Core Image is the new technology in Mac OS X that heavily leverages Quartz Compositor and the machine's GPU. Demonstrated at WWDC in 2004, it provides access to the most common Graphics API's. It provides the ability to edit images on the fly (which used to be handled by Quartz/Quartz Extreme) and apply dazzling effects to them. It can also apply 3D transformations as aptly as 2D transformations.
Running alongside Core Image is Core Video which is based on the H.264 codec. Like Core Image, it allows on-the-fly editing of video, as shown in the WWDC Webcast.
Both technologies depend heavily on the system's graphics card, and may offer tiered solutions, such as Quartz and its more powerful version, Quartz Extreme. Core Image, Core Video and Core Audio are the driving forces behind Mac OS X's aesthetic uniquities.
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