Using Canvas for Advanced Graphics and Animation in Python GUI - tkinter

Python provides the tkinter library that allows us to create graphical user interfaces (GUI) effortlessly. One of its most versatile components is the Canvas widget, which provides a platform to create advanced graphics and animations.

The Canvas widget in tkinter is essentially a blank rectangular area where you can draw shapes, text, and images using various methods. It acts as a powerful drawing board, allowing you to unleash your creativity by building interactive graphical applications.

Creating a Canvas

To create a Canvas widget, we first need to import the tkinter library and then initialize a Tk object. Once we have this, we can create a Canvas widget by calling its constructor method, passing the parent widget (typically the Tk object) and any additional parameters such as width, height, and background color.

import tkinter as tk

root = tk.Tk()
canvas = tk.Canvas(root, width=800, height=600, background='white')


In the above code snippet, we created a Canvas widget with a width of 800 pixels, a height of 600 pixels, and a white background.

Drawing Shapes and Lines

The Canvas widget provides methods to draw various shapes such as rectangles, ovals, polygons, and lines. These shapes can be customized by specifying parameters such as color, width, and fill.

For example, to draw a rectangle, we can use the create_rectangle() method by specifying the coordinates of the top-left and bottom-right corners of the rectangle.

canvas.create_rectangle(100, 100, 300, 200, fill='blue', width=2)

Similarly, to draw a line, we can use the create_line() method by specifying the coordinates of the starting and ending points of the line.

canvas.create_line(100, 100, 300, 200, fill='red', width=2)

Adding Text and Images

The Canvas widget allows us to add text and images to our graphical applications. We can use the create_text() method to display text at a specified position on the canvas.

canvas.create_text(400, 300, text='Hello, tkinter!', fill='black', font=('Arial', 20))

To display an image on the Canvas, we first need to import the PIL (Python Imaging Library) module. Then, we can open an image file using the Image class and create a PhotoImage object from it. Finally, we can use the create_image() method to display the image on the canvas.

from PIL import Image, ImageTk

image ='example.png')
photo = ImageTk.PhotoImage(image)
canvas.create_image(500, 400, image=photo)

Animation with Canvas

The Canvas widget also allows us to create animations by updating the positions or properties of shapes or images over time. To achieve animation, we can use the move() method to change the position of a shape, or we can use the itemconfig() method to modify the properties of a shape, such as color or size.

For example, to create a simple animation where a rectangle moves across the Canvas, we can use the move() method in a loop with a small delay between each iteration.

rectangle = canvas.create_rectangle(100, 100, 300, 200, fill='blue', width=2)

def animate():
    canvas.move(rectangle, 5, 0)
    canvas.after(50, animate)


In the above code, the animate() function is recursively called using the after() method after a delay of 50 milliseconds. This creates a smooth animation where the rectangle moves horizontally by 5 pixels in each iteration.


The Canvas widget in tkinter offers a wide range of possibilities for creating advanced graphics and animations. It provides a blank canvas where you can draw shapes, text, and images, and also allows for dynamic animations by updating the properties of these objects over time.

By harnessing the power of the Canvas widget, you can create visually appealing and interactive graphical applications using Python and tkinter. The versatile nature of the Canvas widget makes it an essential tool for any GUI development project.

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