Willy Nolan


Project Title Description

The software requirements for the visual control system at Halcyon in San Francisco were straightforward. It needed to control nine HD projectors as well as the club lighting system. More interesting was the process of pixel mapping the 20 universes of individually addressable LEDs.

Mapping LEDs is a commonly sought after task. Typically people create a structure, cover it with strips of LEDs and then want to be able to apply a video or image to that structure. This is where it usually gets more interesting.

The mapping approach used at Halcyon was very similar to how texture mapping works in 3D animation and is loosely shown in the second image. The process went like this:

  • - Create a 3D model of the LED structure where every vertex represents an LED
  • - Unwrap and UV map the model
  • - Apply a texture to the newly UV mapped model
  • - Sample the color at each vertex and set each LED to the sampled value

In this way anyone can pre-visualize how content is going to appear on the structure in real time.

The featured video shows the final installation before the nightclub opened. There are more examples online.

The code for a somewhat simplified version of this project is available here.