Posted Mon, Sep 06, 2010
Instrument Mapping is an experimental projection mapping project developed by Skare Media. The project incorporates musical instruments as the projection surface for a series of animations. The aim of this project was not to produce something that is for commercial purposes, but more to explore projection mapping techniques, and further my own learning in animation techniques and to thoroughly explore new applications and processes.
Instrument Mapping was picked up by Pause Festival 2011 and was on display from 7-14th of November 2011 at Melbourne Central. Click Here to view some photos from the event. Click Here to view a short promo video I put together about the setup for Pause Fest 2011.
Instrument Mapping Reviewed
Since completing my Instrument Mapping project in mid 2011 It has been reviewed and posted to multiple sites, and included in a new Festival held in Melbourne that aims to promote and introduce digital artwork to the public. Below are a handfull of screenshots I have taken from sites that have posted and reviewed my project. These include one of my favourite sites www.createdigitalmotion.com as well as www.humanworkshop.com, www.pausefectival.com.au and several other international websites written in non-english languages including Japanese and Russian! (click the images for a closer look).
Instrument Mapping Idea
Projection mapping is the one major element that I was forced to abandon for my major project two years ago. I have researched this topic quite thoroughly and have done some basic projection mapping tests prior to beginning this project. I have decided recently to finish a projection mapping project as I am quite passionate about the art and it is relatively unknown.
I will be using a single projector and animating over the top of musical instruments which I will be customizing and painting myself.
I am attempting to document the process as much as possible with the information below in hope that this information may be useful to anyone else wanting to try this technique out themselves. If you have any questions at all, just post them in the comments section, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a few programs I have used for projection mapping in the past and there are a few more I would like to test out before deciding on a (or many) program in which to animate / project / distort. The programs I used to test my final year piece was a combination of Quartz Composer, and VDMX. This worked quite well because using Quartz Composer allowed me to add interactivity into the project. Although this requires a beefy machine to run everything smoothly. Other VJ programs I have tested are Modul8, and VVVV, mad mapper and VPT and various other tools such as processing and max msp jitter.
After testing out these programs, I have decided that I will be using a combination of After effects and Cinema 4D to achieve the look I am after. The above mentioned applications while they are great for mapping basic shapes, none have been able to achieve the sort of mapping I am looking for, which is to map around curved objects (such as the curve of a drum) as well as square objects (such as an amplifier) and a mix of curved and square objects (such as a guitar body, together with the neck).
After dabbling in several music applications over the last few years I have decided to use Ableton Live to produce the music for this projection mapping project. Ableton Live is alot like a musical sketchbook so it will allow me to simultaneously explore musical ideas while producing the animation for the projection mapping.
UPDATE: I have now decided to outsource the music for this project so I can focus on the visuals and projection mapping side of things. I have done this because when creating my own music I can never decide that a track is actually finished. So instead I have outsourced two different artists and from the two tracks they have produced I will combine them into one track for the final piece. Below is the final music track used for Instrument Mapping. You can find Edit;Erase on Soundcloud and Maartez can be found on the Human Workshop website.
Below is a list of links to articles, blogs and projects that have been a great inspiration for this project, and provided a lot of help into setting it up.
So after months of searching, I have finally found a space to set up my project. I have scored a room in the "Irene Community Art Warehouse" just down the road from where I live. It is a great space that provide work spaces for various artists on the cheap.
Originally I had set the projector up on a on the beam running along the roof (refer to image below) but it was obvious that the vibrations from people using the staircase connected to the beam was going to be a problem. So the alternate solution was to mount the projector on a ladder. Although it may look a bit precarious being on top of a ladder, but it is actually quite stable. After 4 days of being mounted it had only shifted about a millimeter compared to about 10-20cm a day when mounted on the beam.
For this project I will be using my cusomised Modbook, I built a custom mount for it which is attached to a small table with wheels (which can be seen in the image above). This allows me to position the modbook in any orientation and allows me to move around the room and line up the projection easily.
The instruments are (or were) actual working instruments. To prepare them for the project I had to sand each one back and paint them white. To some photos of this process Click Here.
Below is a shot of the final layout of the instruments.
To see several videos of my initial mapping tests you can visit my Vimeo page.
Below are some early masking and alignment tests: