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Compiling External Libraries

Online SDK Installation Tutorial

A tutorial is available for Windows 7/8/10 and OS X that covers the installation of a DREAM.3D software development kit (SDK) using either prebuilt binaries (Windows) or a shell script (OS X). Please use these web sites for reference. The instructions below are for special cases where using the precompiled binaries is not a viable option for the developers environment.


A compiler suite (Visual Studio, Xcode, GCC, etc.) for your operating system is necessary. The following table lists the compilers that DREAM.3D is commonly compiled against.

Compiler Version Notes
Visual Studio 2013 Pro & Express/Community SP4 64 bit builds
Xcode 7.x (or Greater) (OS X Version 10.10, 10.11) 64 bit Intel Only
GCC 4.7.x or Clang (Ubuntu 14.04) 64 bit Intel Only

Note for MinGW/MSys/Cygwin

Due to incompatibilities of HDF5, compiling DREAM.3D using these environments is not supported. Visual Studio Community Edition 2013 is a freely available alternative with no restrictions on use.

DREAM.3D SDK Availability - PLEASE USE this Option

The DREAM.3D developers keep a downloadable DREAM3D_SDK for Visual Studio 2013 that contains 64 bit builds of ALL the dependent libraries and applications except for Qt 5 and ITK. The DREAM3D_SDK can be downloaded here.

The developer is strongly urged to utilize the available SDK as everything is included except a git install. Unless the developer has a special need to compile everything, it is best to use the precompiled SDK.

External Dependencies (Recommended Order of Installation)

Package Minimum Version Download Location
Git 2.8.x
CMake 3.5.1
Doxygen 1.8.11
HDF5 1.8.16
Boost 1.60.0
Eigen 3.2.8 Eigen Home Page
Intel Threading Building Blocks tbb44_20151115oss
Qt 5.6.0 5.6.0 (Qt 4.x will NOT work) The developer should obtain a precompiled package from and install that version rather than trying to compile Qt itself. Visual Studio uses should get Qt 5.6.0 at the minimum.
Qwt 6.1.2 Obtain from
ITK 4.9.1 4.9.1 is the earliest version compatible with HDF5 1.8.16

Setting Up the Environment

The developer is urged to keep two distinct folder hierarchies on their computer. The first is a folder that contains all the source codes to all the various libraries and DREAM.3D itself. Let's call this Workspace. The second is a folder where the developer will INSTALL all the libraries that they will compile. Let's call this the DREAM3D_SDK. The general flow is to download the source into the Workspace directory, configure it using CMake, build it and then install the libraries into the DREAM3D_SDK folder. The single exception to this is Qt on Windows. For this very specific case, build Qt in its final installation location; once Qt is built on the Windows platforms it CAN NOT be moved to another location. Let's look at an example on Windows:

Our Workspace is location at


Our DREAM3D_SDK is located at


With this environment setup, proceed to download and install git, CMake and Doxygen into the DREAM3D_SDK directory. Then proceed to download, build and install the rest of the dependent libraries.

CMake 3.8

CMake Download Link

Download CMake for your system. Unpack and drop the folder into the DREAM3D_SDK folder.

Linux Notes

The default packages are usually not new enough from the package maintainers and you will need to download the prebuilt binaries for linux.

DOxygen 1.8.11

Doxygen Download Link

Download Doxygen for your system. Unpack and drop the folder into the DREAM3D_SDK folder.

OS X Notes

On OS X systems the should be placed into /Applications instead of the DREAM3D_SDK folder.

Linux Notes

Use distributions package manager (apt-get on Ubuntu or yum on Red Hat systems) to install DOxygen.

HDF5 1.8.16

HDF5 Download link

Extract the archive to your Workspace location. Then using a terminal (for Linux & OS X) or CMake-GUI (for Windows) configure HDF5 to build using your system tools.

Windows Notes

Use CMake to configure HDF5 for building with Visual Studio. The developer should select the Visual Studio 12 2015 Win64 generator type when configuring the build. This will build both Debug and Release from the same Visual Studio solution.

OS X & Linux Notes

Use the following sequence of terminal commands to configure and build both a Debug and Release version of HDF5 1.8.16

[user] $ tar -xvzf hdf5-1.8.16.tar.gz
[user] $ cd hdf5-1.8.16 && mkdir Debug && cd Debug
[user] $ cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug  -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/Users/Shared/DREAM3D_SDK/hdf5-1.8.16-Debug ../
[user] $ make -j
[user] $ make install
[user] $ cd ../
[user] $ mkdir Release && cd Release
[user] $ cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release  -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/Users/Shared/DREAM3D_SDK/hdf5-1.8.16-Release ../
[user] $ make -j
[user] $ make install

With the introduction of proper CMakeConfig support into HDF5 1.8.14 there now exists the need to build and install Debug and Release libraries into separate installation locations. The recommended way to now build HDF5 on OS X is to add a "-Debug" or "-Release" to the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX for each build (depending on the CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE variable).

This setup becomes critically important when the using the ITK library in DREAM.3D. This procedure ensures that a consistent HDF5 library is linked into the Plugin and DREAM.3D.

Building Eigen 3.2.9


[user] $ tar -xvzf eigen-eigen*.tar.gz
[user] $ cd eigen-eigen-bdd17ee3b1b3
[user] $ mkdir Build && cd Build
[user] $ cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/Users/Shared/DREAM3D_SDK/eigen-3.2.8 ../
[user] $ make install

Windows with Visual Studio and Ninja

If you use Ninja to configure and build Eigen there are a few additional steps. this is what worked for me.

  • path\to\eigen-3.2.9\zRel> cmake -G Ninja -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=C:/DREAM3D_SDK/Eigen-3.2.9 -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=OFF -DBUILD_TESTING=OFF ../
  • Then create an empty file called "DartConfiguration.tcl" in the build directory.
  • Run the CMake command again
  • ninja install

Repeat the process for a Debug build.

Threading Building Blocks

Windows Notes

Download TBB precompiled binaries for Visual Studio. Extract the .zip file into the DREAM3D_SDK directory. You should end up with the path DREAM3D_SDK/tbb44_20151115oss/ if you did this correctly.

OS X Notes

Within the DREAM3D/Support/Scripts/OSX_Build_Scripts directory is a shell script called "". This script should be used to build TBB for OS X.

Linux Notes

Qt 5.6.x

Download Qt from One can usually download and install the "Qt SDK" which will have everything you need.

Install Qt into C:/DREAM3D_SDK/Qt5.6.0 (Windows) /Users/Shared/DREAM3D_SDK/Qt5.6.0 (OS X) or /opt/DREAM3D_SDK/Qt5.6.0 (Linux).

Windows Visual Studio Users The Qt-Project provides pre-built binaries for Qt for Visual Studio (VS) BUT they are ONLY 64 bit and they are ONLY for Visual Studio 2013 and ONLY for a specific version of Visual Studio 2015. If your version of Visual Studio does NOT match theirs, down to the exact security patches and service packs you will get errors due to mismatched "manifests", C/C++ runtime DLL issues and a few other things.

Building Qwt 6.1.3

Build Qwt 6.1.3 which is the first version to be compatible with Qt 5.6.0

  • Download version Qwt 6.1.2 for Qt 5.6 compatibility
  • Modify the following files:

Edit qwt-6.1.3/src/

This is only for OS X to build a proper framework.

replace the following line:

CONFIG += lib_bundle

with this:

CONFIG += lib_bundle
QMAKE_LFLAGS_SONAME  *= -install_name $${QWT_INSTALL_PREFIX}/lib/qwt.framework/Versions/6/qwt

This will set correctly the full path to the framework that is built. If this is NOT performed then the final DREAM.3D packaging will not work correctly.

Edit qwt-6.1.3/qwtconfig.pri

replace the following line:

QWT_INSTALL_PREFIX    = /usr/local/qwt-$$QWT_VERSION

with this (OS X):


or this (Windows):


Adjust the path to place Qwt where all the other DREAM3D library dependencies are at.


Use qmake from the Qt 5.4 distribution from the command line with the following commands executed from inside the qwt-6.1.3 directory


and then for OS X:

make install

For Windows it is (From a Visual Studio X64 command prompt)

nmake install

Create DREAM3D_SDK.cmake Configuration File

The developer now needs to create a basic cmake file that describes the locations of all the various libraries that are needed by DREAM.3D. The contents of the file should be as follows, with the paths adjusted appropriately for your operating system. Note the file can technically go any where on the file system. DREAM.3D developers typically keep the file in the DREAM3D_SDK folder.

  # This is the DREAM3D_SDK File. This file contains all the paths to the dependent libraries.
  # This was generated for Version 6.3 Development of DREAM.3D. This SDK has C++11 Support ENABLED
    message(STATUS "*******************************************************")
    message(STATUS "* DREAM.3D First Configuration Run                    *")
    message(STATUS "* DREAM3D_SDK Loading from ${CMAKE_CURRENT_LIST_DIR}  *")
    message(STATUS "*******************************************************")
    set(CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS "-stdlib=libc++ -std=c++11 -Wmost -Wno-four-char-constants -Wno-unknown-pragmas -mfpmath=sse" CACHE STRING "" FORCE)
    # Set our Deployment Target to match Qt
    set(CMAKE_OSX_SYSROOT "/Applications/" CACHE STRING "" FORCE)


  # These settings are specific to DREAM3D. DREAM3D needs these variables to
  # configure properly.

      set(BUILD_TYPE "Release" CACHE STRING "" FORCE)

  message(STATUS "The Current Build type being used is ${BUILD_TYPE}")

  set(DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT "/Users/Shared/DREAM3D_SDK")

  # Qt 5.6.0 Library
  set(Qt5_DIR "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/Qt5.6.0/5.6/clang_64/lib/cmake/Qt5" CACHE PATH "")

  # Protocol Buffers For TCP/IP network message handling
  set(Protobuf_DIR "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/protocol_buffers_2.6.1")

  # Boost Library
  set(BOOST_ROOT "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/boost-1.60.0" CACHE PATH "")

  # HDF5 Library
  set(HDF5_INSTALL "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/hdf5-1.8.16-${BUILD_TYPE}")
  set(HDF5_DIR "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/hdf5-1.8.16-${BUILD_TYPE}/share/cmake")

  # Eigen Library

  # Intel Threading Building Blocks Library
  set(TBB_INSTALL_DIR  "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/tbb44_20151115oss" CACHE PATH "")
  set(TBB_ARCH_TYPE "intel64" CACHE STRING "")

  # ITK ( For Image Processing Plugin

  # Qwt 6.1.2 Library
  set(QWT_INSTALL "${DREAM3D_SDK_ROOT}/qwt-6.1.2" CACHE PATH "")

  # Update CMake Module Path with additional paths in order to better find the libraries.

# Only Run this the first time when configuring DREAM.3D. After that the values
# are cached properly and the user can add additional plugins through the normal
# CMake GUI or CCMake programs.

set (MyPlugins     

 # Loop on each plugin and generate a semi-colon separated list of values
 foreach(plugin ${MyPlugins})
   list(APPEND MyPluginList "${plugin}")

 list(LENGTH MyPluginList LIST_LENGTH)
   list(SORT MyPluginList)


 set(DREAM3D_FIRST_CONFIGURE "ON" CACHE STRING "Determines if DREAM3D has already been configured")

At this point the developer should be ready to compile DREAM.3D.