Projection Mapping: Hottest Motion Trend Since Stop-Motion Sliced Bread

Projection Mapping… Project What Now?

Before I explain, allow me to “set the stage”…

As we progress through the age of the Digital Revolution, concerts have slowly taken the place of record sales for musicians’ source of primary income. This is partly due to the wide array of easily accessible online sharing sources for albums and tracks.

“We just released our first independent album free from the chains of the record labels. They told us we would be SQUASHED! But thanks to the 75 of you who still believe in purchasing music, we did just fine!” – Cake, Sasquatch! Music Festival 2013

That being said, most concerts benefit from a visual experience to assist the audio experience. The better the presentation, the more likely additional tickets will be sold.

Enter the motion technique: “Projection Mapping”.

Projection Mapping (also known as Video Mapping) is a technique used to turn objects or walls into display surfaces for video projections. These often irregular shapes add a level of dimension for motion-design animations. Using special software like Resolume Avenue, artists are able to project their animations onto virtually any surface, creating a canvas out of a real and tangible surface in the world.

So how is this Projection Mapping doing? Is it just a passing trend?

“…the VJ software business is booming. It’s booming so much in fact that we need more people to help us out!” – Bart van der Ploeg, Resolume

As the VJ (Visual Jockey) software technology increases, we are seeing greater performances year by year. It seems like every concert now has at the very least, a light show to help visually influence the audio experience. This also opens up a plethora of new jobs within the motion design industry and while I’m personally biased, I believe it will only increase in popularity over time.

VFS DD23 Graduates;  Ryan Ali, David Calderon Navarro, Alejandro Davila and Ivan Aguilar created “Surface” as a special side projection mapping project with great success.

(See Oomph post here: Digital Design Talks Review)

Some additional examples are here:

The 600 Years – Macula and Tomato Productions:

When Prague’s famous Astronomical Clock turned 600, The Macula and Tomato Productions created a projection mapping for the tower celebrating its history. Starting with the architects original plans, the animation charts the construction of the clock and key moments in Prague’s history. The final effect is part spectacle, part documentary and a brilliant executed combination of medieval architecture and modern technology.

Willow – ‘Sweater’ – Filip Sterckx:

Using two walls, a treadmill, and some nifty projection, director Filip Sterckx creates a virtual world for the Willow’s latest music video. As with most projection mapping it’s the technique that charms here. Singer Pieter-Jan Van Den Troost gropes at doors that aren’t really there, trots on the spot down imaginary stairs, and kneels pretending to be paddling in the sea. It’s all surprisingly lo-tech, and all the better for it.

Scintillation - Xavier Chassaing

This is an experimental film made up of over 35,000 photographs. It combines an innovative mix of stop motion and live projection mapping techniques.

Have I sold you on how cool Projection Mapping is yet? Great! Because the good news is that VFS DD will be introducing a new Project Mapping elective in the near future! Stay tuned for more info and please feel free to share your favorite PM videos in the comments section below.


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