Quartz Composer Museum Installation

robbietherobot's picture

After more than a years work I've completed our company's first major Quartz Composer installation. It's a 10m long TimeLine table installed in Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. It contains information about 200 people who are buried in the Cemetery.

The entire composition uses no JavaScript patches at all. It's all done through Interaction, Stop Watches, Mathematical Expressions and a lot of Logic Gates!

The final Comp runs at 60fps 40" 1080p displays. Each screen has a 27" iMac mounted underneath and the whole thing uses the Network Patches to talk to each other and render the lines (links) between the screens.

All the data is stored as XML and external images in Folders. The project starting in Quartz to simply visualise the data of all the lives but quickly I realised that Quartz could be actually capable for the final install.

Thankfully it all worked out!! Learnt so much working on the project that by the time I was finished really wanted to start again as I'm sure I would program it totally differently!! Some of the Macro Patches scare me when I open them cause I can't remember what they do!!

Hope you all like. We are now using Quartz on an ongoing basis for our exhibition installations as a replacement for Director/Flash.

Check it out: http://www.vimeo.com/17077523

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robbietherobot's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Embedded Video? Can't seem to edit my post so here goes!

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Good work Rob!

If more Studios follow your lead, recruiters might get to know what Quartz Composer actual means on a CV

cybero's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Annotating my macros helps me to remember :-)

cybero's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

That looks really impressive, both under the hood and presenting in situe.

mattgolsen's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Really, really gorgeous work, both on the QC side and the physical installation. Incredibly inspiring as well.

Can you give any details on how you structured your QC work? There are quite a few things that I'm specifically interested in.

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Yes nice timber framing, I missed the last bit of the video before.

Looks like it's been there for ten years or more which is a nice touch given the site.

Unassuming is the word I was looking for, I suppose. Frequently hi-tech instalations are asked to be 'gee-wiz', this proves (again) it can go one better than 'gee-wiz', it can do beautiful.

post's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

That is brilliant work. Congratulations!

How does QC hold up on a big, intricate composition like yours?

I'm asking, because the big QC compositions I've done have suffered from memory leaks all over the place, which is a no-no for production software.

All the best -R.

psonice's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

I can say from my own experience: surprisingly well. My own "most long running" comp isn't quite that complex, but it does a lot of complex processing on streamed video from a very unreliable camera. I expected it to need a daily restart, but infact it's run smoothly for a couple of weeks at a time (it was still running fine even then!). I tend to give it a weekly reboot, but it doesn't really NEED it.

And yeah, great work on this, looks nice and clean without being excessively glitzy :)

robbietherobot's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Had no problems with it. And to be very honest I was learning as I went so it's far more complicated then it needs to be. Patching patches all the way along as the brief/ideas changed. It's a real mess!! However it's solid as a rock. I found using 3rd party patches was the most problematic so there's hardly any in there. Mathematical Expressions and Logic Gates rule the day which are solid! The system does shut down every night at 10pm and boots at 9am so might help, but certainly during the testing phase I had it running for weeks solidly without trouble.

robbietherobot's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

It was built as you go. I had originally butchered my own "Interaction Patch" which made things very messy. Once Snow Leopard came out was able to avoid all that mess.

If I was to start again I would approach it very differently. It was basically live wire-framing and experimenting on the fly. Which I now think Quartz is great for. It only takes a few minutes to test an idea.

Anything specific you were thinking about.

post's picture
Re: Quartz Composer Museum Installation

Thanks for the answer! :-)

QC really invites you to build big, so I am very glad to hear that it is so solid.

All the best -R.