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3D Projection Mapping demystified

Many people keep asking us what we do, some ask us how we do it, and many others ask how can they do the same thing. There is never enough time to tell the right answer. So we decided to kinda do a FAQ sort of an article which answers the most common questions. This time, its 3D Projection Mapping.

And btw, you can inbox us if you have any more queries on the subject.

Why projection mapping?

There is no concrete answer to it. For some it is an art, for others, it’s an effective marketing tool, some consider it to be entertainment, and while others find it be a mere gimmick. It is difficult to clearly define, name, specify. But one thing is sure, that projection Mapping builds curiosity, fascinates, magnetizes the audience. There is no better way to get to surprise the viewer, sink deep into his heart. Mapping works on many senses at once, which creates opportunities that would not available in any other technique. It delights and attracts – provided of course that it is well made.

I want to do mapping, how do I start?

First, understand what 3D mapping is and why it is not enough to simply show “something on the surface” but to be able to design a show called 3D Projection mapping.

There are so many different kinds of projection mapping techniques, which look similar to the projection mapping but mostly are simple video walls. Some actually involve only surface mapping, or mapped projection. Fundamentally mapped projection is only about adjusting your video content to a flat matte or alpha file, generated in accordance with the projection surfaces and projector positions. This is the simplest and most commonly used technique.

What is unique about 3D projection mapping is that it does not merely interact with the surface, but it actually goes deep, and interacts with the geometry of the projection space and its perspective.

One must learn to understand the projection surface, be it an object, a car, a set or a building. 3D projection mapping is all about creating a message, through the projection surface. The surface needs to speak, not the video. And this happens when you can intelligently modify the surface, play with its forms, mess with the perspective, and create an illusion so strong, that it becomes immersive.

Find your style of animation; explore the possibilities, search for the tools that will help you transform visions into reality, be it software, lights, live action shoot, still images or hardware. Experiment more and more when you gain skill, fill your arsenal with a variety of tools and techniques, and more importantly; have fun.

Is it too expensive?

Not really! Considering the amount of virility this technique can get you, its almost less than the cost of a routine TVC. That being said, of course on the outside, the cost of hardware and content can actually seem a bit on the higher side, but since 3D projection mapping is scalable, there is always an opportunity to control the costs. To speak honestly, at times the content cost is as low as INR 1000 for one second of content per projector (lower than any generic 3D animation cost )

What are the challenges?

The Challenges are mostly mundane: like budget, rendering time, location obstructions etc.

But at times one of the most difficult things to do is also to make the client understand the concept of 3D mapping and, in the given scenario, why choosing it is preferable over any other technique. The next challenge is to understand the audience’s perspective and create the best possible viewing coverage at a given location. The distance between the spectator and the projection surface can be a deciding factor for the content.

In most cases, the geometry matching is of great importance, especially in case of architectures, where the structure invariably differs from the original architectural drawings (deviation

of a couple of inches is common in civil engineering, but for the purpose of projection mapping, it can actually mean disaster)

Laser scanning of the structure can help a lot, but is not the best solution. It can at the best give you basic dimensions of the architecture, and at times, is unsuitable for very large structures. Photogrammetry does help, despite being tedious process, and prone to errors. You might need to combine various methods the get the best results.

Who can join Splat?

We had a guy come in about 6 months ago for the position of lead 3D modeler, and we gave him a task and asked “can you do this?” Without blinking an eye he said “yes of course I can do it”. When asked “tell us how do plan to do it?” he promptly replied “I don’t know it yet, but I can certainly do it”.

He is with us ever since, and yes, he found more than one ways of doing what we had asked him to do on the first day.

We are looking for specialists in their respective fields, who have the creativity, commitment, and craving to learn something new all the time. Apart from the 3D projection mapping, we also do feature film grade Visual Effects (VFX), large scale projection for video walls, interactive installations and films/TVCs, and Stereoscopic 3D content too, hence there is almost always a need for a few extra creative heads.

What is the future of 3D projection mapping in India?

With a recent boom in the mapping industry, the market has grown big, and there are a lot of companies providing 3D mapping solutions, or at least a product that so called. Unfortunately, in reality, it is often not much of a common mapping. In the recent past, there has been an amazing amount of work in this field, and thanks to intern

et, many customers and agencies have now seen the difference. As explained, 3D Projection Mapping is not projecting “something” on the surface, but it’s driven by a concept with a clearly defined goal. The images stimulate the imagination, and create an overwhelming experience. The attention to detail, the quality of animation, the narrative, the sound design and final the technically perfect illusion can actually attract the attention and become an extremely effective marketing tool. 3D projection mapping produces very tangible and measurable results

As the advertising industry is constantly looking for new ways to reach out to people, and artistes looking for more ways to express themselves, we know the future is super bright, as bright as two 22k lumen HD projectors stacked together, looking right into your eyes. Picture that?

Well I was just kidding …..  Those are only 18k projectors.

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