Pool Party: Red Paper Heart

Curator: Daniel Savage
date: January 18, 2013
Categories: Environmental Design, Experience Design, Motion Graphics
Tags: animation, party, pool
Pool party

To conclude my week’s stay at Design Envy, I want to leave you with a question:  How does one project motion graphics onto water? It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But Charlie Whitney and Zander Brimijoin of Red Paper Heart decided 65,000 ping pong balls would do the trick, and the result is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time.

From Red Paper Heart: 

UrbanDaddy challenged us to create a memorable interactive experience in water. Our desire was to create animations that partygoers could swim through. Initially, we had no idea how to make this a reality. 

Pools are not exactly the most projection-ready surfaces, and initial brainstorms produced many more challenges than we had anticipated. In researching a solution, we had to overcome the fact that projection doesn’t work on the surface of water; it becomes distorted if you project through it, and pool parties are notorious for more standing than swimming. To make something truly interactive, we needed to get everyone in that pool! 

We reacted as any any normal person would, and promptly put in an order for 65,000 ping pong balls, enough to cover the entire surface of the pool. To go with our new screen, we created an application which mapped to the pool and displayed a floating river of graphics, pulled by an invisible tide. Audio reactive visuals bumped along with the various dj’s and musical acts taking place poolside. The tactile quality of swimming through ping pong balls, combined with animated colors and light, created an interactive event worth telling stories about.

They said there will be a video of the event online in the next week or two, but for now you can view all the photos here.

Aqualillies ready for a dip

Aqualillies

Projected motion graphics

Aqualillies showing some leg

Underwater view

  • FifiLaRue

    Seen it!… 
    Mathew Barney: Gellert Thermal Baths, and the Fudor Sprites in the pool of pearls. Still in this completely different context it works well, makes sense.

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