Virtual Patches Annoying Bug/Oversight

So; I’ve discovered a great new feature. I’ve also discovered a great new bug to go with it!

If you use a virtual patch in a QTZ, then save a ‘flattened’ version of the file, the virtual patch will be converted into a ‘real’ macro patch. So far, so good- you get a portable file that works fine for someone who doesn’t have your virtual patches installed on their system. The problem is, the macros automatically created this way are not correctly named. In fact, they’re all called ‘Macro Patch’. Which isn’t helpful when it comes to readability. I’ve submitted an Enhancement Request to the Apple Bug Tracker asking for the macros to be automatically named the same as the original virtual patch. Hopefully this will be incorporated into a future version of the program.

The problem isn’t by any means insurmountable- if you give the virtual patch a custom name, then that name is reflected in the macro that’s created when the flattened file is saved, so I’m not put off too much. I’m still a bit worried that since Macros can be a different size from patches, things may not line up as I’d like in my flattened QTZs, but that’s just me being excessively anal, I think. I can tidy that up before release, anyway.

In terms of working on your own stuff, I think virtual patches are probably a real time-saver, and I wish I’d discovered them earlier. At some point in the future, I’m planning to release a set of QTZs to be used as virtual patches, so that everyone can get the dubious benefit of being able to drop tb patches straight into their compositions.


5 Responses to “Virtual Patches Annoying Bug/Oversight”

  1. 1 Snerg
    July 23, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    How do I save a ‘flattened’ qtz file? And what is this ‘flattening’ all about, could you please explain it?


  2. 2 toneburst
    July 23, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Snerg,

    flattening is only necessary for QTZs that use virtual patches, and you only need to do it to remove the composition’s dependency on the virtual patch compositions in
    /Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches

    Flatten a file by holding Alt (or option) before saving. You should see a new option to save flattened in the File menu.

    Flattening only works for virtual patches, not (as I had initially hoped), 3rd-party plugins like the Kineme ones.

    Hope this helps.

    If you’re still not sure, have a look at the Apple documentation. There’s a link to the relevant section in my previous post.


  3. 3 Snerg
    July 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks for the explanation, I must have overlooked your previous post.

    I’m wondering about the difference between creating a ‘clip’ from your composition and saving it as a ‘virtual patch’?

    You can easily create a ‘clip’ from any selection in the QC editor by clicking the ‘create clip’ button in the toolbar, after entering a title and description the clip will be added to the patch creator list. Clips can be managed from the QC preferences on the ‘Clips’ pane (it even has a handy ‘edit composition’ button).


  4. 4 toneburst
    July 24, 2008 at 10:17 am

    The difference seems to be that Clips, when added to a Composition show up as Macros, and can be edited etc. straightaway, whereas Virtual Patches show up in the Editor as patches, and can’t be edited directly.

    Essentially, you can think of Clips as being like a collection of macros that are always accessible from the Patch Creator, whereas Virtual Patches are more like custom plugins.

    The other difference is that, if you update the original QTZ of a Virtual Patch, this will have an effect on any compositions that use it, whereas Clips are copied into your composition when you add them, and are not dependent on the original file.

    That’s my understanding, anyway. I may be completely off-beam..

    I’m not sure which is more useful, now…


  5. 5 Snerg
    July 24, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    After reading through the QC 3.1 release notes a little more I believe you’re right about the difference between virtual patches and clips.

    I guess both can be useful, I can imagine performance tuning of a virtual patch would speed up all the compositions that use it. While using a clip could be great for a macro you often use but need adjust before each use to work under the given circumstances.

    Thanks for sharing your findings,


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