Quartz Composer Plug Ins

electronicwhisper edited this page Jan 13, 2012 · 10 revisions

Quartz Composer supports custom-made patches and there's a community of independent developers adding exciting functionality to QC.

Plug-In Installation

To install plug-ins that you download, you'll want to put the .plugin file into:

/Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Plug-Ins

If this folder doesn't exist, create it.

Note however that plug-ins from Kineme want to live in:

/Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches

List of Plug-Ins

If you find any additional plug-ins, or discover something about these plug-ins, please edit this page! (You'll need to be logged in to github to make changes.)


Syphon is a technology that allows Mac OS X applications to share video frames in real-time with each other. Think of it as a protocol like OSC but instead of sharing small bits of data, sharing full images.

Various applications implement Syphon (see the list on the right hand side of the Syphon website). That is, they have the capability to send and/or receive images.

To get started using Syphon with QC, download the QC Syphon Plug-In.

To test things, grab the Simple Server/Client. I also recommend the Syphon Video Recorder which allows you to record Syphon frames as a movie file (it can do HD video!).

Kinect: Tryplex Toolkit

To get started tracking skeleton data on the Kinect, I recommend the Tryplex toolkit which comes bundled with everything you need. Follow the installation instructions for Synapse tracking to get started.

Plug-Ins from Kineme

Kineme has a ton of plug-ins. Note that you need to put them in /Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches.

Make an account on their site and you'll get access to their beta plug-ins as well, including Serial IO (for communicating with Arduino, etc).

Kineme also sells products for use with QC. QuartzCrystal ($26) lets you offline render QC compositions to movie files. QuartzBuilder ($25) lets you package QC compositions as .app's.

Plug-Ins from Vade

See the list on the right side of Vade's website.

Screen Capture is particularly useful for getting real-time images out of applications which don't support Syphon (only works on Snow Leopard currently).

Also, Vade's Open Kinect plug-in is currently unlisted on his website but I find it useful for getting Kinect depth data if I don't need skeleton tracking. More info on the Kineme forum.

Plug-Ins from Tom / bangnoise

See the list on the right side of Tom's website.

I particularly like datamosh (grab the beta, it has more features). Note that this plug-in requires QC be run in 32-bit mode. To set QC in 32-bit mode, find the application, Developer/Applications/Quartz Composer.app, do Get Info (⌘I), and check "Open in 32-bit mode".


qcOSC by hexler is a more reliable OSC receiver than the one that comes with QC. This comes bundled with Tryplex Toolkit.

Plug-Ins from CoGe

CoGe is a VJ software but they also make several useful QC Plug-Ins including a beat detector and web browser among others.

Plug-Ins from Mirek

Mirek's github page has several QC plug-ins including one for websockets (you could combine this with node.js to make your patch controllable from the web). Mirek runs quartzcomposer.com which lists more QC plug-ins.

Open Emu

Open Emu is a console game emulator that supports NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, etc. It has a QC plug-in which lets you emulate these games within QC, sending input in and getting out an image. In addition the NES emulator has some extra inputs that let you glitch out the game in various ways.

openFrameworks / Quartz Composer bridge

ofxQCPlugin lets you write QC plug-ins using openFrameworks. Useful for post-processing your existing oF projects, or writing new plug-ins. (Haven't tried. -Toby)

Plug-Ins by 1024

1024 has a Box2D physics engine plug-in and some Kinect and computer vision plug-ins among others. (Haven't tried. -Toby)

Plug-Ins by Google

Plug-ins for interacting with the ambient light sensor and motion sensor built in to the MacBook Pro. (Haven't tried. -Toby)

Plug-Ins by Climb App

Climb App has an extra image window plug-in (useful for live patching situations?) and QC importers for data formats (CSV, JSON).

You can’t perform that action at this time.
You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session.
Press h to open a hovercard with more details.