Van Gogh Flow


Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh Flow is a small program written for Windows 10-based computers which overlays your display with semi-transparent visualizations while you work.

The visualizations are pulled from YouTube and are user-configurable.

In addition to just being fun and beautiful, Van Go Flow is designed to help you be more creative by gently inducing connected flow states.

Modulating Your Thinking Style

For another way to think about the purpose of this software, imagine Van Gogh Flow being like “volume keys” that let you modulate between focused mode thinking and diffuse mode thinking.

Image result for focused mode diffuse mode

Update: Linux Port Available!

Note: this software is also available on Linux (GTK-3), available in source form (only) on GitHub:

Example Usage:

The following video shows an example of the type of beautiful visualizations that you can make with this software. (It features me reciting a poem by my favorite author Rumi.)

Usage (Win64)

This program uses the Win32 API function RegisterHotKey( ) to setup system-wide hotkeys:

  • control+alt+n – next video
  • control+alt+p – previous video
  • control+alt+d – decrease opacity (more focus)
  • control+alt+i – increase opacity (more diffuse)

Implementation Notes

Van Go Flow is a simple program implemented in C# using Visual Studio 2019. The program takes advantage of the compositing window manager present in recent versions of Microsoft Windows. It uses the cefSharp wrapper around the amazing Chromium Embedded Framework to render the YouTube videos. (The youtube videos themselves were chosen by me because I found them beautiful, but I did not create them.)

This software targets (requires) version 4.7.2 of the .NET framework, and has only been tested on 64 bit versions of Windows 10. (It is possible it works on other versions of Windows, but who knows?)

Future Development

For the next version, I would like to add the ability to use real time visualizations.

Note that all development work occurs on GitHub. If you would like to contribute, please submit a pull request.


I am not sure if the binary installer for this project works correctly. It is built with NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) but doesn’t seem to work right on the one computer I tried it on.

If somebody can help with this, please let me know.


Modern programming (and life in general) is a matter of standing on the shoulders of giants.

It is my hope that this simple offering can help others find enhanced creativity to utilize the treasures offered by the vistas we can now survey.

Next Steps