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mac addict 2001

Mac Addict Review

November 2001 online review

Composer 1.4
Wouldn't it be cool if you could make your own synchronized multimedia eye candy, a la iTunes Visuals? When Composer arrived at our door, claiming it could do all that — blend images, graphics, video, sound, and movement into complex live media creations — we expected a tough learning curve. Instead, Composer's user-friendly interface, drag-and-drop programming, and concise PDF manual made us feel like instant multimedia mavens.

Using Composer is much easier than trying to understand it; simply put, you import any QuickTime-supported media (GIF and JPEG images, AIFF and MP3 audio, MOV and MPEG movies, text, live video, and so on), and create dynamic effects by linking media elements and/or computer input. For example, you can combine pictures that morph in predefined patterns or according to a song's frequency bands or tempo, MIDI inputs, mouse movements, and keyboard inputs. Confused? Don't worry. It's intuitive, especially after you browse through Composer's onboard manual.

Composer's interface consists of two windows: the Console window, for viewing your media composition in progress, and the heart of Composer, the Links window — a patch bay where you link Forms to effects by connecting input and output leads. Just don't let your mouse wander: Composer's Smart Surf consistently annoyed us by activating whichever window we let the cursor drift over. The interface has a few other quirks, too. We experienced stuttering audio when switching to and from Performance (full-screen) mode and loading modules in the Console window. Also, the Links window's scroll bar is slightly narcoleptic, usually requiring an extra click or two before it does its job. Composer barely worked in Mac OS X's Classic mode — most options were grayed out and the application crashed repeatedly.

We had a blast both creating and playing with live media in Composer. Multimedia gurus may find it limited, but for the rest of us who want to dabble in interactive multimedia without reading huge manuals, Composer's just the ticket.

— Andrew Freid

Good News: Nearly effortless motion-graphics creation. Intuitive GUI. Excellent manual.
Bad News: Quirky interface. Interactive playback requires proprietary Free Player.
Company: Onadime
Contact: 415-331-6226
Price: $199 (SRP)
Requirements: Power Mac 603e or faster, Mac OS 8 or later, 16MB RAM (64MB recommended), QuickTime 3.0 or higher (4.0 recommended), CD-ROM drive