The Technology of Projection Mapping Also called video mapping or spatial augmented reality, projection mapping is a projection technology which uses a video projector that is connected to a computer with a specialized software that converts an image into either a 2D or 3D graphic, which is spatially mapped on a virtual program to mimic the real and natural environment, and input into the video projector for it to display this 2D or 3D graphic image into a landscape space like building facades and walls or in small indoor objects or theater stages. Many artists and advertisers are availing of this new technology to express their creative art through this medium, in which they enhanced the displayed virtual image by adding extra dimensions or optical illusions or notions of movement, any of which is combined with an audio background music to project the scene like it is an audio-visual narrative. Projection mapping had its debut in two separate events, one in 1969 in the Haunted Mansion ride of Disneyland, wherein the ride used fake disembodied head objects, which were projected in a 16 mm film projector, making them appear animated, and followed in 1980, when artist Michael Naimark filmed people interacting with objects, in which he projected this film in the room wall, creating illusions as if the people interacting with the objects were really there in the room. Projection mapping is conducted following these steps: first, an object which will be projected is either chosen or created through a video; second, a specialized software installed in the computer will be used to spatially map the corners of the created video with the chosen object in it, so the video can cover the entire space, which have been selected as the display area; third, using an opacity template to mask the exact shapes and positions of the different parts of the display area; fourth, a 3D mapping technique is used to define the coordinates so that the object is placed in relation to the lens specification of the projector, such that 20,000 lumens for large projectors are used, such as for city skyscrapers or for small scale projection, a 2,200 lumens is adequate for theater projections.
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Projection mapping has found its uses in the following aspects: advertising campaigns for well-known products in major cities across the world, such that through projection mapping, campaign scenes are projected onto the sides of buildings; video jockeys for electronic musicians which is becoming common for DJs to accompany their music with a synced visuals; artists use their avant garde form of art into projection mapping, such that they can show their art work in any location using any space as their canvas; advocates use projection mapping as their medium of activism by video displaying their advocacy in a chosen building site; and this technology is frequently used by Disney in their Imagineering department.Lessons Learned from Years with Projections