From top: a 2010 example of the mapping techniques at work, a workshop that launched the new software tool.

More than a gimmick, projection mapping – calibrating visuals to various projection surfaces in 3D – has become an essential technique in live performance visuals. That means visualists will inevitably be looking for tools that help them project on things other than flat rectangles.

At Switzerland’s Mapping Festival this month, one such tool made its official public debut. MadMapper comes from the creators of Modul8, a tool that already has some mapping features in it. A demo version is available for Mac users, with licenses for two computers at EUR299. Documentation is scant at this point, but we’ll be looking more at this software as it evolves – doubly so as it makes use of the inter-app, open source Mac visual framework Syphon, which we’re tracking closely.

Because it works with Syphon, it can also be used with a wide variety of visual tools, from Processing and OpenFrameworks to more conventional, end-user-focused VJ apps like VDMX (as well as, of course, Modul8).

You can get a rough idea from the screenshot and basic tutorial:

Courtesy Modul8. Click for full-sized version.

Here’s a quick look at some of what it can do in video form. There’s a 2010 mapping project on a tennis court, at top. It’s the product of collective 1024 architecture, whose work I recently celebrated on Create Digital Music.:
With Neon Guitars and Immersive Projection, 1024 Architecture Become Audiovisual Rock Band

There’s also, from Ilan Katin and the project’s originator, a one-night installation in Berlin, below, and video of Laurent Garnier from this month at bottom by Paradigm Collective (using a more recent iteration of the software).

But perhaps the coolest part of the whole launch is the fact that they were able to mix cocktails with DMX-controlled blenders. Wasting away again in DMX…

Frz of 1024 architecture mans DMX-powered blenders at Geneva’s Le Zoo club, for the launch party. Courtesy Modul8.

Finally, we’ll close with some of the goodness from the Mapping Festival Party. Wish I could have been there.

Stay tuned for more on MadMapper, and let us know if you have hands-on experience with the demo. (Also, do let us know if you have documentation of all that happened at Mapping this month!)

The new site:

  • I was lucky enough to be able to attend the workshop and I was really impressed by the software. The fact that everyone had it and was up and mapping in less than 30 minutes was really nice, considering the wide range of skillsets.

    It also impressively handles tons of screens at once. I had a triple head and 30 different surfaces all sourced from a vdmx source that had 4 sub-sources all running on my macbook pro and there were very few hiccups, if any.

    There are a few features that I am waiting for in the next update (ie midi/osc and animation control..all of these are planned/implemented I believe, they just didn't get added due to needed bug fixes). It's a fantastically stable and easy to use piece of software though.

    Started playing around with the demo last night- super fun! I'll definitely be putting something larger together at some point this summer.

  • Nice interface, but seriously lacking for me in it's inability to do a curved mesh warp. This makes it only currently suitable for image distortion onto very geometric surfaces. Fine for a bespoke show with a designed surface, but not good for simply getting a usable image on a existing surface.

  • Mad Mapper rocks!!!

  • Riley

    Ive run it and its nice to have syphon built it. Played with vdmx and mod8 @ LPM in Rome. Software seems solid, though there are some interesting open source solutions in the works with OF and C++. Been contributing to these and they will be really nice, just lacking in the GUI end.