The Aztec Sun Stone 3D Videomapping

Rik Herder

Exhibition Maker, National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands (NMVW)

Museum Volkenkunde

National Museum of World Cultures / Museum Volkenkunde Postbus 212 2300 AE Leiden The Netherlands

Heritage in Motion Games and Interactive Experiences 2020 Award



The Aztec Sun Stone Theatre



The Sun Stone is the most famous of all Aztec artworks: a huge, three meter wide stone intricately carved with figures and symbols. The stone tells the story of the birth and destruction of our world, and the Gods who gave their lives to recreate the world for us humans.

How to unlock these beautiful stories, hidden in symbols that can only be read by a handful of scholars? By bringing the stone itself to life: by animating it with a technique called video-mapping (also called projection-mapping). This is a very complicated technique that combines many disciplines and media and requires extreme precision in design, engineering and construction


First, we made an exact copy of the physical stone. Then, we recreated the stone in the animation software, so we could make the stone come to life. Finally, the animation was projected onto the stone. This creates the suggestion of movement in the stone: a magical effect.




With extra projections to the left and right of the stone, the animation explains how the Aztec universe was created by the Gods who sacrificed themselves; and to repay them, the humans have to bring offerings to the Gods. Once visitors have been to the Sun Stone theatre, they have a much better understanding of the Aztec world view.

The Aztecs is an international exhibition co-produced by the Linden Museum in Stuttgart and Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. The Sun Stone Theatre was produced by Redrum animation-studio and designed by Opera Amsterdam exhibition-designers.




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