Millumin Help

Anamorphosis with 3D Structures

This tutorial is about using Millumin's structure, Cinema 4D plugin and anamorphosis.
NOTE : this feature is currently in beta, and behavior may probably evolve somehow. More info on this post.

What is Anamorphosis ?

In videomapping, anamorphosis relies most of the time to an optical illusion, that can be seen from a specific point of view : the one of the audience. Here are a few examples :

Coluche… L’histoire d’un (vrai) mec, Paris © ZAG & SÌA, 2016

Foire du Livre, Brussels © Dirty Monitor, 2013

Le Mouvement de l'Air, Perpignan © Adrien M & Claire B, 2015


It is quite simple : the drawn or projected image follows a specific perspective, instead of the perspective of the surface. In brief, it is just a perspective transform, just as we are doing everyday in videomapping (with the 4 corners mapping tool).

Of course, it is easier with a plane surface than a structure made of tens of surfaces (such as a pyramid of cubes). This is where Millumin's structure becomes very handy.
Indeed, it allows to import the 3D model, map it to the structure in real life, then adjust the anamorphosis point of view : this last step is crucial, so it works from the point of view of your audience, not the one of your videoprojector.

1. Basic Example : one image on a pyramid of cubes

In this example, our structure is made of cubes arranged as a pyramid :

The goal of this exercice is to create a simple anamorphosis of Mona Lisa on theses cubes, so the full image can only be seen from one point of view :

The first step is to create the mesh : you can easily do so with any 3D software such as Blender or Cinema 4D, but feel free to use VoxelCanvas in your browser, it is matter of seconds to create this pyramid of cubes !

Second step : create a structure in Millumin, import your mesh (OBJ and DAE files are accepted), and move the camera, so the point-of-view is close to the final one (we will adjust it later).

Third step : select an output for the structure, switch to "output" mode, and start mapping each corner of your mesh onto the real structure. Once 6 points have been mapped, you can click the "auto-place points" to ease your job.
If your real structure have "holes" between the cubes, use the last tool [icon] to map every face independently.

Last step : once the 3D mesh is mapped onto the real structure, add any still image to see the result, for example Mona Lisa. That is it, your basic anamorphosis is set. And you can still adjust the camera to match the desired point-of-view to see the whole Mona Lisa.
Feel free to download this project here, to get the result.

2. Advanced mapping with Cinema 4D

Of course, you can achieve far more advanced results with Cinema 4D. Millumin features a plugin, ready for Cinema 4D R15 and above, to ease the collaboration between both softwares : you can install it quickly from Millumin's Preferences/Addons :

Once the plugin installed, run Cinema 4D and activate the plugin in your project's render settings :

Also, be sure to activate "Post Effects" in the view's options, so draft rendering will be pushed to Millumin in realtime :

Then create or import the mesh of your structure inside Cinema 4D, and place it in a "null" object called "structure" :

Now go back to Millumin, create a struture and choose "Cinema 4D" as the input (you may have to give the focus to Cinema 4D, so some redering is processed once). The mesh of your structure (from the point-of-view of Cinema 4D camera) will be displayed, and you can now map it as you dit for Mona Lisa (see previous section #1 above).

Feel free to download the project here, that includes some examples of animation with Cinema 4D. Such the pyramid collapsing or exploding.

3. Going further with Blender

Despite Millumin does not have a plugin for Blender, you can still use it to create anamorphosis. The principle is the same as for Cinema 4D, but you will manually pass the information from Blender to Millumin :
- the 3D mesh representing the real structure
- the point-of-view of the camera in Blender
- the image/video generated by Blender

To do so, export the mesh from Blender to an OBJ file, then import it just as in section #1 above). Then instead of placing the camera with the mouse, click the "Camera ..." button to enter the values from Blender :

Now you can map the mesh to your real structure, and use image or video generated by Blender in your videomapping.
Feel free to download this project here, to get the result.

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