I finally got to check out MadMapper, a program from the makers of Modul8 that automates a lot of the process of projection mapping. It is essentially a plug-in that allows the host software (for example, Modul8) to project a grid onto the projection surface, use a connected camera to capture the displacement of the real-life grid, and then adjust the projection mapping accordingly.
If that last bit sounds confusing, watch this video for a much clearer visual explanation:
It's actually quite amazing at what it does. It is fast and simple, and produces a very clean map. Since I mostly work in the theatre, I always approach new tools with that end in mind.
There are a few issues that prevent MadMapper from being an all-in-one solution for theatre. It's a great fast solution, but I think the interface is backward for theatre. MadMapper is good at taking a single raster/big image and mapping it across different surfaces, but it isn't great at taking a single image and putting it on just one surface at a time. It also assumes that the surfaces themselves never change, which obviously means that you cannot track moving scenery exactly. You could however, use MadMapper for a given scene or use multiple setups for different parts of the show. I could see integrating a MadMapper patch into a show that primarily uses another playback system such as Dataton Watchout or Green Hippo Hippotizer and using a swticher to switch between the systems.
I think there is a lot of use in this software, especially in some of the other industries that we are involved in, like projection advertising and industrials. In fact recently, I've seen MadMapper used with the XBox Kinect at a Speedo fashion show industrial, with great results.
All in all, MadMapper is easily worth the price of admission, and I'm excited to see this tool developed further.