iVisualize 1.0 freeware released; iTunes visualizations via Mac OS X Tiger’s Quartz Composer

With Mac OS X Tiger, Apple introduced a convenient way to create your own graphical effects: The Quartz Composer. Sadly, by default, these could only be used as screen saver or run in Quicktime. With iVisualize (freeware, Universal) it is finally possible to run these in iTunes, have them react to your music and display song information. iVisualize comes with four visualizations and you can download more (here) or create your own.

The visualizations iVisualize is shipped with are all custom made:
• Drift (default) from Jim McKay http://www.pidog.com – Calm visualization that runs fast on every machine and has been made by Jim who was totally new to Quartz Composer and so can you
• BeComposed from Édouard Puginier http://www.tazintosh.com – An elegant calm visualization featuring a most thing iVisualize has to offer
• Cities of the future 2.0 from Roger Bolton http://www.eskatonia.com – Even though this looks like the glooming New York Skyline of 2050 it still is your music
• iVestream from PCheese http://www.pcheese.net – PCheese extended his already famous SoundStream to a real iVisualization plugin

More info and download link here.

More info about Quartz Composer from MacDevCenter here.

From Apple:

Quartz Composer is a development tool provided with Mac OS X v10.4 for processing and rendering graphical data. Its visual programming environment is suited for:
• Developing graphics processing modules without writing a single line of code
• Exploring the visual technologies available in Mac OS X without needing to learn the application programming interface (API) for that technology

Quartz Composer brings together a rich set of graphical and nongraphical technologies, including Quartz 2D, Core Image, Core Video, OpenGL, QuickTime, MIDI System Services, and Real Simple Syndication (RSS), which is a lightweight XML format. You use Quartz Composer to create compositions, which are graphical programs. Compositions can run autonomously, or you can incorporate them into an application. You can play back and interact with a composition from within an application by using a very straightforward runtime API or without any code at all by using a QCView, which is provided on the Quartz Composer palette in Interface Builder. Quartz Composer compositions are fully compliant with the Cocoa controller layer and key-value bindings, allowing you to combine Interface Builder and Quartz Composer to rapidly develop data-driven visualizations.

The Quartz Composer application is located in: /Developer/Applications/Graphics Tools/

More info here.

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  1. “Sadly, by default, these could only be used as screen saver or run in Quicktime.”

    Not entirely true. You can make a Quartz Composition, save it as a Quartz Composition file and then run it in Keynote. For example, I made one for a lecture that I recently gave. The Quartz Composition was the first slide of my Keynote file. I gave it a blue background with the title of the lecture in an “orangish” colored font and the topics that were going to be covered in the lecture were scrolling up and down in the background across the slide. The animation (ie. the moving words in the background) constantly loops itself so you can leave it on that first slide until you’re ready to start talking to the audience. I used the new opening door transition in Keynote 3 to lead into the second slide and to start the lecture.

    The room began to stink as nearly everyone shit themselves with what I had done with a “PowerPoint” presentation. Keynote – a great way to promote the Macintosh platform!

  2. “How do you change the active visualisation?”

    You need to open the file in Quartz Composer and then you can alter the file. The learning curve is fairly steep, but I figured out a lot of it in one afternoon.

  3. Thought I’d give it a shot … my eyes like this!

    My head did, too, until I turned on Activity Monitor. Visualization (both standard and iVisualize) sucks up half to 90% of the cycles of one of my 2.3 GHz processors!

    Think I’ll reserve this (very nice) software for party use.

  4. Bill: “How do you change the active visualisation?”

    Cubert: “You need to open the file in Quartz Composer and then …”

    I think he meant the more basic “how do you get this to work?”. The answer is right there in the ReadMe: “Choose “iVisualize” from the “Visualizer” menu and click the flower in the lower right to start the visualization. Finally click the option button in the upper right to choose the freshly installed visualization composition.”

    BTW: the link in the article takes you to a page that offers additional display choices. The software is at:

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