No, This Dancing Building's Bricks Are Not Falling Like Tetris

Illustration for article titled No, This Dancing Building's Bricks Are Not Falling Like Tetris

This isn't an animation, and it's not CGI and it's not a building doing the humpty dance. It's actually the old mint in downtown SF being painted by 7 perfectly mapped HD projectors.

Obscura Digital, the company behind the light show at Youtube's Symphony last week, has has used their propriety software to control a giant HD light show spread across multiple HD projectors for a Mcafee ad. Never mind the marketing purpose, this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I think of it as using 3d graphics gear to make the real world look like video games, instead of using 3d graphics gear to make games appear realistic.


To get the image to look seamless, the software calculates distance and angle and surface shape of the building, compensating for brightness, picture shift, and other variables. This sort of thing would normally take months to plan, but they set up this example in a matter of days, due to the flexibility of the software. Here are examples of their other work, including the iGoogle launch in NYC (which used almost 20 projectors) and the youtube symphony. [Obscura via Fast Company]



I hate to say this, but Obscura themselves aren't doing anything special. Rather the technology is in the projectors. Projector manufacturer Christie have an interesting video DSP tech called Twist. This will map images to curved surfaces and map images across several projectors, taking into account size and blending.


For years making a multi projector array was a pain, alinging all the projectors perfectly. With the Twist and the Autostack function you point a video camera at your projection surface and the Twist DSP then aligns it all automatically.