Projection-Mapping Guide for Beginners

This tutorial explains the essentials of projection mapping. It will guide you through the process of installing a projection mapping artwork, using the awesome plug-n-play LAZR 4G™ outdoor video mapping projector.

 
01/ Illuminated object and its properties

The main, factor that determines the feasibility of your projection mapping idea, is the properties of the illuminated surface. You need to analyze the illuminated surface quality and ask these three questions:

  1. Is the object opaque or transparent?
  2. What is the colour?
  3. Is it matte or glossy?

The opaque surface works better than a transparent surface because it reflects the projected light into the viewer’s eye. On the contrary, if the object is transparent, the projected light just beams through the object and no image is visible. Projection on transparent surfaces such as glass is therefore challenging, as it requires a special film (sticker) applied to the glass. The best surface colour for projection is white because the white colour reflects most of the projected light. On the other hand, the worst colour for projection is black. Black colour absorbs the light, therefore not good as a projection screen. The last question to answer about the surface quality: Is it matte or glossy? Matte surfaces are great, but a glossy finish might reflect the projected beam like a mirror and therefore the projection doesn’t perform well on glossy surfaces.

Common doubts are, whether it’s possible to illuminate curvy, angled, multi-layer, paintings and otherwise complex surfaces with projectors. Yes, it is! To illuminate crazy shapes of any kind, that’s the main superpower of LAZR 4G™ projectors. The Lumiverse™ app (pre-installed in the LAZR 4G™ projection system), makes it incredibly simple and straightforward to apply your media designs to any shapes/objects/graphics. You may explore our examples gallery or youtube channel to see what’s possible.

 
02/ Getting the right gear

To figure out the best gear for you, please answer the following questions:

 

Is your projection mapping screen situated outdoors or indoors?
  • For outdoor mapping installation, especially permanent, LAZR 4G™ is the best choice. It’s the only fully integrated outdoor mapping projector of its kind on the market. LAZR 4G™ is the plug-n-play (standalone) projection mapping system for permanent, outdoor installations.
  • For indoor mapping, we recommend the Mad Mapper software (or Resolume software) with regular indoor movie projector(s).
 
Are you looking for a portable or permanent installation?

For Portable use:

  • If you want to use LAZR 4G™ projector in a portable style, we recommend adding the Tripod Adapter accessory to your order.

For Permanent installation:     

  • If you want to permanently attach the projector to an existing pole, select the Wall & Pole Bracket accessory     
  • If you want to permanently attach the projector to a wall, there is a different bracket for the landscape image mode and a different bracket for the portrait image mode orientation. For landscape image mode, use the Wall & Pole Bracket or the 360 Bracket accessory. For portrait image mode, you will need the 360 Bracket and the Portrait Mode Shield accessories.       
  • If you want to permanently install the projector on the rooftop, on the floor, or on the truss beam, use the 360 Bracket accessory   
  • For large permanent urban installations with multiple projectors, use the Urban Pole system
 
03/ Screen parameters

For the purpose of specifying the projection mapping system, the first step is to measure the outer dimensions of the illuminated surface, simplified as a rectangle. We’re looking at simple parameters: Image width W, image height H1, elevation from the projector’s ground level H2 and the maximum available throw distance Dmax. See the picture below for a better understanding of these parameters:

project dimensions question

With these measurements, you can easily estimate how many LAZR 4G™ projectors are needed (and the total price of the system). You may contact our experts at info@LM3X.com (or phone +420 603 540 421) with a request for a quotation, or, you may use the project configurator for a fast simulation. One LAZR 4G™ unit can illuminate up to 12 x 7.5 metres area (40′ x 25′), ideally 10 x 6 metres (33′ x 20′) with a colourful projection mapping. For larger screens than that, you need to connect multiple LAZR 4G™ in a simple network. All controls for multi-projection alignment are very straightforward and available via the pre-installed Lumiverse™ app. (detailed software guide)

PROJECT CONFIGURATOR  –  SHOP  –  CONTACT US

04/ Installation of the projector

You will receive the LAZR 4G™ outdoor projection mapping system in robust eco-packaging. When you open the box, you will find the projector along with the user’s guide, power cable, and the IP68 LAN + power connectors for permanent outdoor installation. The LAZR 4G™ projector requires permanent internet access for full functionality. You have to install the mobile SIM card into your LAZR 4G™ projector for wireless internet, or, provide internet access with the ethernet LAN cable (use supplied waterproof LAN connector shields)

NOTE: Multiprojector set-ups require the LAN network connection between the projectors for perfect video-timeline synchronization. The original Video Frame Synchronization Router is recommended for smooth multi-projector operation. NOTE: Multiple projectors can also work without the LAN network interconnection, in that case, they use the internal clock to sync the playback. This method is less precise than the LAN connection method and therefore timeline misalignments might be noticeable. For static images, however, clock sync works just great. See more on this topic in the Group of Projectors – section of the software installation guide. 

 
05/ Design the light

The Lumiverse™ software is a Photoshop-like editor for projections. It comes pre-installed in every LAZR 4G™ projector. It brings a powerful set of tools for designing and managing your projection mapping installation. Let’s explore the main features and how each of them works:

Simple Access

Once the projector gets online (see the LED indicator on the back of the device), you will be able to access the Lumiverse™ interface with all the controls. The Lumiverse™ interface is accessible via the my.lumiverse.com website (recommended browser: Chrome). You can access this interface remotely, from an unlimited distance. You will find unique credentials for login printed in the user’s guide, supplied with the projector. Follow the step-by-step software guide when using the projector for the first time.

Scanner

The Scanner tool will provide you with the pixel map (a visual map of the illuminated object). Let’s explain, how a pixel map works, on a simple transition example: The first picture is the pixel map of the castle wall. Let’s say, you only want to illuminate the tower on that wall. The second picture shows the output you have to design to achieve that.

scan output 2 mask transition

The pixelmap is a stencil you use in the background when designing the projected light. You can either download the pixelmap from Lumiverse™ and use it with your favourite design software (Photoshop, After Effects, Cinema 4D…) or, you may design the projection artwork directly in the Lumiverse™ interface.  Scanning detailed manual here

Projects

Projects in Lumiverse™ are your files. You can create a new project to start from scratch, or, you may duplicate an existing project to copy its properties, or, to back up your work.

Auto-play scheduler

You may easily set the projector to autoplay selected projects at the selected days – times. It’s an effective way to manage the programme of a permanent installation.

Media Library

To play your custom media (pictures, video), you have to upload the file(s) into the Lumiverse™ My Folder. This is how you can push new content onto the projector’s local storage.  For more details on the media storage, see the detailed guide

Mapping Editor

Lumiverse™ Editor is the space where you design your projects. You may add apps (more about apps) or media frames (video, picture) into the projection. Then, you can use Editor tools to apply modifications to the media frame and map the media correctly onto the illuminated object. There are many adjustment tools you might use to fine-tune the media placement, such as perspective distortion, warp, scale, transform, tiling … and many more. 

Layers

You can simultaneously play up to 64 media frames/layers in your project, each with individual settings.

Gradients

App for designing beautiful linear and radial gradients is included in the native </> APPS library. 

Filters

You may add a stack of filters on top of any media object. This means you may cut out parts of the media frame with the Vector Mask filter. You can remove a certain colour range from the media frame with the Colour Mask filter. You can use the Gradient Mask filter to create a soft-edge effect. You can do fade-in fade-out, you can control opacity, brightness, RGB balance and other colour settings with the Image Filter. These are very effective tools for projection mapping workflow.

Playlists

With playlists, you can cut and weld media sources or you may create simple loop effects.

Multi-projection Wizard

Lumiverse™ app provides a complete set of tools for connecting multiple projectors into a seamless screen. (Including edge-blending, video timeline synchronization, and the ability to weld multiple scans into a single pixelmap.) If you want to connect multiple projectors, start with networking the projectors. Use ethernet LAN cables with waterproof connectors (supplied with the projectors) to connect all projectors to the original LM3X Video Frame Synchronization Router and follow the detailed step-by-step grouping manual here.

Thank you for reading this article. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.