How to Create Zombies With Projection Mapping

Introduction: How to Create Zombies With Projection Mapping

About: A lowly geologist who likes to build stuff.

This instructable will show you how to easily create the illusion of zombies on your house, or anywhere. The hard way of doing this, involve developing a undeadly virus, and infecting your loved ones (not recommended). Check out the video below to see the final product:

I use the term "Projection Mapping" lightly here. There are some amazing examples available online (e.g. and it takes some specialized software and knowledge to accomplish this. More specifically, you need to work out the geometry of all the surfaces you are projecting onto (the more complex the shape, the better the result) and deform your video to fit that geometry. What we are doing here skips all this complexity by using the same vantage point for the filming and the projecting.


For this effect you will need:
  1. A camera (your smartphone is probably sufficient);
  2. Zombie actors
  3. Presentation or Movie software (PowerPoint or equivalent);
  4. A projector (the amount of lumens will limit how big and where you will be able to project).
I am using an Optoma HD20 which has 1700 lumens. This was relatively bright on my front entrance even with the ambient light. If you can borrow the projector from your office, you may be surprised by how well it performs.

Step 2: STEP 2: Film, Fiddle and Project

For this step you will need some zombie actors (they usually work for brains). 
  1. At night or in a dark room: Optimize the position your projector so that you have a good balance between the size of the projection and brightness of the image. Move the projector closer to the wall for a brighter and smaller image (you can use your zoom for small adjustments). Mark your optimal projector position precisely (with tape or a stake) so that you can easily come back to it later.
  2. During daylight, or with the lights on: Setup you camera at the optimal projector position. Verify that you are covering the area that will be projected onto. Use the zoom to fine adjustments, if you have to physically move towards or away from the optimal position, than try to stay in the same viewing angle.
  3. Contrast is your friend (the more the better). If your wall is dark, then dress your actors in light clothing. Dark clothing works best on light walls. There are many excellent zombie makeup instructables.
  4. Makeup there are several great instructables on this subject the image above is from:
  5. "ACTION!" Film the ghostly action. The door opening was particularly effective illusion.
  6. All that is needed now is to project your new video from the optimal position.
  7. There will likely be some re-sizing and re-positioning to get the features of the wall to match perfectly (almost). 
This projection was used for Halloween which was a big hit (Zombies are relevant at this time of year and there are 100s of enthusiastic spectators). If you have a wall with little texture or contrast, then your apparition will not look so ghostly. You could conceivably have Santa or any number of creatures make an apparition at your event.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.
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