“Can you make 3D mapping in 3 days?” or how a light show is created

“Can you make 3D mapping in 3 days?” or how a light show is created

We get systematic calls about making 3D mapping and organizing projection dimensional light shows. And when we ask about the deadline, we often hear that the event will take place in 3-5 days. We’ve decided to tell you how projection mapping is created, what stages the designers go through with the client and why the work of creating 3D mapping should start at least a month before the planned event.

So, one of the main myths holds: 3D mapping is breath-taking scenery in two days.

There is no argument that dimensional light shows on buildings, in interior or on objects trigger bright emotions and unforgettable WOW-effect. It is true. The main evidence is the active dimensional projection mapping use in the event sphere. Large-scale city celebrations and official events, concert and theatrical shows, company events – no matter where, light shows with 3D technology create fantastic special effects compared only to Hollywood movies.

What it is: 3D mapping is a projection which takes into account the object geometrical shape. It is possible to use all types of objects, or, more specifically, the projection screen – a building front, a room, bridges, a landscape, a car, furniture, even a human body. The technology remains almost the same, only the scale and the equipment range change.


How do we start the creating projection mapping process?

    1. First, we need to see the object of projection. If it is a building, then we need at least some photos. However, blueprints, engineering documentation, exact measurements can all speed up and simplify the process a bit. Why do we need it?

    In order to make a mapping projection it is necessary to calculate the coordinates to place cameras or projector, to analyze the size, the surface and the projection object lighting, to take a photo for a 3D model.

    Moreover, while creating the script it is necessary to take into account the architecture. For example, if there are columns on the building, scriptwriters and designers should come up with the scenario when there is one video on the columns and a different one deeper into the building, between the columns.

  1. 2.    The next stage is developing the conception. In this case the client should answer the following questions together with the contractor:
  • What will the video projection be about? What is the theme? What do we want to show and say by showing it?
  • What is the timing?
  • What essential elements should be included in the video (usually these are logos, mottos and other company merchandise).

3.    At the same time model-makers create a 3D model of the object –the video content base. While 3D rendering of one object is no big deal, detailed model of a building requires drawings (distance between columns, windows, balconies etc.) or detailed photos of it. The required visual effect and plausibility of the projection show depends on the accuracy of the 3D model. If the model is not accurate enough, the image won’t be properly projected onto the object.

4.  After the general idea is approved, a script or a script plan is written (which are essentially the same). The duration may vary, usually it is 1,5 to 5-7 minutes. The script has to be approved by the client. It is a good idea to allow  at least 5-7 days for the script creation.

5. Then the storyboard is created to sum up the key script aspects and the main visual effects. Usually the storyboard is hand drawn.

This is only the beginning of the production chain.

  1. After this, motion designers start their work. They use the storyboard and the script to draw and model still frames. What are those? They are a computer storyscript that sums up in 3D the main visual switchovers and special effects. Animation is also created in 2D or 3D.

7. Then it’s time for the meticulous process of content drawing. Animatic. It is a draft of the future video or an animated storyboard, which shows all scenes with real timing but without any graphic details.

8. We pay great attention to music design. We start working with a composer or selecting the soundtrack right after the script is approved. Sound design is very important, too, – all the sound and noise special effects which accompany visual transformation.

Each step must be approved by the client, necessary corrections are must be made.

9.  The approved project is processed with special hardware and software, video content is synchronized with the sound effects.

10. When the video is complete, it is necessary to test it at the site, to check if the projection fits the shape of the object perfectly.

As you can see, the creating video content process for dimensional light show is a long-term, it contains several stages. But you have to agree that the technical aspect of this work is no less important that the visual backdrop creation. The equipment choice is as specific as the content development. Technical specialists need to understand what number and power of equipment they are need to use. It depends not only on the mapping object, but also on the specific nature and the scale of the event, the size of the audience. There are many details here.

The general technical limitation here lies in the fact that the projection can be seen only during the dark hours of the day or in a dark room.

A large team works on each projection show, it includes technicians and creative specialists: video engineers, technical editing specialists working on the set, scriptwriters, motion designers, video editors, sound designers.

Together they create outstanding unforgettable light show, implementing and visualizing the boldest ideas.

If you still have questions or you wish to make a statement about your company by means of an unforgettable show, call us. Our specialists will give you all the necessary information about the terms of creating 3D mapping, light installations, laser shows, dimensional video projections.