VMD is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3-D graphics and built-in scripting. VMD supports computers running MacOS X, Unix, or Windows, is distributed free of charge, and includes source code.
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The Tachyon parallel ray tracer included with VMD has been updated with the ability to display molecules with ambient occlusion lighting. This lighting technique mimicks some of the effects that occur under conditions of omnidirectional diffuse illumination, e.g. outdoors on an overcast day. This lighting used in concert with traditional point source lights and directional lights to increase the perception of shape and depth in images of molecular structures, and decreases the deleterious effects of harsh shadows which otherwise occur with lighting based on a small number of direct light sources. This lighting model is particularly good at emulating the appearance of chalky materials, and can make molecular graphics more understandable, not to mention aesthetically appealing. A short tutorial is available on using these new lighting and shading features with VMD, along with a number of representative example images. .
Other Spotlights


Molecular representations
Molecular file formats
GPU-accelerated computing
Interactive molecular dynamics
Programs that use VMD
VMD research publications
How to cite VMD
VMD citation list, (12,743 as of May'14)


Download (all versions)
VMD 1.9.2 (MacOS X, Unix, Windows)
VMD 1.9.1 (MacOS X, Unix, Windows)
VMD plugin library
VMD script library
License, Copyright and Disclaimer

Documentation and Support

User and installation guides
Quick help
VMD-L mailing list
Bug List

News and Announcements

HPC's Future Lies in Remote Visualization
VMD 1.9.2 Released
Multilevel Summation Method for Electrostatic Force Evaluation, JCTC
Visualization of Energy Conversion Processes in a Light Harvesting Organelle at Atomic Detail, Winner SC'14 Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase
Petascale Tcl with NAMD, VMD, and Swift/T, HPTCDL'14
GPU-Accelerated Analysis and Visualization of Large Structures Solved by Molecular Dynamics Flexible Fitting, FD169, 2014.
Methodologies for the Analysis of Instantaneous Lipid Diffusion in MD Simulations of Large Membrane Systems, FD169, 2014.
GPU-accelerated molecular visualization on petascale supercomputing platforms, UltraVis'13
Early Experiences Scaling VMD Molecular Visualization and Analysis Jobs on Blue Waters, Proc. XSCALE, 2013.
Rapid parameterization of small molecules using ffTK, JCC, 2013.
Fast Visualization of Gaussian Density Surfaces for Molecular Dynamics and Particle System Trajectories, EuroVis 2012.
Immersive out-of-core visualization of large-size and long-timescale molecular dynamics trajectories, LNCS, 2011.
Past announcements


Gallery of Posters, Images, and Movies made with VMD
VMD running in the NanoDome at Temple University


VMD User Survey Results
VMD development status and pre-release test downloads
CVS source code access
VMD Programmer's documentation