Art & Technology – Utilising Large Buildings As The Ultimate Canvass For Projection Mapping

This article provides an overview into the world of large format 3D projection mapping. I have included several examples for the uninitiated. Author: Mark Butt. 

Over the past few years 3D projection mapping has emerged as a premier canvass for artists & technologists to showcase dramatic, interactive art installations all over the globe. 3D projection mapping projects have been using building exteriors as the ultimate canvass for displaying this work.

For the uninitiated, 3D projection mapping involves mapping a 3D graphic display (in this case a 3D Animation) over a 2D plane (in this case the side of a building). 3D mapping animation projects are made to look like the action is unfolding on the side of a building.

Recent installations have included dramatic live action video of the side of a building crumbling, vehicles crashing through the side of a building and brick buildings made to look like the inside of someone’s apartment. In short, 3D mapping has proven to be the perfect bridge between art and technology.

Some Examples: 

White Kanga: The Gold Standard in 3D Projection Mapping: 

 A popular artist’s collective based out of Poland, specialises in large-scale interactive multimedia installations. One recent installation featured robotic servos that dynamically interacted with the surface of a projected surface. Essentially, the robotic images were able to shape-shift in real time, while floating white boxes in the video transform into metallic images creating a dynamic augmented reality experience for the viewer. Check out a recent project:




The gaming console giant recently unveiled a series of 3D-mapped ads for their upcoming “ImmersiveMovieExperience.”  All videos were designed by The Found Collective, a collective of artists, designers and creative visionaries based out of London.This series of impressive 3D mapped videos were all shot with real-time tracking, no special effects and within a single take. You can view more by watching the below demonstration:



Hot Wheels Projection Mapping (Sydney)

In 2011 Hot Wheels lit up Circular Quay, showcasing groundbreaking 3D projection technology at Customs House in Sydney. The notorious Hot Wheels™ Skull Racers shattered the facade of Customs House as they competed in the ultimate speed racing battle. The projection featured footage of the world’s fastest vehicles in a stunt ridden challenge, travelling through the Customs House facade and into a fantasy world. Hot Wheels fans, young and old, were kept on the edge of their seats as the racers smashed their way through one of Sydney’s most historic buildings. View a demonstration below:




In 2010, the German automobile maker famously displayed 3D-mapped videos on buildings all over the world and broadcasted their campaigns on the web for millions to see. The most notable of the campaigns was broadcast in Singapore on two adjoining buildings at an intersection. The breathtaking scene was an animation made to match the brick on each building. The video then displayed hands removing brick from each building, and spelling out “Joy is BMW” in white brick lettering. You can see a demo below:



3D Projection Mapping For The Advertising Industry:  

3D mapping has evolved into much more than a vehicle for independent artists. The advertising world has discovered the promotional benefits of 3D mapping. Basically, this new technology, while not cheap or easy to produce, has proven to be way more effective than traditional billboard campaigns, and is expected to completely transform how companies engage in outdoor advertising campaigns.


While these 3D Projection Mapping projects were all done on a large scale, it’s becoming likely that this interactive, multimedia experience will reach the home entertainment industry. Artists and digital designers will create sophisticated multimedia experiences that people can experience in the comfort of their own home. Additionally, advertisers and marketers may use this design medium to reach consumers in new and meaningful ways that were previously inaccessible, and unimaginable. Art, technology, entertainment and commerce will intersect seamlessly through this new multimedia medium. Come and talk to us about 3D Projection Mapping. Use the animation content across web, mobile,  out-of-home & social!

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