Quartz Composer MIDI visualization from Greg Lorincz on Vimeo.

Sometimes the first step is the toughest. So here, in just 60 seconds, is the simplest possible route to visualizing music by routing MIDI into Quartz Composer. For those of you just joining us, that’s the free modular patching environment for visuals that comes with Mac OS X. Here, the example uses Ableton Live, but any music app could work.

Greg Lorincz put together this video, and explains:

This is a simple (very simple) tutorial to visualize MIDI note and control messages from a sequencer (ableton live), in Quartz Composer (Snow Leopard, however it works in the old QC as well). Quartz Composer is a free, developer application for animation, 3D, visualization and graphics.

I do like the idea – maybe we could see what other skills could be demonstrated in 60 seconds. (I can definitely get this rolling in Processing in 60 seconds, but I type fast — and watching someone type code is slightly less interesting.)

  • Greg Lorincz

    I did it in Processing as well, might send you guys a Processing tutorial. Recently wrote a sketch that handles sensor values from Arduino, visualises them and scales them to 0-127 and converts them to MIDI control change values. My heart is always with the beautiful Processing… however Quartz composer is sooo simple and handy that it would be a shame not to learn it and use it. An other video is on the way about how to trigger video playback with MIDI notes. By the way, does anyone know how to scale MIDI values in QC to change the loop-start or loop-length of a movie player?

  • Greg Lorincz

    Ah, btw, bless Quicktime in Snow Leopard, it features screen capture. If you guys ever tried to find free-screen capture applications for mac (non existent) or tried to to the job with demo-versions, you'll appreciate it. Peace and harmony.

  • Yep, indeed — it's way easier to route the output of windows into QC than anything else I've seen on any OS.

  • Its not a race .. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Heheh… yeah, *but* figuring out how to reduce what you're doing to fit it in a smaller space, that is a terrific goal, speaking as someone spending a lot of time trying to do that when teaching!

  • there should definetely exist more documentation on quartz composer.. when we sometimes see simples patches made with kineme 3d and another libraries that generate astonishing visual stuff, we start to think that it is really a very powerful and easy to use tool, there should be more documentation I guess. Apple should care about documenting it aswell as they document Logic, for an instance, or as cycling 74 documents Max, which I actually think to be one of the best examples out there in terms of commercial software documentation (and which is one of the biggest advantages of max in relation to pure data, although it's always relative – we are talking about different kinds of communities). I haven't tried QC for osx.6 but in osx.5 things were not very pretty at this point

  • Greg Lorincz

    Agree, hence the vid. Just learning QC… I found it a bit strange, Apple created this amazing tool and then left the users in the darkness. I'm still struggling with basic things.

  • dietapete

    "done in 60 seconds" would really be a great tutorial series.

  • deb

    thanks so much! I had to beat my head against a wall forever to work out some of this stuff. For some reason the notes sent from ableton were read as 2 octaves lower by QC, even when I messed with the octaves (this is 10.5). Or maybe it was the other way around. Hmm…obviously I haven't looked into it for a while, mostly because of lingering trauma. It's great to have stuff like this out there—too bad, Apple, you gotta get with it on the documentation front.

  • Done in 60 Seconds — yep, I think we have a new series idea!

    Enjoy! And do let us know what you create with this… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • mm, get a BlueScrrenOfDeath in 60 secs, that would be nice!

  • ligria

    I disagree with "..and watching someone type code is slightly less interesting". I like to see people code. ๐Ÿ™‚ do it!