Submission 3: 3D Video Projection Mapping and Projected Surface

Yaju Hsieh  s1140595

Video Projection to the Surfaces

Like a fairy god mother of all objects, video projection mapping imparts vitality to plain motionless surfaces such as walls, tunnels, buildings. With the magic touch of the mapping technique, animations made based on the structures of the projected surfaces deconstruct the overall presentation of the medium while highlighting its outlines. Adding and manipulating elements within the structural boundaries of the physical surfaces furthers the intensity of the animation and makes the audience experience more engaging.

The latest projection mapping work by Nuformer themed on the Armenia’s literary history. To celebrate the city, Yerevan, being nominated as the UNESCO World Book Capital of 2012, they paid tribute to the Matenadaran, a storage place for ancient manuscripts and books, by translating its history to 3D video projection. The building, Matenadaran, itself without the video projected on has its certain significance. The significance is shown in a modest and quiet manner. In the film clip, the way how the animation introduces the building and tells facts about Matenadaran in an intriguing way brings the building alive. It is as if the building comes alive and tells the story itself. Taking advantages of the resemblance of the building structure and bookshelves, the animation plays with the four dented carvings and the centered arch. With the corresponding sound, those appearing and disappearing bricks enhances the vividness and the depth of the actual projected surface. Also, this brings the audience an engaging 3D visual feast.

image resource:


NuFormer, 3D video mapping – Matenadaran, Yerevan, Armenia – April 2012 from NuFormer on Vimeo.


Surfaces to the Video Projection

As the projection mapping technique has gone more noticed, more daring attempts have shown up. Common projection media are no longer satisfying to those designers. Most seen 3D video projection works are based on flat and blend surfaces like external buildings and the internal walls. The less detailed the medium, the easier the mapping process. Despite the difficulties of projecting animations on irregular surfaces, the outcome of 3D video projection on those detailed and challenging is often a huge success. The details of the surfaces intensify the vitality of the animation.

The following two works both handed on the themes of human figures. What differentiates is that one on a real person and the other on a mannequin. The video mapping on mannequin Michael by LCI successfully stood out the outlining structures of the mannequin by using a lot of corresponding background animation. In the clip, there was a moment when the projection on the mannequin and the one on the white board are identical. The unified projection showed the diverse energy of projection on different surfaces. The woods footage on the plain board was no different from what we have seen on everyday projection screen. When the footage was on the mannequin the relatively irregular surface, it was given more intensity.

The LCI video projection outcome yet looks pale next to Samsung’s Explore Your Dual World. Using a real male model as the projection medium intensifies the final projection. A real human face has more details than a mannequin. Those additional details such as eyebrows, eyelashes, pores, make more vivid the projection. Also, the position of the human being and the background surface furthers the sharpness of the projection.

In addition to the advancement by the tangible structure of the projection surface, the intangible influences of the projection media cannot be understated. Take the DMSP project I participated in for example. The Situated Media project, Lifehouse, took place in the Anatomical Museum, Edinburgh University. The mysterious nature of the museum and those human remains exhibits inspired the team to present human body in dynamic 3D video projection. The intensity of the human body theme animations was magnified when projected on the doors, the skeletons, and the statues in the museum. With the awareness of being in the Anatomical museum, the audience engaged in the journey when first stepped in the building. The sense of history and the eerie atmosphere of the museum led the audience to be more involved to the echoing animations.

The video projection and the projected surfaces are interrelated. They are mutually influential. The content of the projection gives even changes a story of a projection medium. A deserted place can be turned into an exhibit room with 3D video projection. The surfaces to project on either help or interrupt the final presentation. A compatible combination of the animation and the appropriate surfaces results a successful projection mapping and an engaging audience experience.






A comparison of indoor and outdoor conditions by 3D projection mapping

Szu-Hsuan Lee


 The 3D projction mapping has been emerging in recent years. This new technology uses new media to combine animation and practical objects, such as building’s surfaces or statues. So far, most famous 3D projection mapping projects have been used to promote products or brands by advertising companies. This application is outdoor presentation. Conversely, the 3D projection mapping presents other methods related to indoor events . This study focuses on the difference between indoor and outdoor 3D projection mappings, and further provides references regarding appropriate space selection for 3D projection mappings.

Outdoor projection mapping


indoor projection mapping


 The weather is the most obvious influential factor. Regarding outdoor events, if the weather is unfavorable, such as raining, the event cannot be performed. Conducting the event under unfavorable weather increases the difficulty, and the presentation effect is less ideal. Additionally, the amount of audience may vary dependent on the weather; meanwhile, the promotion effect is probably much lower than expected. Finally, brightness is also a significant element. Because it is still bright at 9 PM in some high-latitude regions, the presentation has to begin late. This results in the event inflexible. These possible risks are considered if people choose the outdoor space for projection mapping presentation. By contrast, choosing indoor spaces avoids the troubles mentioned previously. Not only brightness but also the temperature can be controlled.


Indoor projection mapping encounters limitations more from the space. Generally, indoor spaces are usually not as open as outdoor ones. Most outdoor presentations use the building’s surface, which is smooth and facilitates projection. However, indoor presentations tend to use a room. There might be innate possible obstacles, such as pillars, in indoor spaces. Pillars sometimes obstruct the scene or projection. Despite the nice room we have, few pillars in the middle of the room stand. These obstacles increase the difficulties in projection. In addition, the other problem in indoor space is moving lines and crowd control. Indoor space is smaller, compared to outdoors. As a result, how to set the moving lines for audience and manage the crowd is vital. How many people can be accommodated simultaneously and what movement can reduce the obstruction on other audience are questions regarding indoor projection mapping that we cannot disregard.

Pillars sometimes probably obstruct the scene or projection.
(image resource: Situated Media 2012 — Lifehouse) 



One of the most different things between indoor and outdoor projection mappings is the atmosphere. Both projection mappings can display great effect, but the atmospheres are absolutely different. With respect to outdoor projection mappings, they can demonstrate overwhelming visual effects because of the large animations. Audience may see a 5-floor-tall building moving, walls collapsing, bricks falling, and even water pouring into the building. People may feel the projection impressive and fantastic, but not so immersive. Because the outdoor space is open, there are many other elements around, such as architectures, cars, and noises. These elements remind people that the presentation is merely a show when it shuts down. By contrast, indoor projection mappings may not be as large as that of the outdoor projection. However, indoor projection electrifies the audience greatly. Because the indoor projection mapping is an enclosed space, it is easier for audience to be fully immersed in the situation. They feel that they are surrounded by the room. Compared with visual effects, the atmosphere plays a more important role. Considering our presentation “Lifehouse” for example, the presentation location is the Anatomical Museum, which is a small space that makes people feel surrounded by live statues. Additionally, a small amount of strange odors exists in the space and increases the mysterious feeling. All of these factors successfully match the appropriate atmosphere of our theme. In conclusion, the outdoor projection mapping shows excellent visual effects, but the indoor projection mapping builds suitable atmospheres.


indoor projection mapping creates appropriate atmosphere.


outdoor projection mapping shows amazing visual effects.

Connecting to other media

 Most outdoor projection mapping events are large animations, and they tend to excite people because of its exceptional audio-visual effects. However, connecting outdoor projection mappings to other media is more difficult, compared to indoor projection mappings. In other words, outdoor projection mappings lack possibility of interaction with audience. As mentioned previously, outdoor projection mappings are large in size and their audience is great in number as well. As a result, the interactivity between audience and the outdoor projection mapping is nearly impossible. By contrast, because indoor presentations are smaller in scale, the audience is fewer as well. Thus, indoor projection mappings can be more easily connected to other devices, such as Kinect, Arduino, and Max/MSP to increase interactivity. Animations can be triggered by audience using these devices in the indoor space, such as speaking, moving, and touching to improve the interest.

Advertising effects

Denying that outdoor projection mappings can achieve better promotion effect is not reasonable. This is why an increasing number of advertising companies use outdoor projection mappings as a new tool. First, outdoor projection mappings use huge urban buildings and spaces, which attracts attention and crowds easily. Even though some pedestrians do not know the event in advance, they may still be interested in having a glimpse of the event when they walk by. Crowds can grow the advertising effect, so outdoor projection mapping events usually obtain favorable reflections successfully. By contrast, indoor projection mapping presentations are inclined to specific audience, who are invited or interested in the theme. Because attracting viewers randomly is difficult, the advertising effect is relatively undesirable. Today’s advertising events with 3D projection mappings apparently correspond with this.

outdoor projection mapping attracts people’s attention more easily. 



Overall, 3D projection mappings reveal diverse effects in different spaces. Apart from creativity and professional techniques, other practical factors influence the presentation as well. Designers are recommended to consider needs and conditions when choosing the most appropriate space.




Lifehouse Promotion Posters Spreading by Eva/Lucille

To advance the promotion of our project, we printed out some promotion posters and put them up around campus! How many have you spotted? 🙂

Time Tables and Check Lists

As our supervisor advised, the best way of keeping everything organized is to make check lists. Eva and I organized time tables and check lists for the presentation day and the day before. Hopefully these will do some help!

Wed 4th April

Thu 5th April