Building an Indoor Projection Mapped Thunderstorm in a Studio Apartment

Frank Pizzuta
4 min readMay 4, 2022


Now that headline already is a mouthful and a half I realize, but bear with me for a moment as I explain the craziness that was my final project of my college career.

This wild ride started with two ideas, one being a comically large Etch-A-Sketch that would print out generative art for you, and the other one, a real window that with a flip of a switch you could make it thunderstorm in a projection mapped backyard.

The window idea won.

I wanted to base my idea on how Disney originally built out frames for hand drawn illustrations in order to give the window a sense of depth, as well as providing a space for the water to drain out without flooding the space or ruining what I had built.

The next problem, I live in a studio apartment that is just large enough for what I own, let alone a wood working space.

Regardless of the space limitations, I pressed on. I used two overhead sized suitcases as saw horses, and I built my two frames. These would serve as the structure for the window, to give it some substance, and overall shape. They are each 2x3 ft in size and cut with small hacksaw from 8ft pieces of wood.

A major component, aside from the window, was the backyard that would fill the space. So I illustrated three “frames” that I would later project into the scene. A day, night, and lightning flash. Each would allow me to switch throughout as I needed. I then projected, and traced them onto poster board and cut them out with an exacto knife.

From here I began to build out the Arduino system that would ultimately be controlled by a lightswitch, and would influence what was being MadMapp-ered into the scene.

I used these:

A lot of hot glue, a trip to Longwood Gardens, and a few apartment floods later, I had a working prototype!

With all the parts assembled and put together with equal amounts hot glue and hope, the last step was to combine the physical window with the projected environment so that it could all come together.

And with that my college experience came to a close somehow, the last step is to have it displayed in a Creative Code showcase in the next week before graduation, but this was too exciting to not share already.

Thank you for reading through! :)



Frank Pizzuta

Hey! Let me be Frank with you. My name is Frank Pizzuta, and I am a Communication Design graduate, an aspiring UX Designer, and a sandwich enthusiast.