Building Projection Mapping: Everything You Need to Know About Building Mapping

Do you know why building projection mapping is the best way for your events, advertisement or brand launching? Because it is very well visible and hard to miss from quite a distance.

Anyone just passing by must notice. And for active spectators it is an unforgettable experience. In this article, we will tackle the topic of building projection mapping and its workings in more depth.

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The History of Projection Mapping

In the 21st century, 3D projection mapping is becoming more and more popular in the street art scene and this technology is blurring the boundaries between advertising and art. But how did it all come about?

Origins and Evolution

The first attempt of something similar to projection mapping was made in 1958 during the theatre at Brussels World Fair.

Real video mapping made its first appearance in 1969 at the opening of the Haunted Mansion dark ride at Disneyland.

There, busts were projected with customised 16 mm film projections. The projections were produced in such a way that the faces of the busts were brought to life through facial expressions.

In the 1980s, the range of 3D graphics software on the market increased, which improved and simplified the modelling and animation of 3D objects.

Landmark Projects and Milestones

The use of video mapping became more diverse over time and, in addition to the artistic aspect, became increasingly entertaining for viewers.

We can name the work of Michael Naimark, Stephen Sondheim or Bren Ferren, artists who made experiments in film or theatre performances.

In the electronic music scene in particular, more and more people worked with visual artists to accompany the DJ’s music with projections and, in many cases, video mapping.

Mapping Techniques

To create a video mapping, an object, e.g. a building façade, must first be transformed into a digital surface. Specialised software is then used to recreate the object as a digital model. This model then serves as a template for the projection content.

Calibration and Alignment

The selected content is matched to the specifications of the video projector and the lens used. Any desired image content can now be adapted to this model with pixel precision.

For example, it is possible to create content that gives the viewer the illusion of spatial depth using software that performs the corresponding virtual lighting calculations.

So-called 3D glasses are not required for the illusion of spatial depth, as the projection object itself provides spatial depth, which can be taken into account when creating the content.

Warping and Masking

The installation location of the projector in relation to the projection surface must be clearly defined and should not be changed once a customised template has been created.

If the installation location has nevertheless been changed, it is possible to adjust the projection content to the template again by means of so-called “warping”.

On the other hand, masking, also a very useful technique, is a kind of blocking which causes that nothing will be projected in certain places. The dark places are also welcome.

Let lights and shadows work for you

From simple fun projections to grand advertising campaigns, video mapping has countless applications across the board. Start your own videomapping project by shopping for the right equipment first!

Art and Entertainment

The impression that the projection mapping is intended to evoke is clearly aesthetic. Viewers are just supposed to gasp in wonder and whisper: Beautiful! That is why it was first applied in art projects and spectacles.

Illuminating Architectural Landmarks

There are areas where building projection mapping is commonplace and we take it for granted. It is about lighting important architectural monuments and landmarks such as castles, palaces and churches and other city landmarks.

Although usually only light is projected onto them, it has to be calculated with millimetre precision at which points the beams connect with the object.

And on special occasions such as Christmas or celebrations, these buildings are the first to be used as objects for a real light show created by an outdoor projection system.

Creating Immersive Art Installations

The new visual art did not leave creative artists indifferent, because they correctly saw its high potential. Many artists and graphic designers started combining their inventiveness with digital to create unique works.

In the beginning, these exhibitions were a stunning experience.

Or they gave their talents to create digital content for larger formats like buildings etc. and so a completely new art was created.

How Building Mapping Works

Projection on buildings and in the outdoor environment in general has been made possible by the development of technology.

First of all, it was about resolution and luminosity, so that you could see something even in daylight.

The Technology behind

Video projectors with light outputs of 20,000 Ansi lumens or more are used for large-scale projections, such as building facades.

The choice of projection mapping projector and its brightness is made according to the ambient brightness.

The brighter the ambient light, the more light must reach the object, i.e. the stronger the luminosity of the video projector must be.

In general, a ratio of 4:1 is considered necessary, i.e. the amount of light on the projection surface should be four times higher than the amount of light surrounding the projection object.

Overview of the Whole Process

Once you have selected the right building, which is a very important step, scanning comes into play. Large buildings should be carefully scanned at least a month before the projection.

The second step is considering the audience perspective. Then comes the software that perfectly matches the digital content to the template created by the scanners.

How many projectors you need depends on what kind of animation you want to project and how much you want the audience to immerse themselves in 3d virtual reality.

Of course, you need a good connection to a computer or other digital content source and quality software to ensure a perfect transfer.

Choice of tools and software (for example HeavyM) varies. The basic software is usually installed in projectors.

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The Main Benefits of Building Projection Mapping

How does building projection mapping differ from other projections?

Architectural Visual Transformation

Nothing brings the art of architects closer than projecting them onto buildings. Watching the same building change before your eyes is breathtaking for the layman and very inspiring for the experts.

Challenges in Many Fields

New things require new knowledge and skills. Artists are learning to express themselves through new technologies, and engineers are refining devices, tools and software to greater effect.

LAZR outdoor video projector, for example, was specifically developed for such occasions.

The More People, the Better

Advertising agencies or companies use video mapping to attract a lot of attention for their campaign objective.

The ability to customise an object means that the campaign can be targeted with high attention-grabbing potential.

Quite a Cheap, Though Effective Marketing Campaign

Video mapping is very popular in guerrilla marketing campaigns. Projection technology is used to temporarily change an object over a large area.

As only light is used, there are hardly any material costs. In this way, a great deal of attention is achieved despite the usually low budget.

Building projection mapping is a foolproof way of capturing attention and increasing brand awareness

Do not hesitate to take your business to the next level and captivate your audiences with a breathtaking projection

Applications of 3D Projection Mapped on Building

3D mapping has become increasingly important especially in video art and as a marketing tool in recent years.

Creative and Artistic Displays

Video artists are transforming facades into three-dimensional screens. The illuminated objects and facades take on a life of their own with the help of predefined, precisely fitting videos or animations.

Entire scenic productions can be realised with a sophisticated outdoor projection. That’s why artists are frequent customers of outdoor projector shops.

Advertising and Branding

Not only automotive and electronics companies use projection mapping events to emphasise the dynamism and forward-looking nature of their products.

By projecting it on the building, any advertisement becomes more interesting and the general awareness of the advertised product increases.

Entertainment and Events

Like fireworks, an exclusive light show is a good culmination of a celebration or similar event. Often fireworks are also imitated or used to amplify the effect.

This allows us to create fire and sparkling buildings, glittering sculptures and flame-throwing vehicles. The result is a perfect visual illusion that takes the spectators’ breath away.

Educational and Historical Narratives

Castles and palaces or museums and galleries prepare spectacular shows for their visitors, which at the same time bring lessons about the history of a place or the origin of a phenomenon. It is a prime example of learning through playing.

Different purposes – equally spectacular. With the right equipment, you can achieve all your goals

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The Best Types of Buildings for Projection Mapping

In general, for perfect 3D projection, the surface should be uneven. So the building needs a lot of curves, unevenness, windows and balconies. Ideal are:

  • Architectural landmarks
  • Historical monuments
  • Entertainment venues
  • Museums and galleries
  • Government buildings
  • Industrial halls

Real-World Examples of Building Projection Mapping

A picture speaks a thousand words. Take a look at some of the finest video mapping projects from recent years.

Notable Projects and Installations Around the World

Impact on Architectural Landmarks and Urban Environments

Ethical and Legal Considerations

It would be best if the building being projected on is yours. If not, you will need permission from the owner and also from the municipality, and expect to be asked if your projection will interfere with traffic.

Also think about the copyright of the artists involved in the projected digital content.

Conclusion

Building projection mapping is the largest 3D projection imaginable, a breathtaking spectacle that captivates audiences with its immersive visual storytelling and transformative potential.

Its popularity among artists and event organisers stems from its ability to transcend traditional boundaries, turning architectural facades into dynamic canvases where creativity knows no limits.

For companies, it offers a captivating way to showcase their products and brand narratives, leveraging the grand scale of buildings to command attention and leave a lasting impression on spectators.

As a multifaceted medium, building projection mapping continues to redefine the landscape of visual expression, pushing the boundaries of innovation and imagination with each awe-inspiring display.

Get with the times and project your content in a way that is visible from far and wide

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