiest solution is to inherit from op::Datum and extend its functionality.

Creating New Workers

Users can directly implement their own W from Worker<T> or any other sub-inherited Worker[...]<T> class and add them to ThreadManager. For that, they just need to: inherit those classes from...

  1. Inherit from Worker<T> and implement the functionality work(T& tDatum), i.e., it will use and modify tDatum.
  2. Inherit from WorkerProducer<T> and implement the functionality T work(), i.e., it will create and return tDatum.
  3. Inherit from WorkerConsumer<T> and implement the functionality work(const T& tDatum), i.e., it will use but will not modify tDatum.

We suggest users to also start their inherited Worker<T> classes with the W letter for code clarity, required if they want to send us a pull request.

All Workers Wrap a Non-Worker Class

All Workers wrap and call a non-Worker non-template equivalent which actually performs their functionality. E.g., WPoseExtractor<T> and PoseExtractor. In this way, threading and functionality are completely decoupled. This gives us the best of templates and normal classes:

  1. Templates allow us to use different classes, e.g., the user could use his own specific equivalent to op::Datum. However, they must be compiled any time that any function that uses them changes.
  2. Classes can be compiled only once, and later the algorithm just use them. However, they can only be used with specific arguments.

By separating functionality and their Worker<T> wrappers, we get the good of both points, eliminating the cons. In this way, the user is able to:

  1. Change std::shared_ptr<std::vector<std::shared_ptr<op::Datum>>> for a custom class, implementing his own Worker templates, but using the already implemented functionality to create new custom Worker templates.
  2. Create a Worker which wraps several non-Workers classes.

Multi-Person Key-Point Detection module - <tt>pose</tt>

The human body pose detection is wrapped into the WPoseExtractor<T> worker and its equivalent non-template PoseExtractor. In addition, it can be rendered and/or blended into the original frame with (W)PoseRenderer class.

PoseExtractor Class

Currently, only PoseExtractorCaffe is implemented, which uses the Caffe framework. We might add other famous frameworks later (e.g., Torch or TensorFlow). If you compile our library with any other framework, please email us or make a pull request! We are really interested in adding any other Deep Net framework, and the code is mostly prepared for it. Just create the equivalent PoseExtractorDesiredFramework and make the pull request!


In order to be initialized, PoseExtractorCaffe has the following constructor and parameters: PoseExtractorCaffe(const Point<int>& netInputSize, const Point<int>& netOutputSize, const Point<int>& outputSize, const int scaleNumber, const double scaleGap, const PoseModel poseModel, const std::string& modelsFolder, const int gpuId).

  1. netInputSize is the resolution of the first layer of the deep net. I.e., the frames given to this class must have that size.
  2. netOutputSize is the resolution of the last layer of the deep net. I.e., the resulting heatmaps will have this size. Currently, it must be set to the same size as netInputSize.
  3. outputSize is the final desired resolution to be used. The human pose keypoint locations will be scaled to this output size. However, the heat-maps will have the netOutputSize size due to performance.
  4. scaleNumber and scaleGap specify the multi-scale parameters. Explained in doc/advanced/
  5. poseModel specifies the model to load (e.g., COCO or MPI).
  6. modelsFolder is the resolution of the last layer of the deep net. I.e., the resulting heat-maps will have this size.
  7. gpuId specifies the GPU where the deep net will run. To parallelize the process along the number of available GPUs, just create the class with the same number of parameters but a different GPU id.

Detect Human Pose

In order to detect the human pose:

  1. First run the deep net over the desired target image, by using forwardPass(const Array<float>& inputNetData, const Point<int>& inputDataSize). inputNetData is the input image scaled to netInputSize, while inputDataSize indicates the original frame resolution before being rescaled to netInputSize (this is required given that we resize the images keeping the original aspect ratio).
  2. After, you can choose either to get:
    1. The people pose as a op::Array<float>: Array<float> getPose().
    2. The scale used (keeping the aspect ratio) to rescale from netOutputSize to outputSize: double getScaleNetToOutput().
    3. The people pose as a constant GPU float pointer (not implemented yet): const float* getPoseGpuConstPtr().
    4. The heatmap data as a constant CPU or GPU float pointer: const float* getHeatMapCpuConstPtr() and const float* getHeatMapGpuConstPtr().

Due to performance reasons, we only copy the people pose data given by getPose(). However, we do not copy the heatmap and GPU pose values and just give you a raw pointer to them. Hence, you need to manually copy the data if you pretend to use it later, since we reuse that memory on each forwardPass.

PoseRenderer Class

After estimating the pose, you usually desired to visualize it. PoseRenderer does this work for you.


In order to be initialized, PoseRenderer has the following constructor and parameters: PoseRenderer(const Point<int>& netOutputSize, const Point<int>& outputSize, const PoseModel poseModel, const std::shared_ptr<PoseExtractor>& poseExtractor, const float alphaKeypoint, const float alphaHeatMap).

  1. netOutputSize, outputSize and poseModel are the same as the ones used for PoseExtractorCaffe.
  2. poseExtractor is the pose extractor used previously. It is only used for heatmap and PAFs rendering, since the GPU data is not copied to op::Datum for performance purposes. If any of the heatmaps are gonna be rendered, PoseRenderer must be placed in the same thread as PoseExtractor. Otherwise, it will throw a runtime exception.
  3. alphaKeypoint and alphaHeatMap controls the blending coefficient between original frame and rendered pose or heatmap/PAF respectively. A value alphaKeypoint = 1 will render the pose with no transparency at all, while alphaKeypoint = 0 will not be visible. In addition, alphaHeatMap = 1 would only show the heatmap, while alphaHeatMap = 0 would only show the original frame.

Render Human Pose

In order to render the detected human pose, run std::pair<int, std::string> renderPose(Array<float>& outputData, const Array<float>& pose, const double scaleNetToOutput).

  1. outputData is the Array<float> where the original image resized to outputSize is located.
  2. pose is given by PoseExtractor::getPose().
  3. scaleNetToOutput is given by PoseExtractor::getScaleNetToOutput().
  4. The resulting std::pair has the element rendered id, and its name. E.g., <0, "Nose"> or <19, "Part Affinity Fields">.