Cámara Lúcida. R+D.

"I thought I only saw and heard (...) 
that it was just a reflector of images, 
a blank folding screen 
on which reality projected colors and light
instead of shadows ..." 
Fernando Pessoa

Camara Lucida is an open-source software toolkit for artists, programmers and designers to make ludic interfaces and digital artifacts based on real-time projection mapping on physical objects.

It uses a 3d Camera-Projector system with a RGBD camera (a kinect) to make a 3d representation of the scene and project graphics on top of physical objects in real-time.

Calibration module:


It's based on the open-source projects RGBDemo by Nicolas Burrus and OpenCV. It calibrates the projector-camera system and saves the data for further usage.

Calibration tutorial

Render module:

ofxCamaraLucida (openframeworks addon)

mapping is achieved by projecting the graphics render from the projector viewpoint.

  • loads the calibration data
  • performs the set up of the graphics framework to render from the projector point of view
  • makes a 3d mesh from a depth map (the depth map is fed by the custom application, so camera capture is decoupled)
  • renderd to a texture on the 3d mesh (the texture contains the custom application graphics).


...what kinds of digital artifacts can be made with this tool, being design, art works, games, toys, learning tools, ...? How are the creative processes geared by the tool? What kind of interactions can be designed?

Built with Cámara Lúcida: Afluentes

Presentation at Piksel '11

Piksel is an annual event for artists and developers working with free and open source software, hardware and art. Part workshop, part festival, it is organised in Bergen, Norway, and involves participants from more than a dozen countries exchanging ideas, coding, presenting art and software projects, doing workshops, performances and discussions on the aesthetics and politics of free and open source software.

Afluentes featured by Kinect Hacks