A Brief Introduction to 3D Projection Mapping

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about 3D projection mapping. I first heard about it from an electronic music enthusiast who plans to acquire projection mapping software and add this extreme visual component to his live shows. But many people were introduced to projection mapping from the coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi this year or from the viral video of projection mapping shown below, a pre-game show on the court floor at a Cleveland Cavaliers game. Prepare to be astonished.

So, now that you have seen these two incredible examples of projection mapping, you have probably figured out the basic concept. 3D projection mapping turns objects, either two- or three-dimensional, into surfaces for high definition video projection. Special projection mapping software allows artists and advertisers to create stunning optical illusions on otherwise inanimate objects. Is there any better demonstration of the principle that lighting affects the way spaces look more than anything else?

You have seen two awesome examples of videos projected onto flat surfaces. Now, check out the video below to see how projection mapping looks on irregular surfaces. This is a popular application of projection mapping, and it’s literally changing the landscape of advertising.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this very brief introduction to projection mapping. Next time I am going to offer a tutorial on how to do it yourself at home. Until then, have fun scouring the interwebs for more videos and unique applications of 3D projection mapping.

Tom Sowders

After majoring in creative writing at NC State, I worked in the home remodeling industry. Then, I attended graduate school for a really long time and gained experience as a writer and writing instructor. I live in the Raleigh-Durham area with my wife and baby boy, and you can find me around the Triangle anywhere there's good music and/or NC-style BBQ.

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