In today’s world of digital signage technologies, dynamic displays are not only at our fingertips, but also becoming integrated into our environments. The industry now has the tools and knowledge to virtually transform physical structures with extremely large visuals. A growing global demand for bigger, bolder graphics is pushing artists and content creators to move beyond the traditional boundaries of a flat screen or video wall and use projection mapping to turn entire buildings, monuments and other large structures into an edge-free canvas.
Projection mapping taps into both art and science to enhance these three-dimensional (3D) structures. Previously also known as video mapping or spatial augmented reality (AR), it has grown in popularity to complement large corporate events and installations for governments, entertainers and brand marketers.
“Projection mapping is an art form, but also about calculations for everything from colour saturation to height and distance,” says Kathryn Cress, vice-president (VP) of global and corporate marketing for projector manufacturer Christie. “It’s about getting the geometry right for the surfaces being transformed.”
投影机制造商 Christie公司的营销副总裁 Kathryn Cress说：“投影映射是一种艺术形式，包括从色彩饱和度到高度和距离之间的计算，这是一种能为表面变形的几何形状产生动感效果的技术。”
“I like to do a project in such a way that it looks very organic,” says Bart Kresa, a master projection designer with his own studio. “It’s magic when the audience doesn’t really know how it happens. We try to make it impossible to comprehend what’s going on before their eyes.”
The history of an art form
The specific art of transforming a large surface using projections traces back several decades. Some say the first commercial instance of projection mapping onto complex curved surfaces were ghostly, disembodied, singing heads that debuted at the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., in the 1960s.
Artists started taking the medium outdoors in the 1980s using powerful, large-format projectors. Hand-painted slides were projected onto public façades to illuminate them at night.
In the mid-1990s, the projected slides were divided into sections, allowing ../images to be wrapped perfectly to the proportions of the selected buildings. Some of these graphics extended onto the streets, too.
The introduction of brighter, computer-driven commercial projectors led to greater possibilities. Computer graphics sped up production and made full-motion video and graphics possible without film. Staging companies began keeping these projectors in their rental inventory, allowing fast turnaround for event production.
As the equipment continued to become brighter, portable and more rugged, intrigued artists started to look at the shapes, contours and colours of large buildings and wonder how they could incorporate them into their work. Many of their projects for businesses were visual tricks to stun onlookers, such as sea creatures swimming inside office towers.
With the further evolution of digital simulation, visualization and projection technologies, truly awe-inspiring displays have been achieved around the world in recent years, from the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea, to the grand opening of the Atlantis Resort in Dubai, U.A.E. The best projects move beyond the earlier ‘wow’ factor to tell a story. The following are just a few Canadian examples.
Originally conceived in 2006 to add excitement in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles, a district with 80 per cent of the city’s performance halls, the Luminous Pathway began with simple red dots shone onto sidewalks and has since grown to incorporate fully projection-mapped buildings, custom-illuminated intersections and ambient architectural lighting.
加拿大这个项目的最初设想于2006年萌发，在蒙特利尔的Quartier des Spectacles上开展实施，这个地方拥有这个城市百分之八十的表演大厅，他们要在这里添加标识通道，闪耀在人行道上，并且配合投影，映射到建筑物上，照亮十字路口和周围的建筑照明。
Today, with the municipal government’s support, climate-protected projectors of various sizes are permanently fixed onto buildings throughout the district, with more continuing to be added and made available to artists as public canvases.
“It has really caught on,” says Mikaël Charpin, deputy director of the not-for-profit Luminous Pathway partnership. “When building owners see projection mapping on someone else’s wall, they then want us to use their wall, too.”
“Every image must meet certain criteria before it’s considered for display,” says Ivan Klein, technical director. “Videos have to express the theme of the building they’re displayed on.”
技术总监 Ivan Klein说：“每张图片在展出前，都必须符合一定的标准，视频必须要表达出他们展示建筑物的主题。”
In 2008, 81 working grain silos along the St. Lawrence River were mapped and used as a giant screen to celebrate the 400thanniversary of Quebec City. Famed multimedia artist Robert Lepage created the Image Mill, a 40-minute spectacle, as an ode to his birthplace, which he called “the best-kept secret in North America.”
The Image Mill brought Quebec City’s story and culture to life on a 30 x 657-m (100 x 2,155-ft) canvas over 10 weeks. At the time, it was the largest projection surface ever created, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. The nightly showcase transformed the silos into rows of books, stained glass windows, a printing press, cigarettes, bullets and even other buildings, including a factory and an airport.
Image Mill在10周内，将魁北克市的历史故事和文化渗透在30 x 657米（100 x 2,155英尺）的画面中，这是有史以来创造的大投影面，在吉尼斯世界纪录大全中获得一席之地。夜间展示将筒仓变成书排、彩色玻璃窗，甚至包括工厂和机场在内的其他建筑物。
Lepage and his company, Ex Machina, took more than two years to plan and create the Image Mill, working with a French firm, ETC France. They needed 27 projectors to create a continuous image across the silos and around one side, along with kilometres of cabling for control and communications. Much of the planning was dedicated to accurately mapping ../images onto the uneven concrete contours of the silos and allowing for obstructions in the projection path like trees, buildings and electrical poles and wires.
Lepage和他的公司ExMachina花了两年多时间，与一家法国公司ETC France合作，策划并创建了Image Mill。他们使用了27台投影仪，在筒仓周围形成一个连续的图像，以及用于控制通信的千米布线。大部分规划都致力于准确地将图像映射到筒仓的不规则混凝土轮廓上，并通过树木、建筑物、电线杆和电线等投影路径制造前景。
The show was so popular, it was extended through the following five summers.
From 2010 through 2014, the centre block of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill was illuminated each summer with ‘Mosaika – Canada Through the Eyes of Its People,’ depicting the country’s history with a sound-and-light narrative.
Organized by the National Capital Commission (NCC) and designed by Montreal-based Moment Factory, the show projected video content across the 144-m (472-ft) wide building, including the 75-m (246-ft) tall Peace Tower.
“After Moment Factory did a full pixel mapping of the buildings, our biggest challenge was how to repeat the placement of the projectors to ensure a perfect performance every night,” says Jean-Marc Beauvalet, NCC’s manager of technical services. “The solution for the projectors that stayed on the hill was to place them on hydraulic lifts with repeatable heights. They have sensors that stop them at the exact position.”
”NCC技术服务经理Jean-Marc Beauvalet说：““在Moment Factory完成建筑物的全像素映射之后，我们面临的挑战是如何重复放映投影机，以确保每晚都有好的呈现。留下投影机的解决方案是将它们放置在可重复高度的液压升降机上，上面设有传感器，使他们在确切的位置。”
The 2013 edition of Mosaika went on to top the digital signage category and win ‘best in show’ in Sign Media Canada’s 2014 National Sign Competition.
In 2011, Cedar Fair Entertainment mandated each of its theme parks must develop a nighttime show, including its only Canadian property: Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, Ont.
2011年，Cedar Fair Entertainment要求每个主题公园都必须开发夜间表演，包括其唯一的加拿大房产：加拿大安大略省旺市的仙境。
Doug McBoyle, Wonderland’s technical and event services manager, worked with his team to go beyond the mandated specification and develop Starlight Spectacular, a nearly 10-minute projection-mapped show that would close the park every evening. They were assisted by Tantrum Productions and Westbury National Show Systems, both based in nearby Toronto.
Wonderland的技术和事件服务经理Doug McBoyle与他的团队合作，超越了强制性规范，并开发了Starlight Spectacular，这是一个近10分钟的投影映射节目。他们得到了位于多伦多附近的Tantrum Productions和Westbury National Show Systems的协助，在公园内展示。
Starlight Spectacular is projected onto the park’s central feature, the manmade Wonder Mountain, making it appear overgrown with foliage, populated by butterflies, covered in snow, made red hot by lava, crumbled, rebuilt and occupied by a fire-breathing dragon.
“We want guests to walk away feeling good about what they just saw,” says McBoyle. “I think we achieved that. At the end of the day, they can regroup, see a spectacular show and go home having had a great time.”
In 2017, Canadian luxury apparel retail chain Holt Renfrew celebrated 175 years in business. As part of these celebrations, a nine-minute, 4K-resolution video presentation—titled ‘Hot@175 Now and Forever’—was developed for projection onto the 50-m (165-ft) wide bulkhead at Holt Renfrew’s flagship store on Toronto’s Bloor Street West.
2017年，加拿大奢侈服装零售连锁店Holt Renfrew庆祝诞生175年。作为庆祝活动的一部分，他们开发了一个长达9分钟的4K分辨率的演示视频——175 Now and Forever，用于投射到Holt Renfrew在多伦多50米（165英尺）宽的旗舰店上。
Rose & Thistle Media mapped the dimensions of the bulkhead’s 700-plus tiles and incorporated archival ../images and full-motion video to celebrate the retailer’s past, present and future. The tiles appeared to ripple, models danced in virtual windows and image mosaics filled the space.
In addition to drawing big nighttime crowds, the show went on to win digital signage awards for its creativity.
In February 2018, Quebec City’s Palais Montcalm concert hall was painted in light as a preview of LumoCité, North America’s firstinternational projection mapping competition. Called ‘Winter Dreams,’ the light show on the stone building—built circa 1931—explored the premise of what the world would look like if the city’s winter carnival snowman mascot could dream. Icicles appeared to drape the structure while water filled the building and whales swam across the facade.
The project was developed by Philippe Bergeron and undertaken by his company, PaintScaping, based in sunnier Los Angeles, Calif.
“Despite temperatures in the -30s, this was an incredible experience the PaintScaping team will never forget,” said Bergeron.