Environment, Featured, openFrameworks
comments 3

Light Leaks – Filling a room with projected light

light_leaks_kyleJonas_08 copy


Created by Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan for the CLICK Festival 2013 in Helsingør, Denmark, Light Leaks is a light installation comprised of fifty mirror balls projecting controlled light in the room.

The general idea was to make use of found objects, in this case mirror balls, which as Kyle explains to CAN have a fairly chaotic structure compared to the perfect grid of a projected image we are accustomed to. Having been influenced by Kyle’s work with Joanie Lemercier at ScreenLab in Manchester last year, where he learned how important peripheral vision can be in creating an immersive experience, Light Leaks is an attempt to fill a room with projected light in a way that can’t be achieved with projectors alone.

The pile of fifty balls sites in the centre of the room that has three projectors pointed at them. After placing everything approximately in their desired locations, it takes Kyle and Jonas about 15 minutes to take a series of five or six of structured light scans, consisting of 41 images each, where they photograph different patterns reflecting off the balls and hitting the walls. This collection of 200-250 images allows them to reconstruct the position of every pixel being projected by every projector. Once they have all that data, they line it up with a simple 3d model built in SketchUp which provides a reference for things like positions and normals of of the reflections.


Optically, this is much related to Kyle’s work with Elliot Woods earlier this year, ExR3. The main difference is this piece creates a dynamic scene using projectors instead of covering the room in markings.

Currently the piece consists of a handful of scenes that last about twenty seconds each. Kyle explains that it is really difficult to develop this kind of work without all the materials in place, and they are looking forward to the next opportunity to install this and push the visuals farther (now that they have all the technical challenges solved).

Kyle guided the overall design and wrote the code for recovering the position of all the reflections, and Jonas focused on the shader code that implemented some of the different effects that fill the room.

Kyle McDonald | Jonas Jongejan | More images on Flickr | Code on GitHUb

See also ‘Starfield’ by Lab212 – Interactive galaxy, the swing and Kinect


  • Puce

    I would love to hear more about methods used to compute the reflections attributes. “Awesome great job !”

  • Marius Jigoreanu

    The name of the city is Helsingør. Thanks for the article!

  • Suricate Maluco