Since the beginning of time, men have tried to transform and project reality in different ways. First, passing from 3D to 2D, and then, doing the inverse procedure. From this concept, the “Camera obscura” was born. This was the first time in which men had started to use projections, particularly for making paintings, and afterwards pictures. Moreover, shadow theater was an ancient form of spectacle that started from 3D objects located between a white screen and a direct light, and then projected on the screen to create a two dimensional product.
However, since this approach to reality wasn’t enough, men began pursuing new ways of seeing the world. Anamorphism is one of the ways to do it. This term refers to a strongly distorted image that reveals its “true form” only when the viewer sees it from a particular position.
One example is the frescoes in churches; like this one made by Andrea Pozzo in Sant’Ignazio di Loyola’s church. Nowadays, it can also be found in street art with complex images on the floor of squares and sidewalks. Likewise, William Kentridge is another exponent of Anamorphism in the 90s. He uses a machine to decode images first seen in the sixteenth century. It consists a cylindrical mirror with a specific radius that reflects the distorted image, “straightening” it “optically.”
In 1969, the premiere of the ride Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was the first screening on an irregular surface. With the presentation of The Grim Grinning Ghosts and Madame Leota is possible to create an optical illusion. This was achieved by filming the heads of the singers with a 16 mm film and then projecting them onto some busts.
Throughout the years, there has been a different approach and development in projection mapping, searching for different applications in different spaces. Thus, in 1991 Disney created the first patent called Apparatus and method for projection upon a three-dimensional object, explaining the system for digital painting an image into a 3d object. By the technological breakthrough, a new concept of mapping projection was born, thus becoming a part of the academic research and projects at universities.
In addition, several companies have developed different software in order to make video projections. The most common programs used for this technique are: Millumin and Pandoras Box. Millumin is a tool that allows the deformation of the video, and offers non-linear video editing options. On the other hand, Pandoras Box is used to monitor virtual environments, networks, and applications software.
Currently for 3D Mapping, are used softwares for projection of the installation and modelling. For projecting the installation there are five softwares one can use: Vvvv, Processing, Isadora, MAX/MSP-Jitter and OpenFrameworks. These softwares provide tools like hybrid visual/textual live-programming , real-time motion graphics, interactivity with many users simultaneously, real-time digital video, and experimentation with forms of custom video. For modelling, softwares like 3D Studio max and Blender are used.
In time, projection mapping has been used in different things in all kinds of fields. for example, in theaters, this technique is used as part of the scenography. Also, it has become more frequent in building installations as part of festivals or special events, giving dynamism to the cities. However, art and recreation are not the only fields taking advantage of the development of project mapping; advertisement has been widely benefited, and has been using it frequently. In fact, big brands such as Toshiba, Nokia, Sony, Samsung, and LG, among others, use it to advertise their own projectors, sponsoring other brands.
Nowadays the possibilities are endless; software and hardware have evolved to bring us a whole new world of possibilities. With the development of movable projectors, light and movement sensors, projections can be made also onto moving objects.
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