Christina Wolfgram
November 04, 2015 12:20 pm

Making decisions about tattoos – what to get, where to get it – can be stressful. The stakes are high when it comes to choosing the perfect design because whatever you pick will be, well, permanent. On your body. It’s like putting on an outfit that you can never take off … unless you aren’t afraid of lasers.

When I was in high school, I thought I wanted a tattoo of stars on my foot, an infamously painful location for inking. Because there weren’t options for trying out the tattoo without actually taking the plunge, I would draw stars on my foot every few days with a Sharpie. Though my doctor has not confirmed it, all those layers of marker on my skin every day could not have been healthy. Sometimes, I imagine I can still smell it.

Luckily, technology has advanced since the dark ages of my Sharpie tattoo years. Now, there is such a thing as projection mapping, which enables computers to shine images onto irregularly shaped objects without getting warped. You know how hard that is to do with standard projectors – one wrong move and your teacher’s Power Point presentation can be so wibbly wobbly that it’s impossible to take notes.

In an amazing demonstration video, models showed how projection mapping could help people test out tattoos. Though the projections are just light, they are so advanced that the images look like they are really inked onto their bodies.

Would you be able to tell these aren’t real tattoos if they weren’t appearing like magic?

Projection mapping can create animated tattoos, and it’s incredible. Blink and you might miss it.

These images were made in real time — none of the tattoos were enhanced in post production. *Swoon*

Projection enthusiasts have been experiencing with mapping since the ‘60s, perfecting ways to cast images onto non-flat surfaces. When tattoos are done right, they can be a source of comfort on a daily basis. The better projection mapping technology gets, the more we can use it to experiment with tattoos before they get permanently inked to people’s skin. People will be able to be more confident than ever about the tattoo they’ve picked out.

No Sharpies necessary.

(Images via VimeoVimeoVimeoVimeoVimeo, and Vimeo.)

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