What is projection mapping?

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Projection Mapping - The Future is Here

Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. More formally, projection mapping is “the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface”.


As discussed in our Illustrated History of Projection Mapping, projection mapping has many alternate names including the original academic term “spatial augmented reality” and “video mapping.”

Projection mapping can be used for advertising, live concerts, theater, gaming, computing, decoration and anything else you can think of. Specialized software or just some elbow grease can be used to align the virtual content and the physical objects. For more information see our Software sections.

These are just a couple of random examples from a rapidly growing form of new media. See the blog for hundreds more examples.


Sydney Opera House Facade Projection by URBANSCREEN
Jennifer Lopez on American Idol
Katy Perry at the Super Bowl 2015
Pixel (dance) by Adrien M / Claire B Company
Box by Bot & Dolly
DisplayMapper by Projection Artworks
New Balance Test by Hayoung Jung
Lil Wayne’s TRUKFIT by Go2 Productions
Perch Footwear by Perch Interactive
Toyota Auris Hybrid by Igloo and Superglue
Aristocrazy Fashion Show 2013
Blizzcon 2014 by V Squared Labs
Magical Wedding Cake by Disney
GOLEM x APOLLO by BK / Digital Art Company
Tokyo City Symphony
Future of Energy by Potion Design
Projection Mapping on Keyboard by mashstudio
OmniTouch by Chris Harrison, et al.
Whirlpool Interactive Cooktop at CES 2014
Le Petit Chef by Skullmapping
Living Room Projection by Mr.Beam
LightGuide by Rajinder Sodhi, et al.
IllumiRoom by Brett Jones, et al.
RoomAlive by Brett Jones, et al.
BeamATron by Andy Wilson, et al.
Cuelight by Obscura Digital
Omote by Nobumichi Asai
Polar by Lab 101

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  • Florian Rapp

    I would like to ask you something.
    For a student homework I create a simple “light-set-up” for the “Disney Dreams” event.
    My question is, what kind of projectors do you need to project on a 46 meter high castle, if the projector is 160 meters away from it.
    I thought about Laserprojection, but I am not sure, if they didn´t use “normal” DLP-projectors.
    Well, I know, that they used 12 projectors towards the castle.
    Maybe you could help me with some technical information oder ideas.

    I hope, that I dont bother you too much and I am looking forward to your answer.

    With best regards,
    Florian Rapp

  • Fish stix

    Where can I go to learn how to set my camera to match my projector. Im tired of drawing all my templets and want to work off a photo like the big boys.

    • Douglas Rose

      Have you received any answers yet? I would also like to know?
      [email protected]

  • Emma Routen

    I want to build a show with projection mapping. Where do I start?

    • David

      Get a projector. Hook it up to your computer. Extend your desktop. Open photoshop in full screen mode. Draw the edges of the objects you wish to illuminate. Save the picture. from there you can do all sorts of stuff like make a webpage that drives images to fit in the area(s) you outlined. Or you can take images and tween them, skew them project them, make movies skewed to fit in the area(s) you outlined.

    • Did you ever build a show, Emma?

  • Michael Wilson

    What software is best for creating content?

    • David

      Photoshop then Notepad ++, Or Dream Weaver. To start off I hooked up my laptop to a projector, Made it extend my desktop to that projector. I opened up Photoshop and drew lines to outline the objects I wished to illuminate. I created code to do the magic from there.

  • Fedia

    Please from where should I start to build my own show

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  • Fırat Konyalıoğlu

    Hi, I really need a good guide for learning all the technical details about projection mapping. First the hardware installation, calibration and project planning than how to create contents, animating technics and using the softwares for animation and graphics. I’m a lighting designer and I want to add video mapping to my events. Thanks very much.