7 Best Projection Mapping Software 2024 (#1 Video Mapper)

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated June 10, 2024

Expert Verified by Leandro Langeani, BBA

Today there are 82 different projection mapping software. We spent 113 hours comparing the top 50 to find the seven best you can use to create stunning and immersive visual experiences.

What is the Best Projection Mapping Software?

  1. MadMapper — best of the best
  2. Resolume Arena — best for live performances
  3. HeavyM — best for beginners
  4. Lightform Creator — best for artists and designers
  5. VPT — best for educational purposes
  6. Isadora — best for interactive installations
  7. TouchDesigner — best for complex visualizations

Our Verdict — Best Of The Best

Price: Starts at ~$50.19/month

MadMapper is a powerful video mapping software for professionals and beginners alike. We think it’s the best because of its advanced 3D mapping support, real-time rendering capabilities, and user-friendly interface.

The Best Part:

  • 3D mapping support. MadMapper lets you take your projection mapping to new dimensions with its advanced 3D calibration features.

The Worst Part:

  • Occasional glitches. Some professional MadMapper users report occasional software hiccups during heavy use.

Get it if you want a user-friendly and powerful video mapping software to create stunning projections with.

I recommend you download the Demo Version, then buy MadMapper for 449€ (about $512).

(free demo)

Best For

MadMapper is best for visual artists and stage designers who want a top-notch video mapping software that’s easy to use.

Top Features

  • Get your timing right. Synchronize your visuals to music or other cues with MadMapper's versatile MIDI and OSC support.

  • Keep it all in sync. Create seamless multi-projector setups with MadMapper's powerful edge blending capabilities.

  • Interactiveness overload. Bring your projections to life by integrating interactive elements like Kinect or Leap Motion.

  • Master of light. Manage DMX lighting fixtures with ease with MadMapper's built-in DMX control system.

  • Easy-peasy integration. Navigate back and forth between MadMapper and other creative applications such as Modul8, VDMX, and Resolume.

Pricing

MadMapper offers three pricing plans:

  • Demo Version: Free forever, for beginners and hobbyists who want to feel what MadMapper is like.
  • Rent MadMapper: Starts at 44€/month (about $50.19/month) for creative professionals and event planners who require advanced features on a project basis, without a long-term commitment.
  • Buy MadMapper: Starts at 449€ one time (about $512.12), for committed visual artists, stage designers, and multimedia production companies that want full lifetime access to MadMapper.

Try MadMapper today with the free demo.

Our Verdict — Best For Live Performances

Price: $899

Resolume Arena is incredible for creating immersive visuals during live performances. We think it’s the best for live performances because of its real-time video mixing capabilities, stunning visual effects, and intuitive interface.

The Best Part:

  • Real-time video mixing. Resolume Arena gives you the tools to create and manipulate live visuals on the fly during live performance.

The Worst Part:

  • Pricey one-time fee. Resolume Arena’s $899 upfront cost might feel a little steep, especially for those new to projection mapping.

Get it if you want a versatile tool for real-time video mixing and project mapping that will make your live events unforgettable.

I recommend you start with the free version, then invest in the $899 one-time payment plan.

(free plan)

Best For

Resolume Arena is best for VJs, DJs, and visual artists who want an intuitive tool to create stunning visuals during live performances.

Top Features

  • Sync to the beat. Let your visuals groove along with the music with Resolume Arena's BPM-synced effects and animations.

  • Save your best moments. Record your live shows right within the software with Resolume Arena's handy built-in recording feature.

  • Mix and match video inputs. Add live feeds and external live video sources effortlessly with Arena's wide range of video input options.

  • Keep it all in sync. Share video syncs between multiple computers with Resolume Arena's network-based synchronization features.

  • Make it your own. Customize your workspace to suit your style with Resolume Arena's super-flexible layout options.

Pricing

Resolume Arena offers two pricing plans:

  • Free plan: Free forever, for VJs, DJs, and visual artists who want to practice and learn the software with full features, but keep in mind it comes with a watermark and won't let you save your work.
  • Paid plan: $899 one-time payment, for VJs, DJs, and visual artists who want unrestricted access to the software, forever.

Try Resolume Arena today with the free plan.

Our Verdict — Best For Beginners

Price: Starts at $39/month

HeavyM is a powerful projection mapping software with a shallow learning curve. We think it’s the best for beginners because of its user-friendly interface, extensive library of effects, and real-time editing capabilities.

The Best Part:

  • It’s incredibly user-friendly. HeavyM’s intuitive interface and simple tools make it easy for beginners to dive right into projection mapping without feeling overwhelmed.

The Worst Part:

  • Not cut out for the big leagues. HeavyM might not be the best fit for huge events or complex setups that require more advanced features.

Get it if you want a user-friendly software to practice projection mapping or add an extra layer of excitement to smaller events.

I recommend you get started with the demo version, then upgrade to the HeavyM Live plan for $39/month.

(free demo)

Best For

HeavyM is best for beginners in projection mapping who want easy-to-use software with a reasonable price tag.

Top Features

  • No need to start from scratch. HeavyM lets you start creating pro visuals for your events in no time with its cool pre-built templates.

  • Drag and drop. Load your images or videos directly onto surfaces by dragging-and-dropping them into your canvas.

  • Keep it always rolling. You can set up continuous loops of your visuals with a few clicks.

  • Sync it up. Integrate audio elements easily into your visual creations for a fully synced-up video projection.

  • Take control on the go. Control HeavyM remotely with your smartphone or tablet via OSC support.

Pricing

HeavyM offers three pricing plans:

  • HeavyM Live: $39/month for artists and live performers who want essential projection mapping features without breaking the bank.
  • HeavyM Pro: $55/month for audiovisual professionals who require advanced features for bigger projects.
  • HeavyM Pro+: $109/month for audiovisual professionals who want to manage continuous installations with the help of top-tier technical support.

Try HeavyM today with a free demo.

Our Top Three Picks

Here’s a quick summary of our top three picks:

  1. MadMapper — best of the best
  2. Resolume Arena — best for live performances
  3. HeavyM — best for beginners

Here’s a quick comparison of our top seven picks:

Tool

Entry Offer

Pricing

MadMapper

Free demo

$99/mo

Resolume Arena

Free plan

Starts at $39/mo

HeavyM

Free demo

Starts at $39/mo

Lightform Creator

None

Custom quote

VPT

None

Starts at $8.75/mo

Isadora

Free plan

Free forever

TouchDesigner

Free plan

Starts at $228/yr

Here are the top 50 projection mapping software we considered in this review:

  1. MadMapper
  2. Resolume Arena
  3. HeavyM
  4. Lightform Creator
  5. VPT (Video Projection Tools)
  6. Isadora
  7. TouchDesigner
  8. Millumin
  9. MapMap
  10. D3
  11. ProPresenter
  12. WATCHOUT by Dataton
  13. Visution Mapio
  14. Green Hippo Hippotizer
  15. QLab
  16. Ventuz
  17. Vioso Anyblend
  18. AV Stumpfl Pixera
  19. Christie Pandoras Box
  20. Lumitrix
  21. ArKaos GrandVJ XT
  22. Notch
  23. BrightSign
  24. disguise
  25. FacadeSignage
  26. Virtuosity
  27. OpenFrameworks
  28. Pure Data (Pd)
  29. Max/MSP/Jitter
  30. Adobe After Effects 
  31. Blender
  32. Unity3D
  33. Unreal Engine
  34. Fragmentarium
  35. Synesthesia Live
  36. ImmersaView SimVisuals
  37. Modulo Kinetic
  38. Splash by Papermoon
  39. FaçadeSignage
  40. Screenberry
  41. Showlogix
  42. PixelController
  43. MagicQ by ChamSys
  44. X-Agora
  45. VVVV
  46. Coge VJ
  47. Spout
  48. Syphon
  49. ESPER LightCue
  50. Tinkercad

What program do you use for projection mapping?

For projection mapping, I would recommend MadMapper as the best overall choice due to its user-friendly interface, advanced 3D mapping support, and real-time rendering capabilities. 

MadMapper provides powerful tools such as built-in sound analysis, DMX control system, and MIDI and OSC support for syncing visuals to music. These features enable the creation of stunning effects using various types of projectors and cater to a wide range of applications, from stage decoration to art installations.

Other options include Resolume Arena, which excels in live performances and offers an ultra-fast video player for real-time video mixing. Resolume Avenue, a sister program to Arena, also provides a reliable visual programming environment with an audio processing engine. HeavyM, on the other hand, is suitable for beginners and small-scale events, offering an online library of pre-built templates and easy drag-and-drop functionality. Lightform Creator, VPT, Isadora, and TouchDesigner are other specialized software options for artists and designers, educational purposes, interactive installations, and complex visualizations, respectively.

In choosing the right software, consider factors such as ease of use, compatibility with your hardware, and the specific requirements of your mapping project. Some of these programs also have built-in client-server mode and streaming without latency, providing additional convenience and flexibility.

What is the most popular projection mapping?

Resolume Arena is considered one of the most popular projection mapping software options, especially for live performances. 

It offers real-time video mixing capabilities, stunning visual effects, and an intuitive interface, making it a popular choice for VJs, DJs, and visual artists. The software's powerful tools, such as BPM-synced effects and animations, network-based synchronization features, unlimited video layers, and HD video playback channels, contribute to its popularity in the industry.

The demand for video mapping has grown significantly in recent years, with more and more artists, event organizers, and experiential marketing campaigns leveraging the power of this technology. Resolume Arena's reputation as a performance video mapping software, coupled with its suite of features and compatibility with the majority of projectors, makes it a preferred choice for many professionals.

What is the easiest projection mapping?

HeavyM is the easiest projection mapping software for beginners and those working on small-scale events. 

Its user-friendly interface, extensive library of effects, and real-time editing capabilities make it an accessible option for those new to projection mapping. HeavyM's pre-built templates and drag-and-drop functionality further simplify the process, making it an ideal choice for those looking to quickly create visually appealing projection mappings.

Additionally, the software offers features such as continuous loops of visuals, easy audio integration, and remote control via smartphone or tablet. These functionalities enable users to create projection mappings that are both visually impressive and easy to manage, making HeavyM an excellent choice for novices and small-scale events.

How do I create an interactive projection map?

To create an interactive projection map, first, choose a software that supports interactive installations, such as MadMapper or Isadora. 

These programs provide powerful tools for integrating interactive elements like Kinect or Leap Motion, allowing you to bring your projections to life. In-depth lighting settings, advanced stage editors, and specialized software for structure-based projection can also help create an immersive and interactive experience.

Next, use video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro to craft visual effects and animations tailored to your chosen display surface, whether it's a flat surface, a physical object, or an architectural structure. Import your content into the projection mapping software, and adjust the mapping settings to align with the unique contours and dimensions of your chosen surface. Make sure to consider factors such as playback performance, interactive playback, and textures on objects to create a seamless and engaging experience.

How to do your own projection mapping?

To do your own projection mapping

  1. Choose the right projection mapping software, such as MadMapper, Resolume Arena, or HeavyM, depending on your needs and expertise. Each software offers unique features and pricing plans, so it's essential to find the one that best suits your project requirements and skill level.
  2. Select the display surface, which can be a flat surface, a physical object, or an architectural structure. Your chosen surface will determine the complexity of the mapping and the type of content you need to create.
  3. Create or obtain the content you want to project. Use video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or other specialized tools to craft visual effects, animations, and interactive elements that will bring your projection mapping to life. Consider incorporating optical illusions and visual effects that complement your chosen surface and enhance the overall experience.
  4. Import your content into the projection mapping software and adjust the mapping settings to align with the unique contours and dimensions of your chosen surface. This process may involve warping, masking, or blending your content to achieve a seamless projection on the display surface.
  5. Set up the necessary hardware, including projectors, cameras, and sensors, to enable interactive playback and real-time projection mapping. The choice of hardware will depend on the scale and complexity of your project, as well as the specific features of your chosen software.
  6. Test and fine-tune your projection mapping. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color balance of your projectors, and make any necessary tweaks to your content and mapping settings to ensure a smooth and visually stunning experience.
  7. If your projection mapping is part of a live event or performance, rehearse the show and ensure that all technical aspects, including playback performance, audio synchronization, and interactive elements, work seamlessly together.
  8. Finally, share your projection mapping with your audience, whether it's at an art exhibition, music event, or architectural installation. Promote your work through experiential marketing and word-of-mouth marketing to attract viewers and create buzz around your project.

The Bottom Line

To recap, here are the best projection mapping software to try this year:

  1. MadMapper — best of the best
  2. Resolume Arena — best for live performances
  3. HeavyM — best for beginners
  4. Lightform Creator — best for artists and designers
  5. VPT — best for educational purposes
  6. Isadora — best for interactive installations
  7. TouchDesigner — best for complex visualizations

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