Projector Simulation

Project content onto the most complex 3D projection objects using d3’s Projector Simulation toolkit including QuickCal. Explore a unique new way of boosting your creative freedom while saving time, money and expensive rendering time.


Volkswagen Golf 7 reveal – car mapping show at NY Autoshow 2013. Content made by Spinifex.

What is Projector Simulation?

In d3’s visualiser, you can create and configure virtual projectors. The virtual projector object shares the same properties as a physical projector such as resolution, position, rotation, aiming-point and lens size.

d3 setup of the show
The content is being applied directly onto the object as onto any other video surface, independent of where the physical projectors are placed. With d3’s unique approach the virtual projectors do not project content onto the projection surface, quite the opposite; the virtual projects automatically sub-sample the content from their respective point-of-view and send the image to the physical projectors. Simply speaking, a virtual projector shares the properties of a real projector but behaves like a camera.

Automatically rendered outputs from the point-of-views respective virtual projectors

Content creation independent of real projectors

When using d3 for a projection mapping project, the content creation is completely separate from the positions and parameters of the physical projectors. The content only needs to be rendered into the unwrapped UV-texture of the 3D model, while the output is generated from the virtual projectors.
If the physical projector has to move on site, there is no need to re-render any content: just move the virtual projector correspondingly. It will then render a new image from the updated position.
The car content is rendered into the unwrapped car


The Footprints feature allows you to visualise the effect of actual projector placement before you get on site. Enable the Footprints viewer in d3 to show the precise coverage of each projector, the pixel density you’ll achieve on the surface and the exact shape of every projected pixel. You can simulate brightness fall-off with surface curvature, and even how projectors overlap to create blend zones. Plus, you can do the bulk of your soft-edge mask editing in the visualiser itself, rather than on site.

This means you can sit with your client and clearly communicate trade-offs of projector count, placement, content resolution and viewing positions, resulting in faster set-up times and confidence in the outcome.

Switching on the Footprints function in d3 will immediately show light fall off, pixel stretch and brightness levels


If you have an accurate 3D model of your projection surface, QuickCal helps you calibrate your projectors faster than ever before.
Drop reference points directly onto the projection surface within the 3D visualiser, then immediately drag its 2D output position on your selected projector. Once you’ve done this for approximately six points, QuickCal automatically starts calibrating in real time as you drag each new point.
This real-time feedback makes the process much more intuitive. Errors with new points are easy to spot and correct. If your model isn’t fully accurate, you can often compensate this by dragging a reference point slightly out.
For multi-projector shows which require quick setup times, use a laptop with d3 Designer installed and use MultiEdit. With MultiEdit, multiple users can configure projectors simultaneously. Meanwhile, these changes are pushed in real-time to the master machine, and from there to all other connected machines in the d3Net network.


Manual Calibration

In case your 3D model is not an accurate match with your projection surface, d3 allows for manual calibration to make sure you still get the same high-quality results. d3 will start manual calibration by auto-generating a line-up pattern for you based on the 3D mesh used as your projection surface. Using the test pattern, you just have to tweak the position, the rotation and the lens value of the virtual projector to line-up the output to the physical surface. Once again, as soon as d3 knows the relation of the physical to the virtual world, it will render out your content perfectly.


Warping outputs

Usually, all line-up outputs are handled by configuring the virtual projectors. However, in case the 3D model does not match the real surface, there might be a requirement to warp the 2D output. In case you really need that extra tweaking through warping, d3 has multiple warping tools further described in the Output Configuration page.


Blending projector outputs

Blending outputs has never been easier, or more flexible, than in d3. You can create any number of blending points on the output, then drag around the points until you get it absolutely right while editing the gamma value.


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