!nsp!re – The Best Projection Mapping of 2014

Katy Perry, with projection mapped floor.
Katy Perry, with projection mapped floor.

If you saw Katy Perry’s half-time performance at the Super bowl, you saw a pretty good example of large-scale projection on a giant surface that covered much of the football field (similar to Madonna’s half-time performance several years ago).

This sort of large-scale 3D projection presentation has become trendy in recent years; used most often on the sides of buildings or in stadiums for large sporting events like the Olympics.

However, It’s important to distinguish between 3D projection and projection mapping.

Katy’s setup allowed for content that was created to look three-dimensional to be projected onto a flat surface.

By contrast, projection mapping uses lasers to map the specific surface being projected. The surface is often comprised of different shapes and sizes, not all of which are on the same plane. That laser map is then used to place content (still or animated) into very specific locations. Using specialized software, multiple projectors are stacked together and all of the edges are blended together to create one gigantic image. Combining the mapping software with custom created content allows for eye-popping imagery and great depth. Mapping 3D content into an actual 3D surface increases the dimensional effect and creates jaw-dropping imagery. Of course, it’s more difficult (and FAR more time consuming) than my cursory description would indicate.

To give you an idea of what can be done in this field, check out The Best of 2014 – The Year In Projection Mapping over at The Creators Project.