How Much Does 3D Projection Mapping Cost and How Does It Work?

As technology evolves, we see different ways of showcasing products or promoting events cropping up regularly. Projection mapping is a cool way to get your business noticed and create a lasting impression on your audience. Here’s how it works and what projection mapping costs you may come across.

Fluorescent 3D Projection Mapping


What is 3D Projection Mapping?

Also known as Spatial Augmented Reality, 3D Projection Mapping turns any everyday object (from buildings, cars and people) into a highly visual, interactive exhibit.

Released in the mid-1980s, Michael Naimark’s film based art installation, Displacements, is one of the first instances of projection mapping. Two actors were filmed in a typical living room setting. From there, this video was then projected onto the same set that had been spray painted fully white. The actors weren’t on the set in person for the projection, but it made it look as if they were actually there.


The projector needed to project everything exactly how it appeared in the original film to give off the same impression, which is why the set had to be fully white. The main difference between the projection and the actual footage was the actors appeared flat on the set, almost ghost-like.

Since the mid 80s, projection mapping has come a long way. Gone are the days where you need to spray anything white or have a flat surface to produce a reflection that actually looked realistic.

How Does Projection Mapping Work?

Projection mapping incorporates a multitude of preloaded resolutions and brightness levels that are used to project a rich and evocative display of the imagery.

Projection mapping works on the concept of wrapping and blending the projected image so that the image could be projected clearly on a target surface area or object with a 3D display. It doesn’t mean that the technique replaces the source completely. Instead, it superimposes the projected image onto it with a 3D visual output.

The resolution and brightness levels must be used properly so that the projected image has optimum display visuals. Sometimes, the poor visual situation occurs due to poor projection mapping. In these cases, edge-blending projection mapping has to be used to fix the visible band caused by the poorly done mapping.

How Much Does Projection Mapping Cost?

The cost of 3D projection mapping varies from project to project. It all depends on the creative lengths you want to go to and the printing specialist you choose.

Types of 3D Projection Mapping

There are various different types of 3D projection mapping, including:

  • Architectural Video Mapping is where projections are placed on buildings, bridges or any other type of structure.
  • Object Video Mapping includes video mapping projections on geometric forms. For example, cubes, cars, trees or curved form objects.
  • Interior Projection Mapping is the indoor 3D mapping on the walls of the venue. This could be in panoramic form too.
  • Full Dome Projections are usually used in places like planetariums where the projection is mapped on every surface inside of the venue.

On the whole, some types of 3D projection mapping are far more extravagant than others so the more complex the projection, the more likely it is to cost more. So, it’s difficult to estimate a ballpark figure of the total cost until you’ve outlined your goals and you’ve chosen your best suited type.

Choosing the Right Printing Specialist

It’s important you pick the right printing company for your needs and business branding. The cheapest visual solution isn’t the best, nor is the most expensive one the best either. The right printer will help you pick the right large format printing visual solution for your needs, not their interests.

When you’re choosing the right specialist, you must ask the following questions:

  • Do they offer a wide range of projection mapping?
  • Can they deliver on time?
  • Will their product quality live up your expectations?

Before deciding on a printing specialist you should view their portfolio. You can then compare their previous jobs and match them up to whatever ideas you have in mind. You should also get together and brainstorm ideas. That way, you can scope whether they’re going to be able to provide you the right product and see if that company is the right match for you.

Is Projection Mapping Truly More Effective Than Traditional Promotional and Advertising Methods?

Anything Can Be Your Backdrop

Unlike traditional methods like leaflets and posters, the space you can showcase your design in is virtually unlimited. Literally anything can be your backdrop so you’re not limited to a sheet of paper or larger signage. And when it comes to promotion – the bigger, the better.

There’s a Bigger Scope for Creativity

Creativity is possibly the biggest unique selling point of 3D projection mapping. You can make anything appear how you want to. For instance, if you want a tree to appear spooky, green and glowing? No problem. Anything is possible.

It’s down to this creativeness why it’s so effective in showcasing your work. People are much more likely to be amazed by projection mapping compared to more traditional methods. It leaves the audience looking on in awe and not wanting to take their eyes off of your work. Ultimately, this ensures that your brand, product or service is going to be remembered.

Creates a Much More Immersive Experience

With lots of room to be creative, your efforts will stand out more to the audience and it’s a lot easier to create an immersive experience. For instance, you can make the outside of a plain building look as though it’s on fire. When your audience are watching, they’ll be mesmerised even though they know it’s not real.

Projection mapping is much more imaginative, impressionable and interactive than a simple poster or leaflet promoting an event. It will create a longer lasting impression on your audience and shows that you’re a professional business to be reckoned with.

You Don’t Need Any Props

If you decide to incorporate projection mapping for your events, you’ll find that it replaces props and physical decor that you may have splashed out on at previous events. You only need a projector and a theme designed by specialist software. This means it’s much easier to transport, store, set up and dismantle which helps to save time and effort.

It also means it can free up more room in the budget that you can allocate towards getting your visual solution just right.

Be Certain with your Outdoor Signage

3D projection mapping is versatile in what it can be used for. It’s often used for events and outdoor concerts, or it can be used for an extended period of time on a construction project. But 3D projection mapping isn’t the only large format printed visual solution that you can choose.

We’ve put together a brand new outdoor signage guide which is packed with all the information you need to plan, design and install outdoor signage. Click the button below.