The growing popularity of 3D projection mapping has captured the interest of many enthusiasts and the general population alike. Projection mapping, which is also referred to as video mapping, is the art of using technology to project dynamic visuals on physical objects or spaces. Projection mapping uses spaces or objects as a surface to create visuals as opposed to using a conventional screen. The resulting visuals are often larger than life manifestations of striking images. Although projection mapping was quite popular in Europe, it has recently garnered a lot of attention in other parts of the world. Due to the versatility, creativity and grandeur that projection mapping can bring to the screen, it has found application in several realms of business, technology, art and entertainment. Be it the Grammy Awards, and big brands such as Coca-Cola and Volkswagen, projection mapping is being extensively used for several intents and purposes.
If you are still wondering what the projection mapping buzz is all about, let us begin by telling you that if you saw an enormous display of visuals on the side of a building, and were awed by it, most likely you have had your first projection mapping experience. It is quite common for people to want to learn about projection mapping or even bring it to their own company or project. In any case, here is a simple guide on understanding the physical, technical and creative aspects pertaining to projection mapping. Projection mapping is a result of precisely four components that make a visual experience:
- Projection Hardware
Unlike conventional videos, content for projection mapping has to be custom-fit according to the surface you have chosen to project it. Projection mapping content can be anything like animation, visual, video, abstract, etc. Unlike traditional video content, projection mapping content has to be tailored to fit the chosen surface. For instance, if your visual consists of a cube-shaped brand logo and your surface are round or flat without edges, your projection visual may not look as appealing and complete as it would look otherwise.
Your 3D Projection mapping project can go completely kaput if it is not used with the right kind of projection hardware. The scale and grandeur of projection mapping cannot be accommodated by a single room projector and one needs ample light to create the right effect. Although the hardware is quite ‘hard’ on the pocket, it is not something you can compromise with if you wish to bring a state-of-the-art projection mapping experience to your audience. Make sure to consider the size of your canvas (surface) and the visual size you will be creating before choosing the projector.
The surface is the physical space where you will be displaying your projection mapping visuals, video, art, etc. In most cases, light coloured building walls function as excellent surfaces for project mapping especially if they have a plain and linear surface. Choose an appropriate site so that you can get the most out of your projection mapping project. Thankfully, technological advancements have also made it possible for projection mapping professionals to create the most enthralling visuals even on unconventional surfaces.
Mapping refers to the technical aspect of conforming the projection visual to a particular surface. Although it is one of the most challenging aspects of the entire project, it is the most rewarding one. Mapping requires extensive technical acumen and can involve almost pixel-perfect corrections (often less than a quarter-inch) that are carried out using specialized software, to match the content to the surface contours. Mapping is also one of the most time-consuming aspects of projection mapping, as a mapping team may need as much as an extra day ahead of an actual projection mapping event to set up and craft a display.