Even if the name is unfamiliar you’ve probably seen the technique. As defined by Wikipedia projection mapping is ‘any method of mapping three-dimensional points to a two dimensional plane’, in the real world it means amazing animation and special effects projected onto buildings, physical products and performers to name but a few.
The basics of projection mapping are relatively straightforward. In a standard projection setup the screen is flat and lens and screen are positioned parallel to each other to avoid visual distortions. Projection mapping tools eliminate these restrictions by allowing for real time 3D manipulation of the video source material prior to projection thereby allowing artists, technical wizards and enthusiats to make a screen out of almost anything.
As spectacular as the previous examples are the most interesting work being done with projection mapping involves mapping combined with interactivity, gaming, natural user interface controls, real time projection tracking and environmental response.
Real Time Projection Mapping
Ok, so not quite real time but still a very impressive start. The next version will be much faster and will likely use infrared to do the alignment and thus invisible during alignment.
While the latter examples are largely proof of concept in nature they do a fantastic job showing the path ahead for these technologies and in particular what’s possible when an interactive screen can be literally anywhere.