from QuartzComposer to Pixelmator (short novel)

2 04 2012

Requested tutorial: how to use qtz files in pixelmator and export as a high resolution image.


(custom dither plugin made in qc and rendered in pixelmator, original size is 4000×3000 pixels)


step 1.: make a composition

-first we need to understand something, pixelmator will use the ‘image filter’ protocol. The image filter has a straight format, if we open quartz composer and we choose ‘new from template’ then we can choose the ‘image filter’. Lets do it and lets make some observations. There are two required nodes image in and image out. If we try to connect something to the input node we will loose the protocol and the same happens if we try to put any renderer, on this level (sprite, cube, particle etc.). If we want to use renderers we need to use a little trick. But before that lets take a look inside in the macro patch (in the default project called ‘process the image’. The process is going inside but still there is no renderers in the sample file.

Lets put a ‘render in image’ now, and inside in the ‘render in image’ lets place a cube (i like cubes), but first a clear (this is not a glitch tutorial sorry). I want to go further and i will use a lightning patch as well. Lets use some of the parameters, i make splitter for the cube size, for the cube color and for the light positions as well.


now we have to connect our ‘render in image’ and give a fix size as well. For the size i would say lets use an ‘image dimension’ connected to the incoming image. The sample image what we have now is not a high resolution one (640×480) so our cube not will be so smooth, but doesnt matter right now. In several cases if we would like to work with custom aspects, then its better to use a ‘crop’ patch.

lets make the final tuning at the highest level. and setup the parameters minimum and maximum values.

and save it somewhere. As long we cannot save directly to the folder what pixelmator (and isadora as well) is using we have to copy the qtz file manually.

step 2.: copying and starting with pixelmator.

our destination folder is the /System/Library/Compositions , lets copy the composition there. If there is another cube.qtz dont worry we just need to rename our project .

Lets start our pixelmator, and make a new file then go to filter-quartz composer and somewhere down we can find our quartz composer file-filter.


some more additions:

how to use categories for our filter in quartz composer: edit- ‘edit filter conformance’ and use a subcategory. this option is sometimes really handy.

if something wasn’t that clear, please write a comment and i will try to be more clear.