What is 3D projection mapping and how does it works?
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Imagine if you could make even the most oddly shaped items come to life? And that is exactly what we’re going to dive in now.
Projection mapping produces the visual illusion of movement through the artistic manipulation of light. It converts everyday objects into attention-grabbing stages and nearly any surface into one-of-a-kind dynamic displays.
What is 3D projection mapping?
3D projection mapping is the art and science of using physical environments and objects as the surface for a projection rather than a standard screen. Also, often known as video mapping or simply “projection mapping”. The end product is a visually stunning, almost “magical” appearance that must be seen to be properly appreciated.
3D vs. 2D projection mapping
The primary distinction between 2D and 3D projection mapping is that 3D projection mapping takes into account the shape and contours of your projected surface. 2D refers to projection on flat surfaces such as screens and walls, whereas 3D refers to projection on three-dimensional objects. As images take physical form, 3D is capable of producing mind-bending effects by warping content with controlled software.
3D projection mapping, as compared with 2D projection, has greater effects on satisfaction and spatial presence, as well as recognition and memory for objects. 3D has a longer term ROI in project mapping systems compared to a 2D project mapping system. Also, 3D is far more expensive than 2D and significantly requires more time and planning when making the video or graphics.
We can employ 2D mapping to create massive visual displays that span entire walls from top to bottom in your venue. Whereas 3D projection may provide mind-bending effects by twisting content with controlled software as pictures take physical form. We can use 3D mapping to add inanimate things to your stage and create illusions around your guests.
How does 3D projection mapping work for events?
Step 1: 3D projection mapping
Laser scanning is a highly accurate way for capturing the details of an existing building or development site. Advanced scanners generate 3D representations known as point clouds by employing laser light. These point clouds contain information that is used to construct a map of the exact shape and size of physical things.
Laser scanning has grown in popularity for a range of building construction applications due to its speed and efficiency, as well as the accuracy of the resulting 3D representation of site circumstances.
However, if you haven’t seen 3D laser scanning applied on a construction site, it can be eye-opening to realise how powerful this mapping approach can be. The surface being projected on determines whether projection mapping is 2D or 3D.
Because the laser scanner used to produce the 3D map of your projection surface is a widespread tool in the construction sector, most AV companies will rely on a professional scanning company to provide this service and then construct the 3D model.
Laser scanning is often done around a month before the event and can take anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days to complete, depending on the size of the surface and the complexity of the object’s architecture. In the case of 3D mapping of a building, unimpeded views of the structure are required, and the scanning is often done in the early hours of the morning, when there is likely to be less activity.
Step 2: Consider audience position
When generating material to project onto a 3D surface, it is critical to consider the audience’s position; the content must be optimised for their perspective to offer the optimum experience.
For example, if the audience is going to be looking up at the projected images, the video would be shot from a low angle to simulate their point of view.
Having a huge back catalogue of 3D and 2D designs will help you impress audiences with your range of presentations. It’s another reason why it’s critical to communicate with your service provider early in the process to ensure the best projection content is developed.
Your projection mapping professional will transform the projection surface’s digital architecture drawing into a design format and then pick a position that will be used as the audience perspective reference. This is given to the content creators.
Step 3: Create content
Content would comprise graphic animations, video footage, or a combination of the two and all designed to provide the best experience possible from the audience’s point of view. The final product is transformed into video files and delivered to the projection mapping specialist.
Information for projection mapping typically includes 2D and 3D models, as well as some type of graphic content. It is vital to construct your content catalogue so that you can combine it to generate many new effects. Museums, for example, use projection systems to take tourists on a journey through history.
What you intend to achieve should be apparent to you from the start of the project. You should already know whether you want to project motion graphics, video, live stream 3D, or image material.
Whatever content you choose, keep in mind that the resolution and image size may vary depending on the technology you’re using. At this point, you must answer a slew of questions:
- What graphic will most effectively convey your message through the object?
- What format (videos, photos, etc.) is most appropriate?
- Will the projection be accompanied by audio?
- Will the content cover the entire object?
You will also determine whether the projection will remain static, loop indefinitely, or cycle through different versions at this time.
Step 4: Add virtual projectors for preview
This is where the real mapping takes place. We’ve already set up a large canvas, placed our projectors in the best possible positions, and matched our digital cameras with our projectors.
Everything is now imported onto media servers, where the flat movie files are directly applied to the texture map of the projection surface to examine how the material reads when played out on the topography of the structure.
Now, as an artist, you must select from which perspective you want your work to be viewed. Keep in mind that projection mapping usually only works from a single point of view. The ideal position, rotation, size, lens ratio, projection distance, and lens size are then calculated using virtual projectors.
After you’ve made your decision, you’ll need to create a third camera in Cinema 4D to depict the audience’s point of view. You want the spectator standing at this position to see an image that is fully undistorted. As a result, we convert this camera into a projector in Cinema 4D.
To convert a camera to a projector in Cinema 4D, go to the material tag of the item you want it to project on, change the mapping to camera mapping, and then choose the camera you want to convert. Take a look at the last image.
We use the software to display our content on the panels. You must use a jpeg sequence of your material for this to operate. This can be accomplished using Adobe Premiere’s export options. Then, using Cinema 4D’s virtual cameras, we can record it.
Step 5: Adjust to real-time
The projection mapping expert must now reconcile the digitally indicated projector positioning with real-world constraints. Ideally, all projectors used in a projection mapping project should be in line with each other and equal distances apart, however venue conditions rarely allow for this.
Adjustments will need to be made utilising a mix of the projector’s warping capabilities and the mapping controls on the media server. For blended projection, detailed projection sites are plotted out in the media server with a 10-15% overlap, resulting in a seamless edge between images presented by separate projectors.
Now that practically everything is in place, it’s time to render what the virtual cameras are viewing so that it may be projected on your chosen canvas. Be careful to render at the resolution of the projector.
WHAT IS 3D MAPPING USED FOR?
3D projection mapping allows us to work with any geometry. Advertisers and artists frequently employ 3D mapping to lend dimension, movement, and depth to previously static things such as buildings or stages. Buildings with unusual designs, several windows, or pillars are brought to life in colourful and exciting ways.
Any regular object can be transformed into something amazing. Creates a lasting impression about your event on everyone who attends.
Whether you want to increase engagement or provide your guests an exceptional experience, this will lead to extremely high engagement, which can boost sales and create an online frenzy, attracting even more customers to the business.
In terms of publicity it can provide a significant return on investment as it is very shareable on social media.
The future of 3D projection mapping
This business will continue to expand in terms of both software and hardware features; functions previously handled by interface boxes and image processors have now made their way into projectors, and this trend will likely continue in the foreseeable future.
Given the increased use of video projection and 3D technologies in recent years, it is most certainly here to stay. It is increasingly being used as an advertising and marketing tool by companies, but it has much more to offer. It has numerous advantages, and it is increasingly being employed in a variety of other industries.
The inventors of this technology are trying to equip it with more and more features, such as larger LED panels and brighter lights, as well as the usage of lasers. The important thing to remember here is that as technology advances and innovates, the experiences will become more customised, with material available for individuals.
At the present, the content is being created for the general public. And, as trends continue to rise, very soon these projections will be available for people to experience with more wearable and portable technology such as Google Glass.
The rising usage of cellphones, social media, and internet access has rendered contemporary users (Millennials and Generation Z) more vulnerable to negative experiences. As a result, they are more drawn to interactive or collaborative content.
As a result, the demand for such content will increase. As a result, this type of video projection will become more popular.
With projection mapping, you can create jaw-dropping, reality-shattering spectacles on almost any surface.
Projection mapping is a modern technical technique that many events are embracing, and DOREMI is no exception. Our diversely skilled staff members are here to provide the ideal projection mapping experience, as well as all of your event needs, ensuring that your concept and brief are delivered to a consistent and inventive standard. We try to create memorable events, and we believe that projection mapping is one tool that can help us do so.