You’re going to hear this a lot: “mapping” is more than just “projection mapping.” It’s the liberation of the digital image from screens and cinema-style rectangles, the ability to merge that imagery with any surface or lighting. That’s the idea – then, hand in hand with the idea, there are the tools. Tools both reflect and drive the art of immersive visuals.

MadMapper is neither the first nor the only mapping tool, but it has led the way to these techniques for a great many artists. A new beta release out in the last few days has some technology that demonstrates how you can go beyond just mapping shapes with projectors. There’s also a (non-beta) MadMapper update with loads of fixes.

First, the beta: 1.3 has newfeatures for lighting, and in particular, is more savvy when it comes to LED and lighting displays. Increasingly, big live shows and installations are turning to these technologies to make eye-popping visual experiences. MadMapper 1.3 uses the ArtNet protocol to pump your pixels to those display systems. Features:

New DMX fixture surfaces
A fixture editor and library
Auto channel numbering
7 types of pixel configurations (RGB, RGBL, RGBW, LRGBW, RGBWL, L, CMY)
New ArtNet support
Full ArtNet range, up to 131072 DMX channels
Real time setup and pixel mapping
DMX dip switch preview
Real time ArtNet fixture preview
MadMapper 1.3 BETA has been tested with ODE Enttec hardware.
The ODE Enttec is available for purchase on the MadMapper yourspace page.

Back in the stable version, there are fixes relating to circles, multiple selections, compatibility, project files, and other functionality.

If you’re a MadMapper user, of course, you already know this. But for those watching the scene – including, yes, MadMappers’ would-be rivals and other key visual tools – the direction to more means of getting pixels into art and live shows is getting clearer.

Oh, and in case you missed it: I love that testers can compete for t-shirts when it comes to finding bugs.