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.



11 12 2010

Yesterday i found randomly this software called pixelmator. Iam not a big fun of photo editor softwares, i mean i use thenif i really need t, but this one has a couple of advantages. First of all it is compatible with quartz composer, lets say with the ´image unites´ and ´qtz´ files formatted in the right way. Thats an interesting point for me. In the last couple of months i produced a lot of digital pictures with quartz composer, now i know how to export a higher resolution image, but this solution is even better, for example the possibility to select just a part of the picture and to modify it.


let me explain how it worked for me:

1. first lets create a whatever you want filter,it can be a simple process or you can involve a more complex tool. The most important thing is to have an image input and an image output. So for this case it is better to use the ´image filter´ template when you start QC. You will see the two required nodes (image input, image output). If you use something complex (for example 3d object) the you need to put the renderer in an ´Render in Image´ node.

2. if everything is fine, and both of the required image nodes connected, then you will see that idiot yellow flower as a test picture within the process of your filter. If you want to define the category of your filter, then go to ´editor´ menu in QC and then choose the ´edit protocol conformance´.Save your composition somewhere, doesnt matter where, because you have to move anyway. The destination folder is just accessible by copying files, no direct save.

3. The destination folder is in your ´system-library-composition´. Copy the stuff there, and start the ´pixelmator´. The filter will be on the right place.

4. if you have something what is moving, but you want to use a non moving filter, then the solution should be to make an external timebase.

5. All parameter can be published, just as in VDMX.

here are my first trials (both are from PXN_filter stuff):

other advantages: cheaper then photoshop, and as i´ve seen with almost the same power. I like the style of the interface. And a lot of new file formats.

and many more, but i would like to talk about two very (glitch) friendly file formats:

1. ´WebP´ image is a smaller file but working very well with databending, the result is a kind of datamoshed image. Good tolerance.

this picture is a photo with extreme strong colors, exported as ´WebP´, made a strong databend, then read back to pixelmator, and exported as a tiff.

2. DCX file format, what is  a ZSoft (?) IPM PC (??) multi-page Paintbrush image. Interesting, because after a light databend it looses a part of the background.

thats it.