Quartonian is one of those jaw-dropping pieces of software that does something so insanely wonderful, it’s almost entirely implausible that anyone will ever have any use for it. I stumbled across it while looking for video mixing software last year, but this is video mixing in the ‘club’ sense rather than the ‘outside broadcast’ sense I needed. It’s still startlingly wonderful, though – and the latest VSM stills manipulation version is getting close to being usable by mere mortals.

While you’re at it, though, do muck about with Quartz Composer itself, from the Developer CD that comes with OS X v10.4. A whole new world of crazy; see Sam Kass’s blog for examples. You can do similar stuff (with far more control) using something like Max/MSP, but Quartz Composer is (a.) free, (b.) easier and (c.) runs on your graphics card, so is stupidly fast until it blows up in your face.

Sorry, kids, but this stuff really is Mac-only. In fact, it’s all Tiger-only, and you need a fairly kick-arse video card for it to work properly. Or, indeed, at all. My desktop Power Mac throws up its digital hands in despair and refuses to play, but my PowerBook has a decent go at it so long as I remember to close a whole bunch of other stuff first.

Now if only I could work out what to do with it…


  1. A really good tip for getting the most out of Quartz Composer; create a user account just for doing QC … your main account gets clogged up with all sorts of memory hogging stuff – which doesn’t matter badly normally, but does matter a lot when using big compositions.

  2. hey that quote about quartonian is great, can I put it on my website?
    however I have to tell you several people do actually use it…
    I use it for my live performances and I’ve been emailed by a few others out there that use it as well…..
    and yes a future version of quartonian mixer will have a “proper” interface like vsm does… slowly slowly…

  3. Roger – you’re more than welcome to quote whichever bit you wish on your site, of course. And I’m only joking about it being useless; it’s a terrific piece of software, and I pretty much wish it solved a problem I have. If you see what I mean. I’ll be watching it closely, anyway – good luck with it!

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