Mixing, Adjusting and Generating Complementary Color Data-Sources in VDMX

Download the completed project file and QC compositions for this example.

Using a Step Sequencer color track and custom QC compositions to generate complementary colors for a trio tone FX.

While Quartz Composer is mainly used for creating interactive video sources and FX, one of of the other powerful ways it can be used in VDMX is to create your own custom plugins that can generate values or manipulate data-sources that can themselves drive other parameters in your setup. Another great thing about this feature is that once these compositions are created they can be shared and easily installed on different computers so that other people can take advantage of the new functionality.

For this tutorial we'll be looking at three very simple Quartz Composer compositions can be used within VDMX for manipulating color data-sources in particular. You don't need to know any QC to follow along, but for those that are curious you can open up these patches and even use them as starting points for your own customized versions.

To begin, download the QC Color Patches set and decompress the zip. You should have the following three Quartz Composer files:

  • The first composition is called Color Adjustment and it allows for adjusting the hue, saturation and brightness level of the provided input color.
  • The second composition is called Color Mixer which takes two different colors and publishes a result based the specified mix point, allowing you to fade smoothly between colors.
  • The third composition is called Complimentary Colors and can be used to generate two new output colors based on a provided input color and desired matching algorithm. The three available methods are standard complimentary, shades and split complimentary.

These files can be installed by choosing the “Open Assets Folder In Finder” option from the Help menu in VDMX and moving them to the provided "plugins" folder. Once installed they should appear in the list of available Quartz Composer based plugins in the Plugins tab of the Workspace Inspector.

Like any other plugin for VDMX you can add as many instances as needed to your project. Since these QC compositions only output data-sources you can set the render resolution to 1x1 and the provided published data-sources can be connected to any interface control from the right-click menu or UI Inspector panel. These simple examples become even more powerful when alongside other data-providers in VDMX such as color tracks from the Step Sequencer or Cues List plugins.

In this demonstration we'll be using the results of the complementary colors to drive a Trio Tone FX being applied to a live web cam. The Color Mixer and Color Adjustment compositions will be used to provide the color that is used as the base color for the output.

Tips and Notes:

After completing this tutorial try combining these techniques with sending color outputs over DMX/ArtNet or check out how to LUT based FX to change the colors of your video layers in VDMX.

Add QC compositions as plugins from the Workspace Inspector.

Preview windows can be used to display video from QC compositions loaded as plugins.

Use the “Open Assets Folder in Finder” option from the Help menu to access the custom plugins folder.

Use the Quartz Composer Editor to further customize the plugins or create your own.