There is a big variety of softwares designers and even beginners have when it comes to the choice of software for projection mapping. Some are excellent, some are average, some require payment, and some are free. I have decided to create a comparison chart for different softwares for both: Mac and PC.
Touch Designer‘s user reviews are good, and according to them it is mostly for the advanced crowd. The price tag is not small either: the price for commercial license for paid projects is $599 USD, and the price for pro license including support is $2200 USD.
Resolume Arena 4 is available for Mac and PC, and has good user reviews as well. According to user reviews, the software is worth the money. The software is mostly known as an instrument for VJ, but it also contains a powerful projection mapping backend with support for multiple projectors and edge blending. The price is €499 EU.
VPT7 is a multipurpose realtime projection software tool for both Mac and PC. The best part is that it is absolutely free. Quality and ability wise it is a bit behind other softwares (but free things are rarely of super quality anyway).
Madmapper provides a simple and easy tool for video-mapping projections and LED mapping, and gets rid of a lot of the confusion related to this medium. It allows the artist or designer to focus on creating their content, and making the experience of mapping textures to physical objects in real time, fun. The have various price rates: for example one can pay €760 EU for a license for 5 computers, or €2976 EU for 20 computers, there are also educational price rates available.
Millumin is a rapidly growing tool for warping video. It offers non-linear video editing tools, has many tutorials and interfaces well with After Effects. The is a 30 day trial version of the software available. One can purchase the full version for €599 EU.
There are also other softwares available, such as:
Arkaos GrandVJ XT, Mapio 2 Pro, Splash, Green Hippo, MWM-MultiWindowMapper etc.
The amount of softwares available is big, all it takes is just a bit of research.
Projection of images onto flat surfaces is fairly an old trick. First records of such instance are dated all the way back to the Middle Ages. Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest painters of all times, also used such device, and later on it was known as the magic lantern. Those early projectors were adopted by many magicians for ghost apparitions and appear in two places at once. In the 1800s early projectors, or in other words “magic lanterns” were adopted by photographers and scholars alike. Later on, oil lamps got replaced by electrical light bulbs and got its name replaced by ‘opaque projector’. Such tool was widely used by institutions, businesses, and police departments to share information. Today, projectors are used almost everywhere and one cannot imagine giving a presentation to a big audience without using one, and one may conclude that the era of overhead projectors and ‘magic lanterns’ is over, and now is the digital era. However, modern projection holds the same idea as before: to share information in bigger scale. Projection mapping is not a necessarily new concept, but it has recently created a boom in art and media scenes.
Now that we know more about video mapping and its history, we can take a closer look at one of the most known artists in the field, whose name is Krzysztof Wodiczko. Born in 1943 in Warsaw, Wodiczko specialises in video art, photography, and art theory. Most of his art focuses on political and social issues, and through his art alienated and depreciated social groups can express their feelings and share their experiences.
His art is deemed controversial, because it is often political. He gives voice to those who have been withdrawn from the society by various factors, such as exile, war, homelessness, illnesses etc. His projections art pieces, for example, are usually done in public places, such as buildings, monuments, etc., and they usually last for one night or two, and most of the time they spark heated debates and discussions.
Since 1980, Krzysztof Wodiczko has done over 80 projections in such sites as: The Grand Army Plaza Memorial Arch, Brooklyn, NY (1983); The South African Embassy, London (1985); The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. (1988); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989), The Lenin Monument, Berlin (1990) and Arco de la Victoria, Madrid (1991), Bunker Hill Monument, Boston (1998); A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima (1999); El Centro Cultural, Tijuana, Mexico (2001); facade of the National Gallery in Warsaw (2005) and the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2006).
In 1988 interview, Wodiczko described his work, “My work reveals the contradiction of the environment and the events actually taking place there. It is to do with politics of space and the ideology of architecture. City centers are political art galleries” (Illuminating Contradictions by Mark Vallen).
Video mapping is not a new concept, however the explosion/trendiness of it has only begun recently.
One may try typing “projection mapping” in a search engine, and most results are mostly three years old or younger. Why one may ask? The answer to that question is because projection mapping’s older name is “Spatial Augmented Reality”.
It all began in 1969:
- The Haunted Mansion Ride in Disneyland – the use of video projection onto non-flat surfaces.
- Immersive film installation called Displacements by Michael Naimark. In this particular art installation a living room with two performers are filmed with a rotating camera, then the camera was replaced with a projector. The result is projection mapping that rotates.
- Krzysztof Wodiczko – urban large scale mapping on architectural structures
- Disney is considered to be pioneers in projection mapping, and actually have one of the earliest patents in this field.
- The Office of the Future by the UNC Chapel Hill students. The Office of the Future envisioned a world where projectors could cover any surface. The visualisation of the ability to experience augmented reality right from our desk. This means we could Skype with life-size versions of our office mates, view life-size virtual 3D models.
- John Underkoffler’s I/O Bulb
Es Devlin is an award winning international stage designer and creative director who works in opera, dance, theatre, film, television, and entertainment.
She has designed the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, and is currently working on the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics, as well as other big projects.
Her works include:
- Operas for Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, La Scala, Vienna
- Plays for National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Complicite, Almeida, Broadway
- Dance for Royal Ballet, Sadlers Wells, Cullberg Ballett, Rambert, Russell Maliphant
- Concert tours for Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Goldfrapp, Pet Shop Boys, Imogen Heap, Muse
- Spring Summer show for Louis Vuitton at the new Frank Gehry designed Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris
Louis Vuitton SS 2015 Paris France
The videos above show three different promotions: the promotion of the movie The Tourist starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, which took place in Dallas, Texas on the building of the Joule Hotel, the celebration of 10 years of digital innovation by Ralph Lauren on the women’s flagship at 888 Madison Avenue in New York City, and the free light show by Nokia, Windows, and Deadmau5 at Milbank Tower in London, England.
Projection mapping is more than just projection on flat surfaces that we get to face everyday, such as cinema screens, projectors at school, smart boards etc., it is the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface.
Such technologies can be used in advertising, entertainment, gaming, computing, live events, decoration and so on.
Recently I read yet another article about Kanye West and his wife, because this couple tends to pop up everywhere: be it Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; after that I thought about his concert I got to attend last Fall (Yeezus Tour); that concert really made me think about stage decoration, new technologies, and different ways those technologies can be used to make interesting visual effects. Nowadays, a concert is not just about a performer, it is also about visual effects, and the show itself. One of the tools that is extensively being used by designers and artists in various fields is projection mapping.
Projection mapping – a.k.a. video mapping is a projection technology that can turn almost any object into a video display. Such technology is used by designers, advertisers, and artists all over the globe. Specialised software is used to make video projections fit the desired surfaces. (see Projection Mapping – The Future Is Here).
Mr. West’s Yeezus Tour stage designer was Es Devlin (see Closer Look: Es Devlin).
The reason why I decided to change my topic is because 3D gun printing is too in depth, and is more political and social than anything else. Projection mapping, on the other hand, touches up all three spheres: Art, Media and Technology.
Guns as Art Exhibits:
London Design Museum bought one of the first two 3D printed guns in order to exhibit them during the Design Festival.
Why one may ask? The museum explains, “it (3D gun printing) sparked intense debate and upended discussions about the benefits of new manufacturing technologies and the unregulated sharing of designs online.”
Sculptures out of Guns:
by Canadian artists Sandra Bromley and Wallis Kendal
The use of real deactivated weapons to send a message. Guns come from all over the world and were used in various war activities prior to their deactivation.