Rendering Quartz Composer compositions

If you have made a Quartz composition you might sometimes want to render it out frame by frame to another format. Here is the way that I found to get the best quality:

1. You need a Quicktime Pro license, which is a paid upgrade to the free Quicktime Player. Get it – it’s useful every day when you work with motion graphics.

2. Open the qtz file in Quicktime Pro.

3. Hit ‘Save as’ and set the duration you want for the final movie. Now the file has been saved as a .mov file, but we’re not done. The file is still basically just a .qtz file in a Quicktime packaging.
tutorial save as
Step 3

4. Open the new .mov file in Quicktime (if it has not automatically opened in a window already)

5. Hit cmd+J to display the movie properties

6. Click on the second line where it says Quartz composer track.

7. Click on the Visual settings tab

8. Now set the fields next to ‘scaled size’ to your desired size.
tutorial properties
Step 8

9. Hit cmd+E for ‘Export’ and select to export as ‘Movie to Quicktime Movie’
tutorial save as again
Step 9

10. Click ‘Options’ and then ‘Settings’ to select an encoding format. Eg. PhotoJPEG 25 fps Color High Quality
tutorial video settings
Step 10

Voila you have a movie….

PS: Try in step 8 to set the size to x2 the size you want. Then in Settings in step 10. set the actual size of the final movie. This will help antialiasing e.g making sharp edges appear smoother. If you have serious antialiasing issues you could go for an extreme size like x8 though this will of course drastically increase the time it takes to render.

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  1. thanks! was stuck until i found this.

  2. Thanks for posting this,
    i was trying to do this for quit some time now,
    and thought i had to buy Quartz Crystal….

    Big Up

  3. Hi,

    I tried using the method to render the .qtz file using Quicktime Pro.
    But i am not able to get the desired results.

    1. Exporting a movie from Quartz composer gives a distorted movie. It’s a little wierd as the output contains elements of the Editor(Quartz Composer).

    2. After exporting with the above setting from quicktime. The ouput has a video but its shows the code.

    Could you please help?

  4. Udart (Author)

    Ishneet, try and send me your original quartz file. And also the exported version and I’ll have a look. Find my email address in the text box in the right hand column above.

  5. When I wrote this article I wasn’t aware that Quicktime has limited support for Quartz Composer. When Quartz patches are played back in Quicktime they are in ‘safe mode’ so all so called unsafe patches will not work. The Kineme Audio File is most probably labelled ‘unsafe’.
    However I think you can work around the problem by installing the ‘QCRehab’ plugin here:

    And install it in /Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches/ (Not Plug-Ins) and you should be ok. Note that patch is no longer supported.

    Haven’t tried it myself though. Another option is buying QuartzCrystal which does exactly what you need:

  6. Udart (Author)

    Some sort of error happened. The above was written by me not James…

    -Vibeke (Udart)

  7. bleep

    many thanks — couldnt figure this out until now :)

  8. Aldo

    I did as you said, but it doesn’t work if I have a video clip in my quartz composition. QT plays a with block instead of the video. Do you have a way to avoid it please ?
    I am new in Quartz composer and I am discovering all the possibilities of this incredible sofware, so maybe it is NOT possible to do a render with a video in the composition ?

    In the same way, is it possible to do a render of a sound visualizer composition ?

  9. kaveman

    I am also new to the qc world and i am having the same question as aldo has; is it possible to do a render of a sound visualisation?

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