Projection mapping has come a long way in a relatively small period of time. It stimulates the senses, breaks the convention of 2D displays, and frees video from expensive screens and places them on everyday objects. The technique has been used in installations, experimental films and is starting to appear in advertising.
Johnny Chung Lee’s Automatic Projector Calibration thesis work focused on fitting a projected image perfectly onto a moveable target without distorting the image. He accomplished this by embedding light sensors into portable displays to allow the projector’s calibration cycle to recognize the boundaries of the display. His thesis went further to state that if we combine visible light and infrared light in one projector, we can create a single calibration-free device which is able to perform invisible location tracking to match projected light to any surface at any angle.
In his words, “Embedding light sensors to enable automatic projector calibration allows us to rethink projection technology.” Pretty cool stuff.
Projection mapping in installations has the unique advantage that the geometry of the space can be precisely controlled and mapped to. Using projectors to project colored light onto white surfaces in a dark room can have a tremendous impact. When every angle and every corner has been mapped, light installations have the ability to transform every surface of complex objects into video displays. A great example of this is Envision – Step into the sensory box.
Projection mapping has started to make its way into the realm of experimental film as well. The ability to map stunning video to complex objects and capture all of the rich reflections is something that would be nearly impossible in post-processing. Also, projecting light on objects frees the camera to capture any angle, which is awesome. Take a look at Xavier Cassaing’s, experimental film using still photographs, stop motion and live projection mapping techniques. The orchid petals, stockings, and mantle are all mapped. The effect is mesmerizing.
No projection technique would be complete without a solid example of its marketing/advertising implementation. Mini led the way with its Augmented Reality car on the back of a magazine a few years back. They demonstrate their consistency in staying ahead of the curve with their projection mapping advertisement. Take a look below.
How and where will projection mapping begin to enter our daily lives? Have any good examples to share? Leave them in the comments!