Conventional projection hasn’t come very far since the magic lantern days of a century or so ago. Projector + flat, rectangular surface = image. But naturally, with computers, it’s possible to do far more.

The idea is to contextualize a projection in its surroundings, and give the illusion that instead of being simply a rectangular surface (not that there’s anything wrong with that), the image interacts with the reality of a space, objects, and surroundings the way we’d expect. Our own Jaymis Loveday asked last week about the possibilities of mapping — check out the discussion that ensues. I know he’s working away on some projects, but I have to point to the magical, evocative video above of some experiments. ggml writes:

hello. here is a clip with some mapping scenes i have done in recent months using vvvv. they are contextual approaces to improvisation sets, made on the fly, rather than pre-mesured setups. lines are drawn with a 2d drawing-patch, using a mouse pointer, observing the projected image in real space rather than the screen image. other objects are put into proper perspective using the homography node (something like PSP’s distort).

And several of you pointed out that vvvv, the Windows-only, 3D and visualist-savvy generative modular tool (free for non-commercial use) has an edge in this stuff. The reason: the ever-vigilant vvvv community was nice enough to put together an extensive tutorial.

How To Project On Complex Geometry [vvvv wiki]

From the vvvv wiki: this is either an explanation of mapping geometry for beginners, or a way to use a Brownian Motion source to build an Infinite Improbability Drive / primitive food synthesizer for making Earl Gray, hot for Captain Picard.

It’s listed as a work in progress, but like other corners of the rich and wondrous vvvv wiki, there’s quite useful stuff there, made friendly even if you’re new to the topic. Now, the actual topics covered so far are just the basic first steps, but they should get you going. For fancier techniques, I hope this is an area we’ll revisit over the coming months. If you’ve got more resources, send them our way and perhaps we can put together a wiki page of our own.

And yes, I’m now back from my European Road Trip which means you can again look forward to daily posts on the CDMs.