Video Mapping

How does it work?

If you don’t know what video mapping is, or haven’t experienced it live at events such as the Mapping Festival in Geneva or the Fête des lumières in Lyon, then I hope this post will help you to discover this art form through some impressive video examples.

Video mapping, sometimes called projection mapping, is a technique that artists use to project light, sound, and videos on everyday objects, forms, or even large monuments. A creation of a video projection on a 3D surface, the technique challenges the belief that a screen must be flat and rectangular.

Here is a demonstration of video mapping by Envision. A very successful play on perspectives and dimensions, this video shows an abstract luminous animation :

How does it work?

A variety of software is available to create video mapping effects. This allows users to distort images or videos by creating layers in “quad-formation”; distorting pixels to adapt them to the required visual perspective of each layer. The software basically allows you to use a single video projection to simulate several; all with different angles.

Here is a selection of video mapping software:

The uses of video mapping

Video mapping is most commonly used for projections on buildings, called “monumental projections,” or on smaller objects, such as cars, blocks, or boxes, and is usually utilised for artistic, decorative or promotional purposes or to simply create an interactive feel. For example, you might have witnessed this in conjunction with a DJ’s audio/visual performance, when video sequences are synchronised with live music.

Examples of object video mapping:

  • Projection on a New Balance shoe:

Examples of building video mapping:

  • Lyrical interactive projection at the Fête des lumières in Lyon:

Examples of body video mapping:

The use of video mapping is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s no surprise to why it appeals to the creative mind. This technique offers interactivity through a multitude of media and canvasses; video, 3D, audio, buildings, bodies and objects, opening us up to a world of endless possibilities for art, advertising, and just plain fun.

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About the author

Nathalie Pattier
Nathalie Pattier

J’ai réalisé une partie de mes études à Montpellier : une maîtrise d’Arts Plastiques et une formation en image de synthèse. j’ai donné des cours d’arts plastiques, jusqu’à mon départ pour Annecy il y a 5 ans afin de suivre la formation en apprentissage de Concepteur Réalisateur Multimédia de l’école Gobelins. Depuis de 2 ans, j’exerce mes compétences de graphiste/illustratrice/motion designer chez blue-infinity à Genève. J’enseigne également le graphisme à l’école Gobelins d'Annecy.