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Tattoos & Technology: Ink Mapping

We saw the internet in a tizzy at the end of last month when the techie world and tattoo culture were brought together, thanks to Oskar and Gaspar. These twin brothers and their team based out of Portugal specialize in projection mapping and have extended this technology into the tattoo world. Gone are the days of blank white screens as a projection surface – projection mapping can use any irregular surface, like the human body, to create mind blowing visuals.

This tattoo video mapping demonstration was the first of its kind done in front of a live audience in Lisbon this year. No post-production was used in the video, so what we’re seeing is exactly what the event attendees saw that very night. Existing tattoos come to life with just light and color, while bare skin is decorated with flowing ink and moving designs.

tattoo mapping, ink mapping

Even though I can’t keep up with technology at any given moment, I do know that tattoo animation and projection mapping aren’t entirely new concepts. What makes this incredible and exciting is the direction we’re moving towards by putting the two together. The fact that we can render a flat image, something permanently inked on your skin, as everything but flat is amazing. Plus, projection mapping isn’t limited to just the world of tattoos – think interactive visual learning or live performances and runway shows.

The advantage, however, that the tattoo industry has with projection mapping over others is that it can be a solution to a number of annoyances that tattoo artists and shop owners face. Artists have that ability to see ahead and see the grand picture before the first move is even made. Every mark is made for a reason and we trust our artists to make those marks permanent on our skin. Now the people who have trust issues and can’t seem to decide on anything to save their life would benefit from “ink mapping” because it gives them a visual of the end result. There’s more to be said on whether people like that should even be getting tattoos in the first place, but that’s another post in itself.

Eduardo Cavellucci and Igor Gama were the two lucky tattoo artists that got to see their work come to life at this demonstration. Unfortunately, ink mapping isn't exactly for everyday use while we're going about our errands.. at least not until our society comes up with a way to justify carrying a projector around everywhere. Who knows when it’ll be before we start to see other tattoo artists' works animated? Sometime soon, I hope.

Ink Mapping: Video Mapping Projection on Tattoos, by Oskar & Gaspar from Oskar & Gaspar on Vimeo.