Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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202 words on

I’m still enjoying the new MacBook, particularly the large screen and its surprising speed. I’m also starting to see a few quirky or what may be carelessnesses in the transition between the different systems. I can’t really pin down what causes the problem – whether it’s the processor change or the non-graphics card in the MacBook – but I see Quartz Composer compositions being rendered differently on the new computer than they were on the old. That’s not good at all.

I ran into this when using Sandvox which actually uses the cool Quartz Composer compositions for real. It will replace text you enter by graphics with spiffy effects in some designs. That looks both cool and, thanks to Quartz Composer, is quite easy to implement for the designers. But unfortunately many compositions just look blurry on the MacBook.

A site I made for a friend looked like this on the iBook:

Pink, bubbly and crystal clear graphic

And on the MacBook it has become this blurry mess:

Pink, bubbly and blurry graphic

I hope this gets sorted out very soon. I’ve seen a number of inconsistencies in Quartz Composer’s rendering in the last year. And if they aren’t removed, it means that the cool technology just can’t be used for anything serious.

June 18, 2006, 12:54

Tagged as Mac OS X.


Comment by Manjit Bedi: User icon

Hi there.

I am curious to know how you have been using QC’s with Sandvox. Are you including them in movie pagelets?

I have been quite curious to attempt to make some sections of my web-site use QC’s but then I would need to possibly be careful with the design and what version of the OS people are using as the QC’s only work with os 10.4 and up.



June 19, 2006, 1:40

Comment by ssp: User icon

Just to be clear here: I don’t use QC in Sandvox directly. But under the hood Sandvox uses QC to generate the styled text that is used in some designs (e.g. Bubblebath, Open All Night, …).

I doubt that it makes sense to include QC stuff via QuickTime as I suppose that only works when being displayed on a Mac, so it’s very limited in its usefulness.

June 19, 2006, 2:25

Comment by Dan Wood: User icon

Thanks, Sven, for solving a mystery which just came up (on the “sandvox” group at Yahoo). I have been seeing a number of problems with Quartz (in the form of Core Image and now this Quartz Composer) with the newer MacBooks. I am hoping to spend a day at Apple with various new machines to isolate the problems and report them properly to Apple.

June 19, 2006, 6:20

Comment by ssp: User icon

Let’s hope they solve this soon. I filed a bug report just to be on the safe side (#4590945).

June 19, 2006, 8:56

Comment by rentzsch: User icon

It’s may be less of an issue with the processor than the graphics card. The upside to handing rendering chores off to dedicated graphics hardware is speed. The downside is that different hardware can (and will!) render the same high-level instructions into noticeably-different final results. The appearance differences tend to be divided along company lines (nVidia, ATI, Intel), but that’s by no means always the case (different generations of cards from the same company can yield different results as well).

June 19, 2006, 9:34

Comment by ssp: User icon

Jon, that’s what I suspect as well (the QTZ files also render in a blurry way when launching the displaying application in Rosetta, if that is a hint).

But I really don’t care. While I wouldn’t expect this technology to deliver pixel-perfection for all the speed tricks it uses (it isn’t Metafont…) I’d still expect it to give results where the differences are so subtle that you don’t spot them immediately. What’s the point otherwise?

In this case I’m not even talking about a large combination of complex effects. It’s just rendering a string on a billboard.

June 19, 2006, 9:59

Comment by Manjit Bedi: User icon


I see; I stand corrected on how you are using Quartz Composer.


June 19, 2006, 21:26

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