Percussa micro super signal processor

My adventures with Quartz Composer, the free development tool that ships with Mac OS X Tiger, continue.


What it does: QC is another visual development tool with a patching interface so you can create without coding. It’s a perfect visualization/VJ tool for musicians, thanks to handy audio and MIDI inputs: it’s easy to link the eye candy to your music. And eye candy aplenty you’ll have, thanks to QC’s rich, friendly support for OS X Core Image trickery. You can play your compositions from QC, save them as QuickTime files (perfect for use with Max/MSP Jitter and the like), or even turn them into full-fledged Mac applications via Xcode (even without writing a line of code). (See our previous report.


What it can’t do: With no MIDI or audio output, this is not a replacement for tools like Pure Data and Max/MSP. But if you’ve got two machines, you can run visuals with the QC Mac and audio on the other computer. (Read more for a long list of resources)

Where to learn it: There’s nothing like a deadline to force you to learn a piece of software fast, and that’s what I’m up to at the moment. So while I work on more detailed tutorials and coverage of QC, here are some of the links I’ve been using:

QC programming guide from Apple: Good starter tutorials, including Xcode info

Also from Apple: sample code, Q&A, tech notes

Quartzcomposer-dev mailing list: Vital — most discussion happens here!

Japanese-language tutorial: I know we have Japanese readers here, so have fun; even the rest of you will find the English-language screenshots useful)

QuartzCompositions.com: Discussion groups (light), downloads (cool)


QuartzComps: Blog is inactive, but the largest download library, including some handy clips


Quartonian: An evolving, full-featured VJ app built in QC (And building a VJ app in QC ain’t easy!) The developer, Roger, also maintains:

Quartz Composer for VJs: Resource page


QC Samples by Futurismo Zugakousaku Beautiful work, many with downloadable source


Sam Kass Motion work: Lots of live-input video filters and compositions in QC; nifty Core Image tricks


How to make an analog clock screen saver

As I learned during my VJ Day festivities last month, a lot of you readers are doing visualizations and VJing with your music. Anyone else playing with QC? Resources I missed? Tips? Tricks? Problems? Give us a holler, or say something on the dev list; I’ll read it there, too!