You’ve probably heard of projection mapping, in fact you’ve probably seen it. It is ever more present in today’s music shows, light nights, New Years celebrations and arts festivals and they look amazing right?. Now we need to just manage expectations the big event projection mapping you’ve seen probably cost shed loads and by that I mean thousands, uses loads of projectors, has had specific content created and a full crew managing and running it. Don’t let that put you off, we can work up to that. The concept is the same.
Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. More formally, projection mapping is “the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface”.
There are a few projection mapping software options out there I personally use Madmapper (https://madmapper.com/) and have recently discovered lightform (https://lightform.com/) and have used HeavyM (https://heavym.net/en/) in the past. The fourth option is a programme called resolume (https://resolume.com/), which is actually VJ software but does have projection mapping functionality.
I will focus on madmapper for this blog. I will do versions on lightform and heavym so it doesn’t become to overwhelming and to avoid this being to long.
You can download a free version of Madmapper which has full functionality you will have a watermark and you won’t be able to save your project. However bbefore you commit to either buying or renting the software you’ll be able to test it out to see if it’s a good fit for you
Madmapper Is available for both Mac and PC. On a basic level you can do phenomenal things, if you are technically aware you can add any number of DMC fixtures, use Syphon/Sprout, Midi, NDI, OSC, DMX, Artnet, sACN, HID devises to connect any Madmapper parameter live.
Once you open Madmapper you’ll see the start up screen
Let’s break this down. On the left you have the quads. These are the shapes you’ll map, there are 4 basic shapes, squat, line, triangle and circle. These can all be manipulated to fit your surface. You also have a mask and 3D function (that’s beyond the basics of this blog).
On the far right you have the media panel. There are lots of stock media that you can adapt. Or by clocking the plus button you can import your own media (including films, animation, photos etc).
At the bottom you have something called scenes. This is where you can store your projection maps and play them back later. It’s a great addition to the interface and give you much more flexibility.
To add content to your quads you move over to the media section (on the far right) and double click the media.
Once you’ve build your projection map you can connect your projector. To do this in the top right of the interface is a projector symbol. Click that and select your projector
(you can have multiple projectors connected but that goes beyond the basics of this blog. I’ll add links to online tutorials at the end).
Remember once you click the scene button at the bottom it stores the media in the quads. You can then add new media, or adapt the quads or add new ones and as long as you click the second scene button that will also be stored. You can be as simple or as complex as is needed.
Here is a great article on shortcuts for developing you projection mapping.
Here are some useful links to online tutorials .
As with all of this stuff the best way to learn is to have a go. I will do another blog on using different mapping software both on a laptop and tablet.
Here is a great little video to inspire you.
If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at firstname.lastname@example.org