How you look at the world is everything, at least we think so. Lumen & Forge specializes in this process. With projection mapping, everyday objects from mannequins to skyscrapers can be transformed into an illusionary wonder. Any space can be turned into an awe-inspiring fantasyworld.
What is Projection Mapping?
To put it simply, projection mapping is the art of mapping video content onto any shape or surface. While it sounds simple, the process is meticulous and software heavy. This brings us to 3D projection mapping, which takes any benign object and brings it to life using content that is custom made for the object itself.
Traditional video mapping involves projecting content onto a flat surface, where 3D projection mapping can be used to transform any 3D shape into a lifelike display. For example, let’s take a simple white cube. With traditional video mapping, we would project onto the sides separately, using a different projector for each surface of the cube. However, with 3D projection mapping, we would use or create custom content specifically tailored to fit the cube. This would allow us to put unique, optical illusions within the cube, such as adding a spinning ball of fire inside of it, or making the cube look as if it is melting or crumbling away.
If you imagine this on a larger scale, such as with 3D building projection – we could make the building appear to change materials, have it look as if it is on fire, give audiences a peek inside the building’s walls and so forth. With 3D projection mapping, the visual possibilities are limitless. From realistic animations and video to abstract projections to entire story driven scenes, projection mapping is a canvas for your imagination. The art of projection mapping accentuates real life through video, taking a benign object and making it look however you want.
HOW IT'S DONE
Using a combination of a playback device, projector and a projector surface, we can take a base object, map the projection onto it, and transform it into a multidimensional video screen.
PROJECTION MAPPING SERVICES WE OFFER
Large Scale video Projection Mapping
Sculpture accents, enhancements and theme changes
Themed stage and screen frames
Shadowless rear projection screens
Interactive projection mapping
Mapping existing content to 3D surfaces
Bespoke 3D generated content customized for specific surfaces
WHAT IS PROJECTION MAPPING USED FOR?
Projection mapping can be used for essentially any purpose. While the technique has been used since the late 1960s, projection mapping as we know it did not come about until the early 2000s. It was first used mainly as an enhancement to live-music stages but today can be found in virtually any industry. From branding, product showcases, live-music events, trade shows and virtually anything that could benefit from a memorable guest experience, projection mapping is takes experiential marketing to another level.
TIME MACHINE PROJECT – LAS VEGAS, 2019
We projected 5,000 sq ft of custom visuals across an entire building’s front surface.
SOME OTHER IDEAS FOR PROJECTION MAPPING USES
- A fashion show or window display utilizing mannequins to showcase various outfits. With projection mapping, we could bring these mannequins to life by changing the colors of the clothing, adding facial expressions or changing outfits entirely.
- A minimalistic store with projection mapped elements to guide shoppers towards certain products.
- A car show, with vehicles changing colors or wraps with the optical illusion of a holographic effect projected on the vehicle. With 3D projection mapping, we could even add passengers to the vehicle, simulating a family enjoying a country ride while beautiful passing landscapes can be seen through the windows.
- An interactive gallery, where projection mapped statues react to guests’ movement. For example, we could program the statue to react to guests as they wave, triggering a wink and a smile and even activating a vocal response to the guest.
- A cinematic projection mapped time-lapse of a building under construction. Using 3D projection mapping, we could simulate the building being built in high-speed right before your very eyes.
These are just a few quick examples of the limitless possibilities with projection mapping.
WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT'S DONE
A very integral part of projection mapping is something called grid mapping. This is arguably the most challenging aspect of projection mapping as it requires pixel perfect corrections to properly match the object’s surface.
To give you a better idea of what this, we’ve documented the process behind one of our simpler projects. For this endeavor, we built and mapped an interactive mural using a two-projector solution.
GRID MAPPING AN INTERACTIVE MURAL
We installed the mural and projectors here at our workshop and set up our specialized mapping software to calibrate our grid:
First, we adjust aspect ratios so that the dimensions of the projected content matched those of the physical mural
Then, we edge-blended the map, softening the inner edges of the two projections. This process creates a gradual fade between images – flawlessly stitching them together and making any overlap unnoticeable
The most meticulous part of the process involved going into the mapping software and calibrating specific grid points. During this crucial process, we aligned the projected content with the physical mural itself. This involved selecting dozens of points across the grid and adjusting them pixel by pixel
Once everything was properly gridded and we had an impeccably calibrated image, we were ready to test our content and see the mural in action.
How we map 3D objects is quite similar, albeit a bit more involved. We’ll be posting a guide to this process soon. In the meantime, why don’t you check out some of our previous projection mapping projects?