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Quartz (graphics layer)

In Apple computer's OS X operating system, Quartz is the Quartz 2D and Quartz Compositor part of the Core Graphics framework. Quartz includes both a 2D renderer in Core Graphics and the composition engine that sends instructions to the graphics card. Because of this vertical nature, Quartz is often synonymous with Core Graphics.[1]

In a general sense, Quartz or Quartz technologies can refer to almost every part of the Mac OS X graphics model from the rendering layer down to the compositor including Core Image and Core Video.[2] Other Apple graphics technologies that use the "Quartz" prefix include:

  • Quartz Extreme
  • QuartzGL
  • Quartz 2D Extreme
  • Quartz Core Framework
  • Quartz Display Services
  • Quartz Event Services
  • Quartz Framework

Quartz 2D & Quartz Compositor

Quartz 2D is the primary two-dimensional (2D) text and graphics rendering library: It directly supports Aqua by displaying two-dimensional graphics to create the user interface, including on-the-fly rendering and anti-aliasing. Quartz can render text with sub-pixel precision; graphics are limited to more traditional anti-aliasing, which is the default mode of operation but can be turned off.[3] In Mac OS X v10.4, Apple introduced Quartz 2D Extreme, which allows Quartz 2D to use supported GPUs for rendering. In Mac OS X 10.4, Quartz 2D Extreme is not enabled by default, because it may lead to video redraw issues or kernel panics.[4] As of Mac OS X v10.5 Quartz 2D Extreme has been renamed to QuartzGL. However, it still remains disabled by default, as there are some situations where it can degrade performance, or experience visual glitches; it is a per-application setting which can be turned on if the developer wishes.[citation needed]

Quartz Compositor is the compositing engine used by Quartz 2D and other renderers, such as OpenGL, Core Image, and QuickTime. In Mac OS X 10.2 and later, Quartz Compositor uses the processors (GPUs) on supported graphics cards to vastly improve composition performance. This technology is known as Quartz Extreme, and is enabled automatically on systems with supported graphics cards.[1]

Use of PDF

It is widely stated that Quartz "uses PDF" internally (notably by Apple in Quartz's early developer documentation[5]), often by people making comparisons with the Display PostScript technology used in NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP (of which Mac OS X is a descendant). Quartz's internal imaging model correlates well with the PDF object graph, making it easy to output PDF to multiple devices.[6]

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