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Lighttwist is a volumetric projection system. It is currently used to project on the Cyclorama, a large cylindrical display (click the picture below to get inside it).


It was invented by Université de Montréal professor Sébastien Roy and is being further developed under his direction by Vincent Chapdelaine-Couture and Louis Bouchard. It was presented to some of us two years ago on the fringes of LGM 2007. In 2009, LGM is coming back to Montréal and Lighttwist is back… with more than a twist.

Sébastien and his team joined us for the Google Summer of Code. In a week we’ll know if this summer we’ll see a Lighttwist related project sponsored by Google.

He also responded to the call for presentations to LGM and will likely present the latest development at LGM. The number of projectors have doubled from seven to 14. For the same cylinder. What’s this twist?

Last but not least, we’re working out the details to run a show on Lighttwist at LGM, with a live video performance, a couple of short movies and a slide show of panoramas. If you produce panoramic movies, or if you produce panoramic images (in cylindrical projection, 360°x29.3° – 7200x600px with the horizon at 1/3 from the bottom), contact me to be featured at the show.

With so many projectors, related computers and big screen, Lighttwist may seem intimidating. But it is not. This weekend Vincent published an addendum to the user guide for the minimalist Lighttwist configuration – on a single PC. Add a few video cards and a webcam and you’re all set for a start into volumetric projection. Did I mention that Lighttwist is Open Source?

4 Responses

  1. Neat! I assume from the lack of projectors in your image that this is all rear-projected. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of this project before. Two of my colleagues work on similar problems. One has worked with a company called Elumenati on projecting on dome surfaces. One of the founders of Elumenati (D’nardo Colucci) used to be a tech in one of our labs here at the University of Minnesota. Before he left he designed a large display wall which my other colleague now works on called the VR Window.

    I’ve put some of my panos up on the VR Window before. It’s designed to run OpenGL applications across the entire window in real time so they can easily render any cube-map in real time and seeing it at that scale is quite impressive but I imagine it’s nothing compared to a full surround system like this.

    Very cool!

  2. @Seth: yes, in this incarnation it was rear-projected. It is very flexible.

  3. Hi,

    We have a large 40′ diameter, 14′ high panoramic screen with 6 sxga+ projectors. We have had a few artists create works for it, but they have taken a very proprietary approach. I am very interested in lighttwist, but unfortunately don’t speak French. I will try to get through the documentation with automatic translation services, but any help is appreciated!


  4. @Eric: I sent you my contact detail and will be happy to help you make the most of your hardware and ditch the proprietary solution which if I my research is correct is from a German entity that committed a massive copyright infringement last year.

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