Quartz Composer, the free Mac developer and live visual tool, can be daunting to beginners. Its modular synthesis approach to manipulating live visuals is powerful, but is open-ended enough that it can be hard to know where to begin. And some of its real power — like the ability to create highly-optimized custom image and video processing that runs on your graphics card — is largely undocumented.

Fortunately, over a year after QC’s release as part of OS X 10.4, a growing community of users has been sharing its secrets. If you want to follow along with some of my unstructured notes for the class I’m teaching at Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward gallery, please come visit our blog and be an honorary, “out-of-Brooklyn” student:

Quartz Composer Journal

I’ll have more structured resources, and eventually a full tutorial, here on Create Digital Motion soon. In the meantime, though, you can enjoy Windell’s video feedback tutorial, which unlocks some of the mysteries of the Core Image Accumulator — and makes a Mac-loving cat a star. And let us know if you have example QC patches — or questions/problems, for that matter.