How a Giant Rube Goldberg Machine Ended Up on the Side of This House

Commercial artist Josh Van Praag was commissioned by Alys Beach to do a piece of animation that would compliment the architecture of this house for their annual Digital Graffiti event, the key concept behind which is to cover as many walls as possible with video art and then throw a giant outdoor gallery party.


"I didn't want the mouse trap to just be up there the whole time and simply do it's thing," says Van Praag, of the project. "I wanted to be able to slowly reveal it as we went along."

The ball goes up the conveyor belt, then rolls down a spiral ramp. As it rolls down that ramp, it triggers 3 sprockets.The first sprocket flips a series of panels to reveal grass, the second sprocket turns on sprinklers to water the grass, and the third sprocket unfolds a tube with these windmill devices over the middle roof of the house.

The water from the sprinklers fills the grass space and eventually overflows into the tube at the top. The water then turns these windmills that blow away the lower-left portion of the house, to reveal the Alys Beach logo. A single long shingle then blows away on the left roof above the logo. Little beach balls then spill out of this crack and rain down over the logo area like confetti for a big ta-dah moment. (I'm mostly a commercial artist, the logo reveal at the end comes naturally to me)

This was Van Praag's first time completing a project like this—which he did on a tight 2-week timeline!

I found there isn't a lot of good Mac software for frame-blending multiple projectors out there. The top software currently available is a PC based solution called Watchout from Dataton. I ended up using Millumin for Mac, and I really can't say enough good stuff about Philippe Chaurand who wrote the software. Any time I hit a wall I would email him and he would respond right away, helping out as best he could.

"The last night before the event I sat on the side of Highway 30A with my Mac Pro tower and two projectors," says Van Praag. He worked straight through the night—ducking into his car for an hour around 3:30am to avoid a quick rain shower—"trying to fix perspective issues and get the frame blending just right." [NotCot]

Thanks, Josh!



Icarus Rex

Yet another "Sensational Title That Doesn't Actually Match The Article" to continue the new trend on Gizmodo. You know, I WOULD have clicked to see a cool projection on the side of the building. But in this instance, I EXPECTED a massive physical Rube Goldberg machine.