iTunes 8 was released to the world today, and included in its myriad upgrades and changes — but not even mentioned by Sir Steve in his presentation, sadly — is a new visualizer that looks suspiciously familiar to yours truly.
At any rate, for those of you out there who enjoy staring at swirling globes of light, dancing ribbons and gaseous nebulae all waltzing together in loving harmony to your music of choice, I thought I’d let you know how to get the most out of iTunes Visualizer.
Plus, I’ll let you in on the Super Secret Undocumented option! Whee, you’re special!
When you start it up, it dances and flings and sparkles, but you can also control some of the aspects of it if you want to.
To open the options menu, click ? on your keyboard. In the upper left, a magical menu appears with a few options:
M – Change mode
P – Change palette
I – Display track info
C – Toggle auto-cycle (on by default)
F – Toggle freeze mode
N – Toggle nebula mode
L – Toggle camera lock
Here’s what they mean, though you can discover these yourself with a little experimentation.
The visualizer uses globes of gravity around which smaller sparkles and clouds of gas and ribbons swirl and dance. C is on by default, so the visualizer will Cycle through all the modes continuously as long as that’s on. If you find a specific mode you like (by hitting M) hitting C again turns off auto-cycling.
The different Modes (M) alter the appearance of these pieces. Keep hitting M to get them all.
The palette also follows the auto-cycle mode, but you can change the palette yourself if you don’t like the one you’re looking at by hitting P.
Track info (I) is self-explanatory, I assume.
Freeze mode (F) will stop the action immediately, but the camera (P.O.V.) will continue to circle the frozen tableau unless you also lock the camera in place with L.
Nebula mode is what adds the swirling clouds that emit from the gravity globes. On older computers that may, shall we say, lack modern graphic cards, turning this off may speed everything up and stop any jitters you may be experiencing.
But, if you want to see what your computer can do on its own, hit E. This is the secret Extreme mode that sends the nebulae into overdrive, and the particle effects at full screen on a slower computer will cause it to cough and hack and get a terrible, terrible headache.

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