CMU School of Drama

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Announcing Lightform. Projection Mapping Made Easy

Projection Mapping Central: Lightform is the first computer made for projection mapping. By connecting Lightform to any projector, you can quickly scan complex scenes and map video to any object.

The device has a camera and uses computer vision to 3D scan any scene, then wirelessly transmits the data to our desktop app. The app uses this data to automatically generate effects and filters, so you can quickly create amazing projection mapping shows.

7 comments:

samia hussain said...

nice post

Julien Sat-Vollhardt said...

Projection mapping is becoming increasingly important in the audio video media design world as new technology comes out and the capability of projectors increases. Incredible tings are being f done with projectoin mapping nowadays, and the reason it's so interesting is its ability to completely transform a space, making unbelieveable and impossible shapes become real. I remember seeing a video featured on this very blog site about projectoin mapping on a fabric surface, namely a simple t-shirt. If I remember correctly it was using tiny infrared reflective beads spaced in a grid on the fabric. By using a infrared light and camera, they could track the movement of the fabric in real-time and map the image in real time. I was so impressed by this and its application to theater that I remember it to this day. The capability to live projection map onto costumes has such great potential as a tool in the theater.

David Kelley said...

This seems to be a very interesting development in the field of projection. The ability to plug in a tool that also you to be able to create a 3D scan of a space with relative ease is extremely cool. But the part that I think is beyond awesome is it ability to make minute adjustments on the fly so that if some thing changes in the 3D scan it can adjust the projection. That alone would be incredibly even if you had to do a fair amount of input on the front end of your install, but they way the article sounds it appears to be relatively simple. This I think could open up doors to some pretty damn cool newish effects in the future, and I'm not even a AV designer who I know could put most of what I can imagine to shame. In conclusion this looks like a pretty damn cool new development.

Rebecca Meckler said...

Earlier this year, I tried to projector map for a Susan Tsu projector and I had a hard time for exactly the reasons listed in this article. I did not know what I was doing, trying to teach myself new software, and finish the other aspects of my project. As a result, I was unsuccessful. Having one of these devices would have made the projecting much easier. However, I’m sure that this product would be too expensive for that scale of a project. I would be interested to see if this product, projector maps as well as traditional methods. Also, I would wonder if there was a way change the mapping manually if the projector made an error. Another great feature of this projector is that it can change with slight movements. As the article states, the projector is constantly updating itself which allows it to be installed for a longer time. This product sounds very interesting and I would loved to see it in action.

Sasha Schwartz said...

While projection mapping is nothing new, the concept of a machine that hooks up directly to your projector that can be used to map onto objects in real time is intriguing. Obviously I have to be a little skeptical since all of the promotional imagery is computer- generated, but this is probably due to the fact that the product is still in the process of being produced. While I’m not a media designer I live with 2, and I also am currently taking the Video Media Design introduction class with Larry, and we have talked a fair amount about mapping vs. masking and explored different programs in order to achieve a perfect match with. I remember last year it seemed infinitely complex, but after mapping for a few different installation projects it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be (taking into consideration the relatively simple projects we have done so far). For our most recent project I worked with Alex Reed to create an installation of 2 of the women from "for colored girls" and "Fefu and Her Friends" to interact, which involved us mapping one of our videos onto the window panes in the warehouse. We had been encouraged to use Max MSP to map our video, but after many hours of struggling we ended up just plugging our video into Millumin and got it mapped in 2 seconds. I’d be interested to see how/ if this product expands and becomes useful in the theatrical industry. The idea of it being able to adapt to a changing environment is what makes this idea most intriguing to me in terms of potential use for performance and installation art.

Alex Talbot said...

I think this is quite an amazing development in projection and projection mapping technology. A computer system that almost automates the process of projection mapping is revolutionary, and makes the concept of projection mapping accessible to a much wider group of people. It requires a much lower learning curve for those operating it, and in the end, a much more inexpensive product overall. While this development is certainly not the be all, end all in terms of projection mapping and its development, it is certainly a great leap. The example videos and GIFs on the article made it seem so simple and perfect, but I wonder how effective it is in real life. All of this in consideration, I think that this new product is a great advance in projection and media technology, and I think it will allow projection mapping to leave the niche realm it is in right now.

nick waddington said...

I think projection mapping is just the latest in developing technology that can be extremely useful in theater. i went to a gaming convention last year, and one of the coolest things about it was that they had an entire 40'x150' irregular shaped 3D projection screen and tournament housing for Starcraft championships which they projection mapped the entire competition on. it was one of the coolest technologically oriented aspects of the entertainment, and i think it was well worth it. and while im not saying we should do that in theater, i think having a device which has the ability to take a real-time 3D scan of the stage is an incredible step in technology and will make projector mapping much easier for people who are not extensively trained for it. I think one of the great assets of this too is that we can not always hit the same exact spike every time we make a scene change, but the ability to change things on the fly with this device would help us correct that in the case that something goes wrong backstage.

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