What is Projection Mapping?

What is Projection Mapping?

Projection Mapping, also known as ‘spatial augmented reality’, leading the era of manipulated media content on real life objects is becoming more and more of a trend. From buildings to cakes it seems like anything can be projected on given the right tools for the job. Let’s try to explore what projection mapping is, where it started and how it is used today.

This form of digital art is nothing new in terms of technology. Some examples can be seen dating back to early 2000s but how can we get a better understanding of what it really is. One simple way of describing it would be projected video clips onto 3D objects in the real world using projectors. Although for many people video clips might mean something more like a movie or a Youtube video however moving textures and shapes in video format which maybe dull on their own are essential for video artists to give life to the objects they project on whether large or small.

But how did we get here? Well, the art of using projected images is nothing as well and can be seen as early as 1600s with one of the most notable examples being the Magic Lantern. This invention used paintings, prints and photos on transparent surfaces combined with an oil lamp projecting the images through the lens of the device. First used for entertainment with later implementation in education, this invention provided people with the first version of what is known of a projector.

Okay, now we understand where projections come from and what in essence projection mapping is, but where can we see video mapping today. Well, that’s definitely not a challenge. From concerts and live performances to advertising and video recordings, projections are becoming a beacon of the pull towards virtual reality and just might be that bridge making virtual reality much easier to experience and interact with. So let’s take a look at some modern examples of mapping pieces:

 

1.Real-time tracking and Projection Mapping

Even though real-time tracking is still in development and needs a lot of custom solutions to achieve responsiveness and accuracy this piece will definitely impress you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkXrLZmnQ_M&t=132s

 

2.Winner of iMapp 2016, Visionary Projection Mapping

Big buildings and huge projections are very popular in the world of video mapping and here is one very notable example of such artwork.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1v4W95wJnM

3.Le Petite Chef

Now let’s bring the scale down drastically with this quite pretty and cute example of how practical and flexible mapping can be combined with interesting marketing  strategies to achieve any goal.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBJEP4lsRFY

Even though virtual reality might be reserved for the future as we observe its growth and development, projection mapping is here now and definitely won’t be going away any time soon. As we see more and more involvement from end brands and entertainment creators and providers it will be only a matter of time before companies see the benefits of projection mapping in terms of marketing and engagement compared to traditional methods. So the question here is Why Wait? We have seen many technology trends emerge and take their place as innovations leading the way in their industries such as the internet, social media etc and with them many people leveraged the strength in technology and made both a living and a name for themselves so what is the moral of the story? The time is now, so don’t let yourself miss this opportunity as we all have in the past…

 

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