As lovely as family dinners sound in theory, given their association with positive academic performance, health benefits, and general building of communal, familial spirit, we all know that loving our parents, siblings, and children doesn’t always translate perfectly into sharing an engaging meal every single night.
So for those evenings where conversation is particularly lacking, you no longer need to fear the dreaded awkward silence. Meet Le Petit Chef, a 3D mapping project that puts the “show” in “dinner and a show,” and does so rather spectacularly.
A combination of performance art, comedy, and serious technical prowess, Le Petit Chef is the brainchild of SkullMapping, an artistic collective headed by Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeeck. While you wait for your meal, the 3D projection keeps you properly entertained, with an approximately two minute long animation of a miniature chef who climbs out of a manhole and subsequently endures a series of challenges of mishaps as he tries (and fails) to prepare a delicious meal that is, admittedly, considerably larger than he is.
In the video put forth by SkullMapping, a projector mounted on the ceiling displays the bite-sized chef as he first emerges, then begins to work on your dinner plate, transforming it into a grill upon which a steak, potatoes, and a virtual broccoli tree are gradually added. In the footage, delighted guests are heard exclaiming and, every once in awhile, reaching out to ensure that the seemingly life-like (other than the size) 3D mapping isn’t actually, you know, a very small chef.
While this may be a rather frivolous application of this technology, it’s certainly a very tangible and entertaining demonstration of how projection mapping can work. Sterckx and Verbeeck explained that they employed a combination of 3D animation and motion capture in bringing Le Petit Chef to life, and while a tiny chef is the first manifestation of the concept, there’s no telling what could be next.