Mapping software

I started to look into 3d video mapping software and which one i will use for my Specialist project. I came upon many programs and solutions for my task, some for free and some not. The main criteria is that this program has to be an open platform based with functionality to cross communicate with other softwares. I found this very useful tool called Syphon. It is an open source Mac OS X technology that allows applications to share frames – full frame rate video or stills – with one another in realtime. It can be viewed and downloaded here. This is an ideal tool to merge different softwares and it has been built mainly around VJing software and has plug ins for such applications as Max/MSP, Quartz Composer and even Processing.

In my project i wanted to keep away from custom/industry standard 3d video mapping software because in such programs mapping comes as a built in function and are not very flexible by means of communicating with different input media apart from using pre-rendered imported videos or live feed via web-camera/or camera attached through fire-ware. It has limited possibilities and it is likely to be just as an extra feature not fully developed or accessible for further development. Modul8 seems to be one of the most satisfying tools for relatively easy hands on mapping solution and i can use a Syphon plug-in to communicate live video feed into modul8, the only issue is that this software is pricey and I don’t see point investing unless commencing myself to full time commercial VJ job. It is very unlikely to happen here, in Bournemouth.( I am trying to find more experimental tools and built as an open source with abilities to be adjusted to individual needs and which can be used in more challenging environments.

While researching 3d video mapping i came upon this image and soon enough i found a software i was looking for. This is work by norwegian artist HC Gilje:

Fuglane 2010

Gilje, HC., 2010. Fuglane. [image online] Available at: <; [Accessed 17 October 2011].

I found his work very fascinating and luckily he turns out to be a person who has created a 3d video mapping software which is an open source and is built using Max/MSP. I was absolutely thrilled because this software was obtainable completely for free and also with source code in case I have to go into it and change its skeleton a bit.P

He has developed a software called VPT, VideoProjectionTools which he widely uses for his own installations, sometimes specially modifying it for particular piece. I think his style is very close to what i am trying to achieve, it is very minimal and ascetic in visual aspect and yet very intricate and with attention to detail and bringing out the architecture of the piece. It seems that spectator is not looking for different mediums, Gilje skilfully blends digital scapes into physical environment that it becomes a strange reality for people to explore. Here is one of this latest pieces in progress:

Gilje, HC., 2011. Almost Cinema 2011 installation (rough documentation). Available at: <; [Accessed 17 October 2011].


Video Projection Tools can be viewed and downloaded here.


sketching faces //////[-…-]

i started to draw sketches for my stage set design. at this moment i am not particularly sure what sort of material i will use, it might be a paper or cloth, or even wood panels. i think firstly i will need to decide on exact design and then figure material based on complexity and handling.

this is my first sketch which i made some time ago. i think it is too explicit and reminds me of some concerned god-wanna-be. I think inspiration for this one comes from a roller-coaster head design which i saw in abandoned amusement park in berlin few years ago.

I happened to stumble upon an image which was an exact realisation of my idea but 97 years ago. The film is called Cabiria and it was directed by Giovanni Pastrone in Italy in 1914. This is an image taken on the film set:

Cabiria. [image online] Available at: <> [Accessed 16 October 2011].

[Egyptian Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, Cairo, Egypt, between 1900 and 1920]. [image online] Available at: <
886_egyptian_pyramids_and_great_sphinx_egypt.html> [Accessed 16 October 2011].

I imagine in historical times when people were building mythical god-like sculptures or faces it was for a crowd control. They would appear scary and powerful and very handy for emperors or other people in ranks to impress people and ensure they obey. They might have suggested a power of influence and some sort of spirituality. As people become more and more agnostic and scientifically erudite these huge chunks of stone doesn’t arouse anyone’s eyebrow today. Some might marvel a skill of craft making them but mostly they come like a monumental relics with slightly faded glory.

When i started to sketch the designs i realised the necessity to eliminate any quotations of godliness but here are some more sketches which do look like an entrance to the king’s wardrobe:

I started to think about how people do percept face. It is round and smooth, it does contain many shapes and lines, and holes and all these elements seem to interlock in quite perceivable cohesion. If i imagine myself being a visiting alien i would find people faces most outrageous creations on this planet because they look very weird . But i am one of these creations myself so i don’t stand a chance to look upon a face from different point of perception but the one i obtained and developed since my birth. It is something to do with pattern recognition and how brain processes shapes, how it knows it is a face.

Sharp lines doesn’t exist in nature as much as in man made things so i thought i should try to smooth out sharp corners and give my face more flexibility and curves. I drew this half/half head representing original footage and my interpretation in blocks:

Followed by few others soft circle creations:

I really like my last drawing. It is not particularly in my preferred style which usually expresses my love towards robots and cyber-shaped creatures. This one feels very tribal and unusual to me. I would like to explore more smooth shapes and come to an ultimate sketch for this project in this technique.

Why face?

I have chosen to create a stage set design which will be formed as a face. Not a particular face belonging to a person or certain gender or race, it will be more like a symbolic recall in ones mind, a childhood memory or a new experience which will transcend through the form and light.

As far as i remember myself getting familiar with pen and paper i always had a tendency to draw faces. They could have been of someone in my family, friends but most of the time imaginative, unreal and outlandish beings purely born out of the matter of my imagination. I was amused by coincidence of drawing lines and forming some sort of feature which grabbed immediate attention. Nevertheless on the paper, face is always a call for emotional response, means of human communication and source for inspiration and self-observation. It is almost like looking in the mirror and seeing augmented “self-reflection”, sometimes pretty and sometimes ugly. A face is like a passport, it tells everything about you in a mere glimpse of second, but it is a mysterious way how this information is dealt with in someone’s head.

The reason why i chose to work on face again is to finally lure out my inner creator of these phantasy shaped beings and give it a voice. By building it as a projection sculpture i will have a wonderful chance to add some life to it. It wont talk but it will listen. And it will communicate through the visual appearance. The face will be an immediate response to the environment and surroundings will be in charge to create and alter the aesthetics of this formation.

Everyone is born with a face. It lets us be identified as individuals and unchanging surface of ones face allows someone to remember that particular person if encountered again. I intend to create a face which keeps changing every second and there is no such possibility to recall it in a traditional cognitive manner nor get used to it and form a subjective interpretation about it. I want to explore and broaden people ability to interact with facial feature in unusual setting and challenge their psychological impulses. I think it might be quite disturbing at some point but i am happy to give it a run.

I found this beautiful video in which media artist Zach Lieberman with other colleagues created a face mapping piece by hacking Kinect software. For full article please click here.

Lieberman, Z., 2011. Chase no face/ Bell. Available at: <; [Accessed 15 October 2011]. 

Specialist Project. Task management sheet.

Throughout my Specialist project i will work on a stage design prototype which will embrace elements such as 3d video mapping, construction design, live visual feed and sensor technology. My aim is to develop a fully functioning visual set design which will work as a complimentary backdrop for various music events.
We have 7 weeks to accomplish our idea so time and task management seems like a must. I will track development process after each week and update on my progress against this task management sheet.

my learning agreement can be found here.