Projection Mapping

The Infinity Wall

Over the last few years, I have seen a ton of projection mapping projects for everything from commercial product launches to venue openings and trade show keynotes.  Most of the time they have glitzy over the top projects that have a very specific theme or story line. I think the reason I am so impressed with the example below is because it is a hypnotic blend of simplicity, monochrome hues, and mesmerizing shapes.

In an empty lot on the outskirts of the city of Doha a 54,000 square foot tent was erected for a private event. In front of the tent stands a 360 foot wide by 30 foot tall fabric-covered wall.  On to it digital projectors,  projection-mapped 3D animations onto the it, giving the illusion of a large-scale kinetic modern art installation floating in the desert.

With less than three weeks lead time Megavision Arts, and top Qatari event producer and designer Fahad Signature tasked produced the 3D projection-mapping effect in order to mystify, entertain and engage the 1200 guests as they arrived at the event site.

With support from BARTKRESA Design and Creative Technologies, Megavision Arts Creative Director David Corwin and producer Amber Bollinger quickly assembled a team of artists, designers, technicians, and programmers to complete the project. With only one face-to-face meeting between Corwin and Art Director Vincent Rogozyk, the entire team assembled in Doha five days before the event. A fully-equipped design and animation studio was temporarily configured in a meeting room at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha, and they managed to produce this spectacular piece.

Based on the clients’ request for a 3D projection mapping that would be “very modern, artistic and magical” Corwin and Rogozyk began playing with abstract concepts that were evocative of Fahad Signature’s designs for the event, which included elements such as curvilinear wood furniture and sculptural wooden columns. Polish artists and animators Maciej Bałauszko and Michał Czubak were added to the team and began expounding upon the sketches, turning the rough curvilinear biomorphic and geometric ideas into polished animations. Four basic scenes of abstract 3D kinetic animations were programmed to loop, morph and transition from one design to the next over the course of just under 3 minutes. The animations included Optical Waves, Piano Tiles, Ribbon Architecture and the Involuted Helix.

Eighteen double-stacked Panasonic DZ21K projectors converged and were blended using a Dataton Watchout media server to create one large seamless image. They illuminated the Infinity Wall with over 300,000 lumens of light. The animation files consisted of 14,148,000 pixels per frame, which equates to over 21 BILLION pixels per minute being pushed through the system.

As guests pulled off the highway onto a freshly graded and paved driveway, to their surprise and delight they encountered a fantastic undulating phantasm looming on the horizon. As they continued towards the projected mirage, a custom score with synchronized sound design elements enhanced the illusion even more.

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Complex Meshes.

For Lumiere Durham 2015, England’s largest light festival, French artist Miguel Chevalier has unveiled his latest art installation “Complex Meshes”, at centuries old Durham Cathedral. The cathedral was constructed at the end of the 11th Century and represents one of the most accomplished examples of Norman architecture in Europe. Complex Meshes follows Chevalier’s immersive projections at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, and is a monumental projection mapping project that happens at dusk on the ribbed vault ceiling of the central nave.

Chevalier’s mesh is a projection of a three-dimensional object consisting of vertices, edges and faces which form polygons. The use of numerous wireframe meshes projected onto the ceiling becomes an aesthetic in itself enhancing the original mesh structure of the original Gothic architecture.

Chevalier uses different colored weaving patterns composed of triangles, quadrilaterals and other polygons overlapping and evolving slowly in real time creating a virtual light curtain of diverse and complex shapes. The surface is deformed to generate the abstract landscapes of a living universe which is constantly evolving.

The video below takes a couple of minutes to set up the space before showing the actual projection mapping project.

 

Le Petit Chef is Here To Entertain You.

Over the last 4 years I’ve seen a ton of projection mapping stuff. The technology was white hot a few years back with everyone and their dog doing huge scale, big budget productions. The medium of choice was usually a huge building or stadium floor. That’s why I find this so refreshing. I came across “Le Petit Chef” tonight while doing some research for a freelance gig I am doing, and fell in love.

The brain child of Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeeck from Skullmapping, created the show to enhance the dining experience at a new restaurant. In the production, dining guests are greeted by a small chef that emerges from the table, and maneuvers on and around the physical table settings. The chef entertains the guests at the table by putting on a fun show creating their pixel dinner from scratch. At the end the chef has a small accident that cues the staff to bring plates of real food.

It’s a novel and whimsical idea, very fun and entertaining.  This is the kind of thing I could see making it to places in Vegas as well as Disney theme parks. It’s a perfect fit for the Rain Forest Cafe, and at the same time I could see this entertaining dining guests at up scale eateries as well.

Projection Mapping Done Right, for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This is one of the best projection mapping experiences I’ve seen in a long time. Why, because it has staying power. Because it isn’t some expensive one off that gets thrown up on the side of a building to hock a soft drink at a marketing event masquerading as a festival. This has replay power. This shows how digital content can be used, and transformed for each Cavaliers game to enhance the overall experience, promote the brand, build excitement, and draw a crowd. More importantly the way this is being used, it can evolve overtime, so a larger story can emerge over the course of an entire season. Way to go Quince Imaging and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Projection Mapping Done Right. “Box” from Bot & Dolly.

Over the past few years projection mapping projects have saturated the market getting bigger and bolder with each new one that arrives. Many times the content and concept is diluted by the scope and magnitude of the event that it was created for, or by the scale of the projection itself. “Box” is a new release for the “Creators Project” (if you don’t follow this YouTube channel you should). Created by Bot & Dolly this short video shows how powerful projection mapping can be. Pay close attention to the actual size of the box surfaces, and the illusions created on their surfaces.

This video was designed to serve as an artistic statement, and technical demonstration of  Bot & Dolly. The work shows culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. “Box” explores the synthesis of both real and digital spaces. It is a live performance, captured entirely in camera.

Vivid Sydney, 18 Days of Lights, Music, and Ideas.

TIMELAPSE – Vivid Sydney 2013 Launch from Vivid Sydney on Vimeo.

The fifth annual Vivid Sydney kicked off 3 days ago for 18 days of light, music, and ideas. The 2 week festival was opened by lighting the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House with an impressive projection mapping display created by the Spinifex Group. I love this example of projection mapping with it’s stunning visual feast of motion design, color, movement and visual effects lighting artistry.

Vivid Sydney is the biggest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will take place in Sydney from Friday 24 May to 10 June, from 6pm for Lights On.

For the first time in Vivid Sydney’s five-year history, Vivid Light has extended to Darling Harbour and will transform the popular entertainment area into a spectacle of dancing water fountains, water screen projection performances and dazzling light and water shows, never seen before in Australia, masterminded by France’s legendary Aquatique Show International.

Meet “Illumiroom”, and Immersive Gaming.

A few months ago Microsoft demoed “Illumiroom” and while it looked promising, the preview didn’t go into a whole lot of detail. The five minute YouTube video below from Microsoft goes into greater detail, and really shows where Microsoft is pushing the next level of gaming. This is some pretty slick technology, and has a ton of potential well beyond the gaming world. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes this to make it to your living room, and what the price point will be.