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A short geometrical projection mapping project.

produced by: James Lawton



My original inspiration for this was a previous project. In the advice given to us for our original attempt at coding something for projection mapping we were told to be sure to highlight the underlying geometry because this produced the most interesting examples of projection mapping. Following this, I based my first attempt of an even earlier project that simply replicated a work of art and animated it. This was turned into an abstract animation which, when projected onto a 3d surface gave a wonderful geometrical quality to the work.

Concept and background research

I mostly wanted to work with a simple element while also doing some cool stuff with it, like playing with the viewer's eyes by faking dimensionality that isn't there on a flat surface. Since I started with a work that moved basic rectangles, I went down a route of just using rectangles. Basically I worked with ofDrawRectangle() in all of my scenes. I worked with this throughout in a number of different forms to try to achieve a number of different effects. I was aware of a digital artist, Caleb Ogg, who often achieved quite simple but lovely abstract images with fairly basic shapes. While his work is a bit more advanced and animated, some of his images flitted through my head and allowed me to sketch out some more scenes based on a single, simple shape.


The concept mentioned above highlights the idea of just using squares, working almost entirely with ofDrawRectangle(). From there complex ideas, shapes, relationships and visual effects emerged off of ofDrawRectangle(). There wasn't any really advanced coding that I used that I was already unaware of. I used ofRectangle (no draw in there, which we hadn't used in class) because it helped with creating, adjusting, and displaying an array of rectangles. Aside from that, it was pure creative use of the rectangles.

There was a simple abstract narrative that guided the images. I started with flashing squares on the face of the boxes. This was to highlight the simple, individual boxes as they were. Second came the fractured grid. Though this looks like a maze of thin shining lines, it is in fact many small black squares, slowly moving on a white background. However, the lines created in the negative space subsequently highlight the structural geometry of the overall shape that is being projected on. This also showed the first instance of false dimensionality, with the centre square showing a false depth. Most people seemed to like to gaze at this and there are small movements going on, so I held this for a moment before it collapsed in on itself again. Next was what appeared to be lines tracing the outline of the boxes. One thing to note was that it was now tracing the false hole in the middle box, but the "lines" are in fact multiple white rectangles of different opacity draw to mimic and outer glow effect as they move. They also sit atop a black rectangle used to prevent seeing through from one box to another when they overlap. These shine for a moment till they flash into what I called the dimensional grid. This starts as flat planes of related colours but then split with a false forward/backward illusion that is just resizing the array of boxes based on array location (which is shuffled). This also utilises the same "hole in the centre" illusion now adding colour so that the centre hole seems to "shine" from within. After a moment these collapse back on themselves, losing their colour and re-emphasising the squares as well as the white negative space which creates corresponding squares. Finally, the narrative concludes by circling back to the original flashes that highlight the individual, basic boxes themselves. This creates a narrative that starts with an intro on the basic shapes, progressive dimensionality including illusion, color, and overlap, an then a return back to the basic shape again.

Future development

There were so many more things I wanted to do with this that I either couldn't technically solve in a short time or didn't have the time/resources to bring to fruition. It's amazing the breadth of things that can be done with something so simple as a bunch of rectangles.

Self evaluation

I'm happy. though not ecstatic about the project. There were too many things I didn't have time to accomplish and too many small, unforseen things that got in the way of my truely enjoying and being proud of the project. It's good; it's nice. Hopefully it does a very good job in relation to the requirements of the project but I can dream of much more though.