Projection Mapping Tests

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Sketchbook | 2 Comments

I’m not just bored… I have an idea in mind here, but for now it’s easier just to say I wanted to figure out how to do projection mapping. So last night, I did.

First thing was to set the projector up and point it so it hits a number of angled surfaces. I put it on the sofa and pointed it at the corner of the room. The sofa was a bad idea as they aren’t the sturdiest of surfaces but I wasn’t looking for anything to permanent so it did the job. The main issue was that I couldn’t sit down to watch owt without moving the projector. Next time, I’ll put the projector on the floor. Here I’m using a highly technical tilting mechanism called book and chopsticks.

Then to project a grid… I needed to see the projection area so a solid colour would be sufficient but the grid looked cool.

Next I measured up the room, including the position of the projector. These measurements were rough but good enough for testing.

Using these measurements I modelled the scene in 3ds Max and positioned a camera where the projector is located. The orientation of the projector is a bit tricky to measure and I’m not sure what the field of view is. Rather than figure these out, I took a photo from just above the projector of the projected image and then distorted the image in Photoshop to fill a 4:3 rectangle (the projector aspect ratio). I then used this image as a viewport background and adjusted the camera FOV and target position so the scene and photo matched up… Well, close enough anyway. 

Then I add some grid materials to the objects in the scene and render. This image can then be displayed full-screen to the projector.

The first attempt is pretty good, which suggests there’s a good tolerance of values at play here.

As a test I created a set of lights panels that flash on and off.

The effect is basic but pretty cool.


The next step is to play with the usual projection mapping clichés and then do something stereoscopic.


  1. Dario
    March 5, 2013

    Wow, neat work Aaron!
    You’re tempting me to experiment it too!
    Too bad 😉

  2. emiel
    December 4, 2014

    Do you know how to do this in a more precise way?
    I want to have an exact picture of a distorted grid.
    Maybe semi professional material, like it is used in the outdoor lightshows, is on the market?
    Thanks in advance

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