Composition Builder

Mac OS X has a number of APIs to create stunning real-time graphics. There is OpenGL, Core Video and Core Image to name some of them. These APIs help you to get the most out of todays machines and graphics cards.

With Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Apple introduced the Quartz Composer technology.

Wikipedia says about Quartz Composer:

Quartz Composer is a node based visual programming language provided as part of the Xcode development environment in Mac OS X v10.4 “Tiger” for processing and rendering graphical data.

With Quartz Composer one can create incredible real-time graphics without the burden to learn all those graphics APIs. You arrange and connect elements with your mouse - it’s visual programming. Another bonus of Quartz Composer is the fact that they run on any mac without the need to install software.

Quartz Composer Complexity

But where there is light there is shadow.

Quartz Composition represents a very low layer over the mentioned graphic APIs. The good thing about that is that you could build nearly everything at this layer. The bad thing is that it becomes incredibly complex if you want to do more than just showing some text on the screen. Debugging or finding a missing connection can cost you a lot of time.

If you haven’t seen some complex Quartz Compositions yet, download some from Quartz

Simple things can become very complex in Quartz Composer. Doing a simple movement for some text in Quartz Composer can be very tricky.

Composition Builder

Composition Builder

Let’s think about this. Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that makes it possible to do easy things in an easy way but allows you to do complex things if it is needed?

Composition Builder tries to achieve this goal. Instead of connecting low level elements we have built a WYSIWYG editor to create Quartz Compositions.

Composition Builder supports a number of core elements like Text, Gradients, Movies, Images, Video Input, Date and Time, RSS feeds.

Arrange the individual elements in the editor, set the size and the opacity. It’s easy to define animations for elements as well. When finished you can export your composition as a fully compatible Quartz Composer file.

An extension mechanism allows the integration of Quartz Compositions as elements inside the Composition Builder. You define which parameters of your Quartz Composition can be manipulated within the Composition Builder. Composition Builder automatically provides an inspector to edit these parameters.

It’s the beginning - not the end

Composition Builder is only at the beginning. Today Composition Builder is already used by a number of TV stations to design their real-time graphics. We added some special features for this clientele.

Besides that we think that the power of Quartz Composer combined with the ease of use of Composition Builder has a lot more potential. We a have a long list of features for upcoming releases.

We are eager to hear from you and to get your feedback, comments, and to discuss ideas. So if you want to get a feeling about the possibilities of Composition Builder please give it a try. Download the Demo Version of Composition Builder .

To get in contact with us, please leave a comment here, or send an email to martin at this domain.

3 Responses to “Composition Builder”

  1. Keith Pops Says:

    This is an amazing idea for an interface. It looks to take out a lot of grunt work I’m having with using text in Quartz Composer. Thanks a lot.

  2. Darnell Peacock Says:

    Where is the downloadable version of Composition Builder????

  3. martin Says:

    Please contact the guys at ToolsOnAir to get a demo version. They removed the download section from their website. Email to