You’ve no doubt seen more than one example, either out there in the real world or here on the blog, but maybe you don’t know what it’s called: projection mapping. It’s the practice of mapping imagery directly to a non-flat surface so that the images don’t look distorted in any way, and, in fact, look 3D, as though they’re a part of the surface – or jumping off of the surface – on which they’re projected. It’s starting to be pretty big business.
For a quick introduction to the many ways people are using this, check out this very basic blog, which simply contains a ton of videos of these projection mapping performances. Some of them are more than a little amazing.
And how does one start to map these projections? Yes, with laser scanning, or photogrammetry, or structured light, or some other way of grabbing reality, creating a point cloud, and then using that to begin the design of the projection.
Perhaps the most famous example of this going around right now is the amazing live show put on by Amon Tobin, one of the hottest electronic dance music purveyors in the world. His show is incredible, as he performs from within a cube built into a huge structure on the stage. Check out the reception to the debut of his current tour here:
People are pretty impressed, right? Do not underestimate this entertainment and gaming market and its potential for 3D capture business growth. Everyone is going to want this kind of immersive experience eventually – your standard movie on a screen just isn’t going to be enough. How that 3D is created and projected back is a business that’s evolving quickly and fluidly, and they’re going to need professionals with reality capture experience to help them figure it out.
For the Amon Tobin set, Chicago firm Leviathan, worked with V Squared Labs. And they made a video talking about how they did it. How handy for us. Take a look, and while you’re doing it, think about what the other applications for this kind of technology might be.