Introduction: Merry Sithmas Projection

Nothing says Holiday Spirit like a stormtrooper wearing Star Wars themed holiday sweaters projected onto him. Am I wrong? Ok, so this kooky idea that came up because I have been playing around with projection mapping (from masks, to snow and even birthday cake), and a stormtrooper has always struck me as an ideal substrate. This because of his inherent "whiteness" and many distinct shapes to project separately onto. So when I spotted this over sized action figure in the store, I just couldn't help myself.

The geometry is a little tricky and I had to figure out a way to keep it from getting stolen, but I am very pleased with the result. Along with the various Halloween hi-jinks, I have secured the title of neighborhood nutcase for years to come.

The project is relatively easy to execute if you have the right items handy:

  1. Stormtrooper: the bigger the better; 100$ on Amazon.com
  2. Projector: a mini projector will do (300 lumens), a pico projector will struggle (<100 lumens)
  3. Computer: most models will do
  4. Chain and some hardware to secure the trooper
  5. Heavy M software: Download
  6. PowerPoint

Step 1: Secure the Trooper

The storm trooper might be too tempting a target for the teens in your area to take for a joyride; so to keep him safe you should secure him somehow. My initial idea was to attach a nylon strap to his ankle, and put the other end tied down on the other side of the door. I couldn't find the strap, but I did find a chain which would be more discouraging for to any mischievous lads.

I opened up a loop screw in a vice and closed it with a chain link enclosed. I then screwed it into my door frame which already had a hole from another generation of Christmas decorations. I wrapped the other end around the ankle and closed the loop with a nut and bolt. Any kid could just unthread the bolt, but if he is willing to take this much time on my front step looking suspicious, there are a bunch of other ways he could make a quicker get-away. The goal is to discourage the first attempt.

Step 2: Creating Content

I had a portable tripod, but it was rather unbalanced so I used some Lego to prop it up. Make sure you have optimized the zoom and extents before doing any tracing. I had actually considered placing the projector in portrait, but I could cover more wall in landscape, and it made the tracing much simpler.

I set up my computer next to the window and got comfortable. I highly recommend the use of HeavyM which has a free version which has most of the functionality. I have gone through the steps in installing and working with this software, so I will let you go the following links for more detailed steps. Hell Hound or Projection Mapped Cake. Once the projection complete, I made a printscreen of the tracing for use in PowerPoint.

To get most of the other images onto the wall and trooper, I used PowerPoint and pasted images of video from various sources. I actually retraced the polygons from HeavyM printscreen in PowerPoint so that I could color the arms separately to match the rest of the sweater. The various Christmas sweaters were from a Google image search (Star Wars Christmas Sweater). The video sequences were captured from YouTube using a video capture software (SMRecorder or SnagIt). I spent way too much time looking at the terrible Star Wars Christmas Special, looking for any useful footage.

I also spent some time making and capturing some videos from JibJab. I have previously had a subscription there, but I used the first 10 seconds it shows as a teaser for each video.

Please let me know if you need more detail, I think it is quite self explanatory.

Happy Holidays to all.

Comments

author
HEARTH ROBOTICS TEAM (author)2017-07-28

How big is your setup and how long did it take to build? Just wondering.

author

The trooper is about 4 feet tall. The projector is located inside and fits on the window sill. It took me about 4 hours total to set up. Thanks for the comment.

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Bio: A lowly geologist who likes to build stuff.
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