In my opinion, one of the coolest things we’ve ever posted is the 3D projection mapping done by URBANSCREEN (check out that post here). Essentially they use a high definition projector to overlay a video onto the building’s facade, but what makes it amazing is the precision with which they can match the video to the actual contours of the structure. The result is that the whole building seems to move and shift, coming alive in the glow of the projector.
All of that is very cool, but I only bring it up to tell you how excited I am about a new project by Samsung Portugal that takes this technology to the next level. What could be cooler than architectural projection mapping? What about projection mapping someone’s face? It’s part of an ad campaign for Samsung’s new Galaxy Duos, and is a collaboration between Excentric, Oskar e Gaspar, Droid I.D. Talking about it doesn’t really do it justice until you’ve checked it out for yourself:[youtube http://youtu.be/9wBxf-NIbbI]
By covering a model in reflective paint, the designers are able to change him any way they can imagine, and also to incorporate him into the projections on the wall behind him. The effect of seeing a human being digitally manipulated in this way is both jaw-dropping and a little bit unsettling. For one thing, the model has his eyes closed the whole time, so those eyes that so convincingly stare back at you aren’t actually there. Like his sunglasses and changing wardrobe, they’re just another figment of the projection.
As awesome as human projection mapping is, it seems like the one hangup it has is that the really human projections fall into the uncanny valley – the place where things look almost human, but that element of being not quite right makes them feel creepy and alien. That’s fine for a project like this, which is more about showcasing incredible visual effects, but could develop into a bigger concern if human projection mapping starts to see wider use. I’m not totally sure what it would be used for, but considering how awesome this video is, I’ve got my fingers crossed that designers will find more uses for it!