Projection mapping with the Touch Board
Find out how to do projection mapping with the Touch Board
Projection mapping, also known as video mapping or spatial augmented reality, falls under augmented reality technology and allows you to make your surroundings come alive. It involves taking a video, animation, images or any other visual material and project them onto a surface or objects to provide context or information or create an immersive experience. In the simplest form, projection mapping requires a computer, a mapping software, a projector and any video that is going to be mapped.
With the Touch Board and Electric Paint, you can make projection mapping immersive. The Touch Board has capacitive sensing technology, including touch sensors and these sensors can be extended with the Electric Paint. By touching the paint, the board sends a signal to the software and triggers an animation or video. You can either apply the paint onto a surface or on objects. In this tutorial, we explain to you how to set up projection mapping with the Touch Board and make an interactive wall. We use the tools that come with the Interactive Wall Kit and use MadMapper as the mapping software, but you can use other mapping software, like Resolume or any other software that can take MIDI signals as inputs. You can download a trial version for MadMapper from the MadMapper website.
For projection mapping to be most effective, you need to choose a bright projector. If you have a short distance between where you place the projector and where you want your projection mapping to happen, you need a short throw projector. One of the most popular choices is the Epson 1060 projector, which has 3100 lumens, which are the units of brightness, and is bright enough to work in daylight.
A lot of artists and advertising agencies have created projection mapping installation with our Touch Board, making their event and brand more engaging. You can find these projects in our Blog section.
Step 1 Set up your wall
The Interactive Wall Kit was designed to create interactive walls with sensors painted with Electric Paint. When these sensors are then touched, they trigger a respective video or animation to be played by the projection mapping software.
In order to create sharp wall sensors with the Electric Paint and the Interactive Wall Kit you need to follow these steps:
1. Design your stencil
2. Apply stencil and connect the Electrode Pad from the back to the front of the wall
3. Paint your stencil with Electric Paint
4. Connect the Touch Board to the Electrode Pad
In this case, we have created a sensor and connected it electrode 0 of the Touch Board. You can download the stencil for this sensor here. The full instructions on how to create wall sensors with the kit can be found here.
Step 2 Set up the Touch Board
If you haven’t set up your Touch Board before, then check out the setup tutorial. With the Touch Board attached to the wall, upload the “Midi_interface_generic” code to the board, making sure that you have selected the right settings for the Touch Board, including “Bare Conductive Touch Board (USB MIDI, iPad compatible)” in
Tools → Board
This code will send MIDI messages to the computer, so you need to keep the Touch Board connected to the computer.
Step 3 Set up the video in Mad Mapper
Connect your projector to your computer and turn it on. Make sure that your computer isn’t mirroring its display and that the projected display is bigger than the sensor.
In this tutorial we are using a trial version of MadMapper, you can download it from the MadMapper website.
We have a sample video that you can download here, but you can also design your own. We used Adobe After Effects to create this video, but you can use any specialized software that allows you to create a video, including Adobe Photoshop. Make sure to leave an empty frame at the beginning and the end of the video.
With your projector connected to your computer, open MadMapper and drag and drop the video into the workspace. Next, we want to scale and transform the video so that it fits with the sensor we painted. Pause the video and drag the play head to the start of the animation. Enter the “Full Screen Mode” of MadMapper and then move and scale the video to your liking, checking with the output of the projector if the visual is fitting nicely with the sensor.
Step 4 Set up the Touch Board with MadMapper
When you have the video on the workspace, make sure the Touch Board is still connected and is running the MIDI interface code.
Then, change the play setting of the video to “Play the movie to the end of the loop and pause”. Now, open the MIDI control settings in MadMapper. Select the video, then click the “Goto beginning” button, then touch the sensor on your wall. The “Goto beginning” button should now be grey and have something written across it, like “1/C2”.
Exit the MIDI mode and touch the sensor again, you should see the projection mapping experience unfold!
Step 5 Next steps
For projection mapping you are not limited to a wall as a canvas, you can also use objects and use the Interactive Wall Kits with objects. You are not always required to drill a connection for the Interactive Wall Kit, you can also make wall sensors with copper tape, click here to find out more. Ultimately, you could even use a building or a facade to act as a sensor!
You can also have projection mapping and sound simultaneously by adding sounds to the video you want to play. Another fun way to play with projection mapping is to use images. This could be used in an event where you want to display more information and by touching the sensors, different images are shown, giving your audience more context.
If you run into any problems, please check out the Touch Board troubleshooting guide.
If you are a Raspberry Pi user, have a look at our projection mapping with the Pi Cap tutorial. The Pi Cap is a Raspberry Pi add-on and allows you to combine projection mapping with more technology.