PixelToy Frequently Asked Questions

1. PixelToy isn't reacting to audio. What's wrong?

2. Can PixelToy react to MP3s playing on my computer?

3. How do I use a PixelToy animation in my iMovie creations?

4. Is PixelToy available for Windows PCs?

5. How do I distort and affect my own images/photos in PixelToy?

6. Why is PixelToy changing the colors of my desktop?

7. I'm tired of seeing @#$&%! Mona Lisa all the time!

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PixelToy isn't reacting to audio. What's wrong?

First, a little explanation: PixelToy can be made to react to any sound input device supported by your computer's hardware. For most Macintosh models, this (at the very least) includes audio CD and a microphone (built-in and/or external). Some Macs have other sound input options as well, such as "Line In" for a standard home stereo-style hookup. If what you're wanting is for PixelToy to react to your MP3 player such as iTunes or SoundJam, skip to the next FAQ entry.

Mac OS X users: Apple has eliminated support for CD audio as a sound input source entirely in Mac OS X. This means that for the many Mac models without microphone/line-in plugs, no sound input sources are available in Mac OS X without the addition of a USB-based sound input system such as the Griffin iMic.

Mac OS 8.6/9 users: Your Mac may be just configured to use a different sound input device than the one you want. PixelToy 2.5 and later allow you to select which sound input source you desire in its Preferences window. Earlier versions of PixelToy rely upon the Mac OS setting, configured with a control panel (Monitors & Sound in Mac OS 8.6, Sound in Mac OS 9.x). This is further complicated by Apple's change in how Audio CDs are played. Most people now use iTunes to play their CDs, which does not use the CD drive's built-in capability of playing audio CDs. Instead, it directly reads the audio disc's digital data and plays it through the computer's sound hardware, which sidesteps the system's "Audio CD" sound input capability. Because of this, if you wish to use audio CDs with PixelToy (pre-OS X), you must listen to them with a CD-only player such as the AppleCD Audio Player (included in Mac OS 8.6 and 9.x's Applications folder) instead of iTunes.

Can PixelToy react to MP3s playing on my computer?

Quick answer: Not directly. There is an ugly workaround however, you can set your sound input to an external microphone and physically place the mic in front of one of your speakers.
Technical answer: PixelToy can't access the sound data generated by other applications on the same computer, such as games, MP3 players, or other streaming audio players.

How do I use a PixelToy animation in my iMovie creations?

I suggest having the PixelToy window set to the exact dimensions that you need (set in PixelToy's Preferences). Use the "Create Movie..." command from PixelToy's File menu -- normally you will want to use a "Fixed Frame Rate", then after you name your clip you can set other parameters for your movie. Here I suggest "Photo - JPEG" compression with the quality set to almost "Best". Set the "Frames per second" value to 30. Create your movie, bearing in mind that the resulting movie will play back at a smooth 30 frames per second, regardless of how long or short it takes to create those frames in PixelToy. Select "Stop Movie" from the File menu when you are finished. Quit out of PixelToy and open the resulting QuickTime movie in Apple's "QuickTime Player" application. Here you select "Export..." from the File menu. On the next window change the "Export:" pop-up menu to "Movie to DV Stream". It may take a while to save, and you'll end up with a rather large DV file that you can import into iMovie and treat like just another video clip. To use PixelToy with iMovie, you may need QuickTime Pro (the $30 paid-for registered version of normal QuickTime).

Is PixelToy available for Windows PCs?

No, nor is it likely to be ported to Windows in the future. PixelToy relies heavily on the internal graphic software of the Mac OS, also known as QuickDraw.

How do I distort and affect my own images/photos in PixelToy?

There's two different ways you can use your images in PixelToy:

1) Turn off any active actions, then use the "Open Picture" command under the File menu. PixelToy should resize its window to match that of your image. How the image is affected (and how quickly) depends on which filter(s) you are currently using. You can then use the "Reload Picture" command to instantly reload the last picture.

2) Turn on the Images action (little Mona Lisa), then use the "Image Options..." to change the undefined image to any of yours. You can control lots of things about your images here. Once you have defined things the way you like them, you may create a set to save everything you have done.

If you are simply wanting a still image, you'll want to use the Pause command (apple-P) repeatedly to settle upon an effect you like. You may also want to set a speed limit of 1 or 2 frames per second in PixelToy's Preferences window in order to slow things down to a controllable level. Once you have PixelToy paused upon the look you want, you can now select "Save PNG..." from the File menu. Of course, you can also create a QuickTime movie of either of these methods.

Why is PixelToy changing the colors of my desktop?

You have set your display to 256 colors, so in order to get the colors PixelToy needs for its window, it changes the global set of colors so the animations look right. When you quit out of PixelToy, everything will return to normal. While having your display set to 256 colors is usually the fastest mode in which PixelToy can operate, note that you cannot see any effects that change the color palette over time while in 256 colors. Either way, you can tell PixelToy to automatically switch to your favorite color mode in the Preferences window.

I'm tired of seeing @#$&%! Mona Lisa all the time!

Hey! That's not really a question, but anyway ... In PixelToy 2.5 and later you can override PixelToy's internal default image with your own by placing an image named "Default Image" in the same folder as the PixelToy application. Likewise you can place an image named "Default Mask" there to override the internal mask image. Note that these names need to be used, without file extensions! This means using Finder's "Get Info" on your image file(s) and actually removing the extension, not just hiding it. PixelToy will be able to figure out the type of image file.