Creative art installations, Electronic music festivals, massive advertising campaigns and new-age activists have used ‘projection mapping’ to add artistic expression to their work, set-up visual product interactions & raise issues and awareness using eye-catching attractions.
Projection mapping is essentially a much grander format of how ‘video projectors on a flat screen’ work in an office conference hall. As the terminology suggests, it is a technology that fuses software derived virtual 2D/3D models with real environment and turns physical objects into visual narrations, optical illusions and anything spectacular.
CGI perfectionist Nobumichi Asai has accomplished an incredible feat – using the human face as a digital canvas.
Called ‘Face hacking’, the award winning Japanese artist along with his team of developers have re-imagined the concept of facial motion tracking & 3D projection mapping by applying digitally created designs ranging from skull-like illustrations, Robo-humanoid features and animalistic prints on the surface of human skin, transforming the human face in real-time!
The most spectacular showcase is the robotic facial mechanisms as they brought back memories of the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
This project is an augmented effort and a successor to the very recent “OMOTE” experiment, wherein a female model was seated with eyes closed and imparted digital make-up and cosmetic effects on her ‘gentle moving’ face in real-time.
Since the human face is the digital surface for projection, it is crucial to make sure that the skin is ready to be mapped almost entirely. Eyebrows are flattened with liquid wax and an air brush procedure is carried out to create a blank envelope. The process becomes intricate when tiny markers are precisely placed on the model’s face for the purpose of facial tracking. The two models are seated facing digital projectors and multiple infrared cameras all connected to specialized software; triangulating the marker positions in 3D space. This set-up calibrates the position of the markers and maps the geometry i.e. Measuring the distance between the eyes, the length & width of individual facial parts. With the mapping layout in hand, the projection is overlapped onto the faces of the moving models with utmost accuracy.
The effort is astounding given the fact that the tracking speed is quite slow and the projection is seamlessly updated in real time.