Install PIL in a virtualenv on Mac OSX Lion

I work on a Mac but prefer to use Linux VMs (especially with Vagrant) for my development environment. Still, some things are small enough to not warrant a VM. Sometimes you just want to automate a process that's better done on OSX. In this case I wanted to automate some image manipulation with PIL.

There's several 'how to's around and stackoverflow answers, but they all seem to want you to install extra dependancies or use MacPorts or Brew's Python. For this case I want to use the Python 2.7 that comes with Lion and install PIL inside a virtualenv. I also want to use Brew at least for the things that aren't already installed with Lion.

Installing PIL on mac osx with virtualenv, homebrew and pip gets you almost there but doesn't include freetype support. So I adapted it a bit. Here's what I ended up with:

  1. Activate your virtual environment (I use virtualenvwrapper):

    workon default
  2. Install jpeg libs with brew:

    brew install jpeg
  3. Download the PIL source with pip, but don't install yet:

    pip install --upgrade --no-install PIL
  4. Edit PIL's

    vi $VIRTUAL_ENV/build/PIL/

    JPEG_ROOT = '/usr/local/Cellar/jpeg/8c/'
    FREETYPE_ROOT = libinclude('/usr/X11')
  6. Build:

    pip install --upgrade PIL

You should now have a complete install of PIL ready to go.