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Facade Projections at ETH Zurich


By architecture students of ETH Zurich.

Lukas Treyer writesL

During Christmas 2010 and 2011 we, architecture students of ETH Zurich, used projections to illuminate the piazza at ETH Campus Hönggerberg. We tried to not only project animated illusions as they are known from other light festivals, but to make classical architecture communicate with the modern building.

With spacial illusions it is important to know that the illusion usually works only for one view point. Due to our shifted camera method and Blender's "driver" feature (simplified python scripts) we are now able to animate the view point as well. For more information on our method please check out our website.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. beautiful! but what the hell is wrong with the people passing by? nobody even glanced the projection... tsk tsk tsk..


  2. Beautiful work and great illusion it creates...beautiful.
    but really, why didn't anyone show much interest in it? Very demotivating :-( ....... this work deserves much more respect.

    • I'm not really surprised to be perfectly honest. While the work was superb, unless you have something smack dab in their face many people won't take notice. As my economics/business teacher in high school always said "you only have five seconds to get someone's attention or they'll pass you by".

      • chromemonkey on

        Maybe you had to stand at a distance away to accurately see what was being represented, if that is the case, then the people who noticed were standing way behind the camera.

  3. So.... can this be seen from other points of view, or not...?

    I would like to do this in my country. Do you know any tutorials where this can be learned?

  4. Thank you for the nice comments and the compassion by some of you. But speaking about the low interest I might need to share an  insight on spacial illusions: STICK TO 50MM! In 35mm
    photography that's the focal width that corresponds to the human eye's
    "zoom". Unfortunately we rendered our scenes with a
    32mm lens, which means the projected illusions didn't appear as perfect as you experience them
    when watching the movie. As in the movie the geometry seems to create a proper illusion, in reality (with our own eyes) it seemed to be
    a bit too much wide angle (15mm = wide angle, 200mm = zoom).
    don't know if that was the reason for the low interest though. I rather
    think it's because nobody lives on the campus yet, people mainly work
    there and in cold December evenings they just want to go home. And the non freezing guys go straight to the glühwein spot,
    which happened to be our assumed viewing angle. But there they dedicated
    their attention to their drinks and their small talk... at least that's
    what we see in the movie ;-) The projections were on for about 3 weeks
    (Christmas time). So the interest may have been distributed a bit over
    several days. And they had no music!! But I'm not sure if I would want
    to inlude music.

    At least one of them even took a photograph!
    @Stefan2142: Yes, projected spacial illusions allow for only one view point. We came around this only lately by automatically calculating the camera's shift value with drivers based on the cameras position (look at the linked webpage). This will let you animate the view point but not let you experience the illusion from different angles at the same time.

    • very interesting, you'll intend to publish the results of your experimentations?
      edit: sorry, i noticed the site :D

  5. Great work!!  I would love to work on a project like this.   Thanks for sharing what you learned. 

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