TouchDesigner Concepts for Projection Mapping

This coming year at ASU I’ll be working on a project with several talented artists and media Makers on a project that’s tentatively being called “WonderDome.” As Dan Fine’s thesis project he’s exploring what it means to create a playing space that exists inside of a dome of projection. The audience and performer will share a single immersive media environment where a story will be told with puppets, video, and just about all the theatre magic you can imagine. Central to this endeavor are questions about immersive media systems and how to approach the complex issue of mesh warping media for a curved surface that’s being ditched together with somewhere between six to eight projectors.

The traditional approach for this kind project would be to make the flat media first. After creating the structure, and installing the projectors we’d create a sample mesh-warped After Effects Comp and ultimately run all of our flat media through that comp to split it up into several pieces with the appropriate distortion applied. While that’s certainly a tried and true method it doesn’t leave much room for error, and it also makes it difficult to use live video.

On our wish-list of media systems is a d3 media server by d3technologies. While their systems may well be out our price range, their approach is one that’s gaining traction in smaller projection circles. We can pull apart some of the same process by working with Derivative’s TouchDesigner to get a sense of how we may well be thinking of projection mapping in the not too distant future.

Instead of waiting to get onsite, or crafting media specially fit for a particular structure, we instead start with a 3D model. In our computer generated model we add projectors, lights, paint our surfaces with textures or video, effectively assembling our system virtually.

The videos below take a quick and rough look at what this kind of workflow looks like in TouchDesigner, and how it differs from the kind of projection mapping you may already be accustomed to.

Edge Blending

Geometry and Cameras

Putting it All Together

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