Will the end of Apple’s Quartz Composer finally kill off Final Cut Pro 7 and its plugins?


The visual programming tool Quartz Composer hasn’t received much love from the Apple team for a while. Should Apple finally kill it off, not only will it be the end for many popular QC based plugins for FCP, it could also be the end of Final Cut Pro 7 itself.

You might or might not have heard of Quartz Composer, but you’ve definitely seen it in action. From screen savers, to animations in Mac applications, to the internal plumbing of some FCP plugins, it has been the engine used for many cool graphic effects using the GPU.

Whilst it hasn’t received the dreaded ‘deprecated’ label yet, we have heard from a variety of sources that they think it won’t be in the next big furry OS X species. This has two large ramifications for Final Cut Pro 7 users.

First of all, there are many plugin writers who use Quartz Composer to build plugins not just for Final Cut Pro 7 but other apps such as FCPX and After Effects. In the latter years of legacy FCP, QC helped speed up plugins by transferring the image processing away from the CPU and onto the GPU. Some products from Noise Industries, CHV-Electronics and others will all cease to work or perform very badly if Quartz Composer insn’t a part of the next big cat.

Secondly and most importantly, there is some Quartz Composer internally in Final Cut Pro 7 which means if it dies, so will legacy FCP. This is the first big indication we have seen that FCP7 might not run on a new version of OS X.

Yes you read that right.

So why are Apple not developing Quartz Composer further and what can we do about it?

Quartz Composer started life as PixelShox Studio until it was absorbed into Apple with its creator Pierre-Oliver Latour. It was a perfect match for Apple as it was a very quick and easy way to design graphic animations that could be embedded into Cocoa or Carbon applications. Enter the iPhone and Apple’s OS convergence policy and because Quartz Compositions won’t run on an iPhone or iPad, you can see why it’s been overlooked.

About montyedits

San Francisco based film and video editor.
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