OK, you’ve probably all beed using these for ages, but for me it’s a bit of a revelation. I’d vaguely heard of Virtual Patches from the QC 3 release-notes, but I’d never really thought about using them until recently. Now I think they’re going to be verrrry useful.
Here’s the Apple documentation for them. The basic idea is that you can drop a QTZ into
/Library/Graphics/Quartz Composer Patches
(a folder that will be familiar to Kineme plug-in users) and they’ll show up as patches in the Patch Creator. Any published in or out ports of the QTZ will appear as in or out ports in the patch when you create it in a composition. You can also add a description for the patch by adding it to the meta info for the virtual patch QTZ using the Edit Information item in the Editor menu.
To test out the system, I created a comp with just a number splitter, with a range set from 0 to 1 (which I use all the time), published in and out ports, added a description, and saved it into the correct folder. After restarting QC, it appeared in the Patch Creator panel, complete with description.
This is going to be very useful in the future, I think!
The only potential downside is that you have to save a ‘flattened’ version of any QTZ incorporating virtual patches, for portability. There’s a very good chance that I’m going to regularly forget to do this…