Eric Wenger’s apps are unique. If you are just getting started with his software, make sure to read the Online Help->Online Documentation within the CTX applications.
We also have video tutorials on our YouTube channel. Most are in English but some are in French based on the English online documents. For those, turn on the YouTube Closed Caption translator to read along in English.
Additional support categories include:
- eMail Support
- Recommend a Feature
- Newsletter Subscription
- Product Versions and Updates
- Software Installation
- Reset an Application’s Prefs
- Access Your Store Account
- MetaSynth Product Notes
- ArtMatic Product Notes
- Legacy Product Overview
- Apple Operating Systems Notes
For Training and Documentation, please visit the Learning page.
If after reviewing these sections, you still have questions, please contact us via the form below.
Use this form for all PreSales and Sales questions.
Recommend a Feature
Did you encounter something unexpected in our software? Click below to submit a detailed issue report, with clear “Steps to Reproduce”, directly to the developer. Also, if you have a feature request, enter it here.
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Dick Scherzinger – Transparent Spheres
Product Versions and Updates
- MetaSynth – CTX – current version 1.4.2
- Xx (MIDI) – CTX – current version 1.4.2
- Designer – CTX II – current version 1.7.3
- Voyager – CTX II – current version 1.7.3
- Designer – CTX I – last version 1.2.2
- Voyager – CTX I – last version 1.2.2
To install on MacOS X 10.10 through 10.14.6 simply double click on the installers to run. On macOS (Catalina/Big Sur/Monterey.Ventura…), hold down the Control Key, click once on the installer and select Open, then approve installing.
Always back up your files before running an update. When installing a software update you have two options: 1. Run the installer to only update the application and associated new files. 2. Perform a “clean install” by updating the current application folder’s name before running the installer – useful if you want to retain earlier versions for older project files.
If installing on later versions of MacOS X or macOS, make sure to approve any permissions requests that appear.
If you are having problems installing or launching MetaSynth or Xx after install, your macOS or MacOS X has a permissions challenge. This is caused when the installer can’t access the Documents folder to place the demo projects installed there. Make sure to select YES to grant permissions during the install. If you click NO by accident, go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Full Disk Access -> Unlock the panel and click + and add the Installer App. This should bypass all blocking and allow the installer to work.
If you are still having trouble installing, check “Get Info” on your Documents folder to ensure your permissions are correct. MacOS X installs can become corrupted when they are ran via VMware. This can block access. Lastly, do a search for the demo folder “MetaSynth_Project” and ensure it is in the Users->[Account Name]-> documents folder. iCloud may have moved them.
The MetaSynth installer overwrites the three demo projects installed into the Documents folder, do not save work within them. To use them as starting points for a new project, duplicate the project folder and give it a unique name first.
Reset an Application’s Preferences
If the wrong serial number is entered, or if a preference setting is causing and issue, quit the program, delete the .prefs file in the application’s folder, and relaunch. This will restore the default settings and allow for a new serial number to be entered. Follow this procedure if you change the name of your MacOS X or macOS user account.
Access Your FastSpring Store Account
To download the latest update, 1. request a 24hour access link via email here. 2. Once received, click on the Account link in the email. 3. After accessing your account, click on the link ending in .pkg and the latest installer file will download.
The .pkg link in your account might display the product version from the time of purchase, ignore this, click anyhow. To verify the version, look at the About in the application menu (within the running program).
A. If an “account access” email does not arrive with a link: 1. Make sure you entered the email you set as your ID when purchasing. 2. Clear your browser’s cookies or try a different web browser. 3. Double check your email spam filter.
If it still does not arrive, please open a ticket with FastSpring Support firstname.lastname@example.org and they will manually send you a link. If you’ve changed emails or used two different emails as IDs they can merge your accounts.
B. Browsers change all of the time and compatibility issues are common. If something does not work, for example clicking on a link to download, try a different browser, or use Apple’s “Context Menu (aka right mouse click)” to Save As…
C. If you are a Legacy Customer (have not purchased since December 2018), please contact U&I Software via our support page to obtain older serial numbers and downloads.
MetaSynth+Xx Product Notes
This is an updated Effects.presets file which fixes #25.
MetaSynth – Create a New Project Folder First:
Make sure to create a project and don’t save work to the demos, and they are overwritten by updates. To use the default project as a starting point, duplicate the project folder and give it a unique name. Open the folder and give the .presets and .mont files the same name as the folder.
Going Beyond 128 Pixels on the Y Axis in the Image Synth
Vertical is pitch. So, most scales are limited to a Y height of 128 this ensures that frequencies above 20k are not generated. To unlock a wider frequency range select Exponential, a custom scale, or one of the micro tunings.
MetaSynth+Xx File Version Support:
The CTX versions of MetaSynth and Xx can open some files from legacy versions. Changings in Apple’s OS platforms (MacOS, MacOS X, macOS), hard drive file formats, MacOS to MacOS X file formats, new application features, and available instruments play a role in determining if files can be opened, and what sounds are heard.
- AppkitOS: MetaSynth CTX 1.x opens CTX 1.x, 6.x, and 5.x
- CarbonOS: MetaSynth 6 opens 6.x, 5.x. (will update instruments)
- CarbonOS: MetaSynth 5 opens 5.x and 4.x (will convert .pict to .png)
- CarbonOS: MetaSynth 4 opens 4.x (will convert 2.5 / 2.7 files)
- MacOS (Classic): MetaSynth opens 3.x, 2.x, 1.x
- Xx CTX 1.x can open CTX 1.0, and Legacy 5.5, 5.0, 4.0 Xx sequence packages (.xxfl file inside .xx package file).
- PowerPC Xx 3.0 – 3.0, 2.0, 1.0 sequence files (PowerPC). Apple HSF Files are not compatible with Apple packages.
32-bit Float Format:
MetaSynth does not currently support 32-bit Float in .wav files. This is due to .wav historically not supporting this format. We are considering adding it in future releases. Use Apple’s Core Audio format instead.
Project File Tips
Install MetaSynth with iCloud off, this ensures that the MetaSynth_Project demo folder is placed into your actual local Documents folder. On launch, if it can’t find it, MetaSynth will try to make the folder MS_Project there instead. Keep your projects local (not remote), and don’t save work into the demo project folders (MetaSynth_Project SpectralMS_Project VoicesPhase_Project) as these are overwritten on reinstall.
Xx – Optional Audio Unit Support:
Audio Unit management can be challenging today. There are lots of them, and many are not to specifications and might fail. A third-party AU manager such as AudioFinder might be needed. You may need to manually manage, see this Apple article.
Xx CTX 1.0 supports up to 16 Audio Units at a time. The legacy Xx 5.5.supported 48. Older MacOS folder permissions can become corrupted blocking access to AUs. This is can be resolved by running Apple’s First Aid or a third-party app like BatchMod.
If you missed it, Apple discontinued their Carbon application platform with the release of Catalina (2019). CTX programs were recreated for their AppKit platform. You can’t use Carbon plugins in AppKit programs, only ones made for AppKit. Think of Carbon and AppKit as two different Operating Systems.
Image Synth as a Controller vs. MIDI as a Controller:
“In the Image Synth, synthesis does not really have any ON/OFF, each playing note has a variable volume envelope given by pixel brightness that can change over the course of the note, and a note that can be any pitch in double precision (64 bits). You can imagine how the paradigm differs (from MIDI). When people ask about using any Audio Unit (AU plugin) for Image Synth synthesis they have no idea how unrealistic that is. One has to stress the power of the Image Synth principles and also to explain why MetaSynth instruments have to stay internal (limits of complexity) for this massive synthesis strategy to work in real-time.” – Eric Wenger.
Xx Files vs. Packages
Apple’s pre-Unix OS used files. Project files did not have application-type extensions. Later Apple OSs can have “package” files with files inside. Don’t change the name of the package in Finder or this will break the link between the package and the .xxfl sequence file inside. To keep the name the same, copy files, don’t duplicate.
ArtMatic Product Notes
Voyager Render Time:
Voyager CTX 1.0 uses all available CPU processors and includes rendering time optimizations. Pro User Tips: 1. The “Better” setting is much faster at rendering than “Best”, which is rarely needed. 2. Rendering to a “List of Images” is much faster than to a QuickTime movie. Use this method then, and then compile the images in your video editor. The new macOS (Catalina/Big Sur/Monterey) Quicktime can do this as well. 3. Duplicate the Voyager application folder, launch both and render two different scenes at once.
Why we use CPU not GPU processing “ArtMatic uses the CPU because it’s rendering engine supports sizes much larger than the GPU maximum sizes, GPS becomes impractical to use for smaller tasks as the transfer back an forth GPU-CPU are slow, and the ArtMatic engine is too big to fit in GPU shader memory. It would be better to increase memory usage to expand the number of CPUs beyond 16 cores in later versions.” – Eric Wenger.
Here is an industry critique on CPU vs. GPU rendering. Their conclusion: “One of the reasons why CPU remains as the undisputed industry standard is the quality. If you are all about precision in your output quality, the choice is obvious. You’ll get far better results with CPUs.”
Designer File Version Support:
Not all versions of Designer and Voyager can open older ArtMatic engine files. The ability to open does not equal compatibility with later versions as components may have been changed or added.
Programs for AppKit OS (Catalina/BigSur/Monterey plus 10.10-10.14.6)
- Designer CTX 1.2 opens CTX 1.2, CTX 1.1, CTX 1.0, Legacy 7.5 (results may vary)
- Designer CTX 1.1 opens CTX 1.1, CTX 1.0, Legacy 7.5
- Designer CTX 1.0 opens: CTX 1.0, 7.5, 7.2 (when using Normalized Colors).
Files from 6.0 may need to be modified for changes in colors and alpha ranges, or components.
Programs for Carbon OS (10.x-10.14.6) and Intel Processor
- Legacy Designer 7.5, opens 7.5, and 7.2, 6.x, 5.x but colors may change.
- Legacy Designer 7.2 opens: 7.2, 6.x, 5.x
- Legacy Designer 6.x can open: 6.x, 5.x, 4.x
Programs for Carbon OS (10.x-10.14.6) PowerPC Processor
- Legacy ArtMatic Pro (Designer) 5
- Legacy ArtMatic (Designer) 4
Programs for MacOS (Classic) and PowerPC
- Legacy ArtMatic (Designer) 3.x, can open 2.x, 1.x (PowerPC Only).
ArtMatic programs are paired to an ArtMatic Engine version. CTX apps pair to engine version 8.x, The final Legacy versions to 7.x, etc. Legacy Designer 7.5 pairs with Voyager 4.5 and vQuartz 4.5.
CTX ArtMatic Engine Versions and Pairing.
Designer File Loading:
Double-clicking on an ArtMatic file while Designer is not running, loads a default file. Make sure to open Designer and use the Browser or File Open to load files.
Designer vs, Explorer Keyframes:
Working with keyframes in the Explore room of Designer, and the Explorer application functions differently from the Design room. Eric Wenger has stated “The Explore room provides direct access to published keyframe parameters values so you can edit KF data directly. It is a different approach to the Design room. Its advantages are you don’t have to record keyframes and envelopes values as they are reflected consistently in the parameters sliders. You wouldn’t have these abilities if the parameters sliders reflected the current state instead of KF states. Parameter sliders can be used to make slight adjustments of envelopes values which would be impossible if they are linked to the current state as in the Design Room. Meaning, if I use the Design Room approach there won’t be any way to adjust the envelope data numerically. Also, the same logic applies for Voyager “edit artmatic param” inspector which does not use the keyframe selection & display and where direct editing of KF values is necessary. Once you know how it works, it is actually quite efficient and makes animation parameters editing faster.”
Unique File Saving Process:
“ArtMatic and Voyager now lets you set the directory for saving separately so you don’t have to do it everytime. While this departs from Apple’s standard, it has the strong advantage of allowing you to select a working directory only once – which saves users a huge amount of time. Just click on the path to change/rename it when needed. But note, if you make a lot of modifications in an ArtMatic system it is best to save the system under a new name, so the issue of overriding a render won’t happen, as the picture will have a new default name.” – Eric Wenger
Setting Video Length to Audio
The movie render window allows users to select a subset of the full video time to render. It is not for increasing the video length. To do so, use the “wristwatch” icon to click and drag to the right until the Duration is as desired. When using “Master Audio Input” to control a video, make sure to note down the length of the audio file, then use the “wristwatch” icon to match.
Legacy Products for Carbon or MacOS (Classic) Overview
Eric Wenger’s Software Development History:
Legacy Customer Products:
Two years after Apple discontinued the Carbon platform, upgrades to the final versions of our obsolete products for that OS are no longer being offered. To ensure customers can use the latest features in CTX programs, they are backward compatible on MacOS X 10.10-10.14 . Visit our store for more details.
Legacy Customers Store:
In 2018 U&I moved to a professional and secure eCommerce store platform (FastSpring). Customers were notified quarterly to re-register their current products (Designer 7.2, Voyager 4.2, MetaSynth 6.0.1, Xx 5.5) in the new store. Re-registering is no longer available, please contact support directly. We have retained records from the old store and serials are available on request.
Legacy Wiki Site:
When moving to the new site, it was more difficult to keep this working than expected. We now provide video tutorials and product experts to help. We’ve copied the old Wiki information into these two unformatted documents ArtMatic Wiki data or the MetaSynth Wiki data for legacy purposes.
MetaSynth 6.0.1 Montage:
If you use MS6, you may need to use a template to create new Montage files (MacOS 10.14). Download one by clicking here.
Xx 5.5 Install Error:
During the install of Xx the following error screen may appear: This is due to incorrect disk permissions. It doesn’t usually impact the application. If it does, repair permissions and reinstall. Here are the instructions MacOS 10.14.
Videodelic (MacOS 9.x):
Classic Extensions must be On to run.
Apple Operating Systems Notes
M1 Macintosh with macOS 11 Big Sur and macOS 12 Monterey Compatibility:
The ArtMatic CTX 1.x and MetaSynth CTX 1.x have passed testing with Big Sur/Monterey on M1 Macs (also runs on Intel Macs). When installing, make sure to click “Yes” to grant permissions. Watch for release updates by subscribing to the Newsletter or joining a facebook group: ArtMatic User Group and MetaSynth User Group. Make sure you are running a CTX 1.2.x version for full graphics compatibility.
Installing Third-Party programs on Catalina/BigSur/Monterey:
Apple requires customers installing Third-Party applications to Control+Click or Right Mouse click on the installer and select Open. Then click the Open button, to accept that the app is not from the Apple Store. 10.14 Mojave and earlier do not require this.
Designer CTX and Sound in MacOS 10.15 (Catalina Early Releases):
Designer uses a 44.1 khz sample rate. Mojave (10.14) defaults to 44.1 but Catalina defaults to 48 khz. This causes audio distortion and tempo changes when previewing audio (rendering works fine). To resolve this, change your Mac’s audio output setting to 44,100 hz when using Designer. This can be done with Apple’s Audio Midi Setup program found in the Utilities folder. Recent builds of Catalina appear to have returned to 44.1 khz as a default.
Running 32 bit applications on MacOS 10.14 (Mojave):
An Apple Error Dialog may appear when any Carbon OS application is launched. This impacts all software companies.
Apple Has Discontinued Their Carbon OS Software Platform after MacOS 10.14 (Mojave):
Carbon was MacOS as we knew it, but starting with MacOS 10.10 MacOS was really two operating systems in one – it also included MacOS AppKit. Carbon was more powerful, flexible, and reliable so U&I products remained on that platform. iOS, like AppKit, is Cocoa based and Apple is moving to merge the two OS’s and also move the Mac to the same processors that run iPhones, iPads, and iWatches. This meant Carbon had to be discontinued. Starting with MacOS 10.15 Carbon is gone and so customers can’t run Carbon applications. We all have three options: 1. Run a dual boot system with Catalina 10.15 and Mojave 10.14 (restart required). We use this tool to download different OS versions. 2. Run Mojave 10.14 “virtually” on a Catalina 10.15 system by using a program like Parallels (no reboot but less rendering processors). 3. Remain on Mojave 10.14 or an earlier MacOS version. Many recording studios are doing this as many third-party plugs are Carbon. But, for many folks this isn’t practical so options 1 or 2 are the better ways to go. If remember the transition from MacOS to Unix (MacOS X), and the transition from PowerPC processors to Intel processors, this will all be familiar. See chart below.
Apple File Format Changes 10.14 (Mojave):
11.0 (Big Sur): Apple changed its MacOS file format in 10.14 from HFS+ to APFS. This strips away your file’s Application Type information and can impact them knowing which application they are associated with. If you have older Designer files and update your Mac to 10.14 opening them will no longer work. To work around this, select Parent in Designer CTX 1.0’s Browse view, and select a folder to import, the folder will become an item on the list with its files appearing in the library, then you can select Modernize Folder (gear icon top right). If you import multiple folders, you can select the Modernize Library to update all of them. Make sure to back up your work before importing it. Other options are: 1. Try using Open With… in the MacOS context menu. 2. If a file fails to import add an .artm extension to the file. This will force MacOS to associate the file with Designer.
Accessibility Compliance Record
Accessibility Compliance – Please find out 508 Conformance Report Here.