BIM 360 Blog

4D Projection mapping, using buildings as a canvas

22nd October 2013
Posted by Lee Mullin
This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for at least 6 months but I was given a pleasant reminder about it on a recent visit to Moscow for AU Russia. After a hectic conference where I was presenting sessions on BIM 360 Field, Glue and Navisworks and Revit interoperability with translators, we were lucky enough to get out and do some sightseeing. We saw the usual sights with the added spectacle of a grand stage and rehearsals in Red Square for the welcoming of the Olympic flame for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, in the evening we were encouraged to head out to the Circle of Light Festival. So that evening, braving the harsh Moscow weather and trying not to get lost on the Moscow Metro I headed out to the Bolshoi Theatre, home of the world famous Bolshoi ballet group, to watch the best example of 4D projection mapping against building I’ve seen in person. It looks great on video, but seeing this sort of thing in person gives you a completely new view about how we perceive this big static structures. This may be the only time you’ll see ballet mentioned on a construction blog, so here’s a video of ballet against one of the most famous theatres in the world. And here’s a couple more (in case watching ballet at work will get you in trouble!) 4D Projection Mapping is pretty clever, using multiple projectors to add depth to the projection, covering multiple faces of the object that is being projected against, and make the animation truly stand out. It’s an interesting workflow where you can use Reality Capture products like Autodesk Recap to pick up existing conditions without modelling everything from scratch, and Autodesk 3DS Max to visualise the different viewpoints of the projectors and you can start creating an animation which should blow people away. There’s plenty of help out there to start producing these kinds of visuals, and one of our Visual Effects experts, Louis Marcoux, did a talk about this at Autodesk University 2012, his handout is available after you log in with a step by step guide on how to set this up. Now I lay down a challenge, primarily this has been used for entertainment, but the power of seeing something like this for a local community could really get them on board with the idea of a new building or project. These products are already available for you in the Infrastructure and Building Design Suites, so why not extend their use. I’d love to see a 4D Construction timeline projected against a building site, maybe from a nearby high building, or a renovation sequence of an old building, or a demolition sequence shown against the building before it’s destroyed. Does that sound like something you could see yourselves doing? Get in touch at or leave a comment and let us know how you get on.
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