3D mapping is a spectacular technology for creating a wow effect

Entertainment and conceptuality are two priorities on which modern events in various fields are based. Light and laser shows, 3D mapping, holographic installations, and interactive displays that have reached a new level are the tools that will make any event spectacular and satisfy the growing demands of society.

Modern events in the event industry are increasingly held using high-tech tools to create a wow effect. Show programs with guest show business stars are no longer surprising. The global trend towards digitalization is blurring the line between the real and virtual world.  

And while light and laser technologies are already widely used, 3D mapping is not so popular. How is video mapping different from laser projection? What are the features of its creation? Where can it be used? We share the answers to these interesting questions with you.

Complex terms in simple words

3D mapping is called differently (video mapping, video projection, projection mapping, 3D projection, projection show, etc.), but all these terms denote a special technology of audiovisual art with limitless artistic potential.

3D mapping on a building

This is a three-dimensional (volumetric) video projection onto a real object (flat or relief), taking into account its shape and position in space. Artistic play turns it into a dynamic video screen, modifies visual characteristics, creates the illusion of mobility of a real object, its transformation or transformation. The object can be the facade of a building, the interior of a room, a car or any other object, even a person and his body parts.

With the proper level of preparation, you can realize the most fantastic ideas, creating a virtual world in reality. Thus, an unremarkable conference room can turn into a tropical jungle, the façade of a building suddenly “collapses” before the eyes of the audience, and a human face can become a animated cartoon character.

Festival "Circle of Light", 3D projection at the Bolshoi Theater


Depending on what object the projection is directed to, there are different types of 3D mapping:

  • architectural - on the walls or facades of buildings and other complex objects (bridge, tower, ship, airplane, etc.);

  • landscape - on natural objects (rock, tree, cliff), this includes three-dimensional mapping on water bodies, which has been actively developing recently;

  • interior - on the walls, floor and ceiling indoors;

  • for small objects - wedding dress, cake, monument, installation, car, etc.;

  • interactive - a new niche in which the main role is played by a person: with the help of various tools, the viewer directly influences what the projection displays.

You can also create a separate version of video projection onto the human face, or 3D face mapping. Lady Gaga was one of the first to use this technology in her performance at the Grammy Awards in 2016. At the beginning of the performance, a close-up was shown of the artist’s face, along which molten gold was flowing and a large spider was crawling.

3D face mapping, Lady Gaga

A special group are technologies for creating holograms, which are not yet widely available on the Russian market. To recreate a hologram, you need special high-tech equipment that brings together several projections on stage for a “seamless” image transfer. Of course, the appearance at the event, for example, of a legendary figure from the past, a fantastic character or a revived logo that moves and even speaks, will create a real sensation among the guests.

This happened, for example, in St. Petersburg in 2012 at the Future in Russia exhibition, where Viktor Tsoi “sang” one of his hits. And at one of the concerts of the Leningrad group, several Sergei Shnurovs appeared at once! Or Michael Jackson himself “performed” on stage at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards! One of the most recent uses of a real-time hologram was the Audi Cup press conference in 2017. There, the main speakers were present on stage in the form of high-quality holograms, sitting on chairs and even talking to journalists.

Michael Jackson hologram video

Such technologies offer broad prospects for use in the event industry. The only drawback is the high cost of such shows.

What to consider when creating a video projection

3D mapping is a truly incredible spectacle that attracts the attention of all viewers, and then collects millions of views of the video on the Internet. Its use at an event requires significant financial investment. In order for these costs to be worth it, and for the show to be exciting and effective, it is important to consider several factors when creating a video projection:

  • Deadlines. Plan enough time for creation, because this is a very complex and lengthy process that requires a whole team to work on. On average, a 4-minute video takes 4-6 weeks.

  • Surface relief for projection. If an object has very deep depressions, it is much more difficult to create graphics for it, and the quality of the projection for universal coverage of viewers may be reduced. The smaller the difference in surface depth, the easier it is for creators and the better for viewers.

  • Duration. A show that is too short may simply not be understood by the viewer, while a show that is too long can cause fatigue. The ideal time is 5-15 minutes. Although the quality of the content and the general environment also directly affect perception.

  • Direction. Consider carefully from what point the viewer will watch the show, whether each participant will be able to visually capture the entire performance, whether they need to turn their heads in different directions to do this, etc. Ideally, every viewer should fully see all elements of the projection, regardless of his position on the site (close or far, in the center or to the side).

  • Sound. Sound greatly enhances the effect, be it sounds that confirm the action of the picture (for example, the sound of breaking glass, birds singing) or simply background music that creates a certain atmosphere.

  • Price. Analyze in advance whether your budget allows such expenses. And remember: it’s better to do less, but better. Although experts foretell an increasing reduction in prices for such productions every year, which means an increase in their use at events of various levels.

  • Video and photography. Extend the life of your product: create a video and post it online. In this way, you will further advertise your event, increase visibility, and fuel interest in it even after its completion.

World practice of 3D mapping: striking examples

The Game of Thrones season 7 premiere in Los Angeles was not without a spectacular show. Bart Kres Studio created 4 animated videos shown on the walls of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. There were images of the main characters, and the Weirwood Tree in the Enchanted Forest, and the Night King with a chilling gaze. But the fire-breathing dragon gliding along the facades made a greater impression on the audience.

3D show at the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere

A collaboration between artist Pete Barber and digital artist Rebecca Smith, Living Painting combines 3D design with a hand-painted image that comes to life with new colours, shapes and effects.

Project "Living Painting"

Go2Productions combined art and technology using 360° projection mapping at Metropolis, Metrotown, British Columbia's largest shopping center. Colorful three-dimensional illusions fascinate the visitor, and the mirrored floor and ceiling enhance the effect of infinity, plunging into unreality.

360° projection mapping

Christie Digital used 3D mapping to transform Vancouver's Cambie Street Bridge into a virtual ocean to raise public awareness of salmon migration issues. The colorful show was created by 8 projectors and was broadcast throughout the summer.

Vancouver Bridge - virtual ocean


In the near future, audiovisual three-dimensional shows will become more in demand not only as a bright spectacle at public events, but also for marketing purposes, for corporate events , advertising and PR. 3D design technologies open up great opportunities for organizers to implement fantastic ideas in a variety of locations. After all, today the main trend in event design is light.

A team of specialists from the Aventura event agency will realize any ideas for holding an event in an unusual form. We use the most advanced technologies and fashionable event trends in our practice. We will be happy to help you plan an event program, an interesting scenario and implement it with all the necessary support. Be in the trend of the event industry with us!

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