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Best Projector For Art

By June 16, 2020June 30th, 2020No Comments

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Best Projector For Art

What Is The Best Projector For Art? – Canvas, Murals, & Walls

If you have been wondering, what is the best art projector?, you have come to the right place. I want to share my experience and research to help you find the right projector to meet your art needs. But before we dive in, I must confess something.

To be completely honest, when I first used a projector, I thought I was cheating or something. But the reality is, you would rarely find a profession that hasn’t been influenced by technology. For me, I love the fact you can sketch something out, then easily convert that to a large format mural.

As an artist, a digital art projector can do wonders. Whether you plan on creating a mural, wall art, or a medium to large-scale painting, a projector is really the secret sauce. If you are looking for unmatchable precision and done at scale, investing in a decent projector will level up your skill-set.

There are a bunch of different projectors on the market. So I understand if you feel unsure, regarding all the specs and features. For this reason, I will breakdown all my findings, and clearly explain what projector is best for each use case. This way you can find what art projector is best for you. Let’s go!

Best Projector For Art

Artograph Flare150 Digital Art Projector

Best All-Around Professional Art Projector

PROS
  • Built-in grids for art
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Color control & one touch greyscale
  • Tripod mount connection
  • Compact, lightweight, portable
CONS
  • Only 1 year warranty
  • Apple users may require additional connection adapter

The Artograph Flare 150 Art Projector is the best all-around art projector we tested. This wasn’t much of a surprise given the fact it is frequently out of stock. If you can get your hands on one, it is well worth it. This projector was built with artists in mind, as you get built-in grids and color to greyscale toggle.

In terms of image quality and brightness, The Artograph Flare 150 has a good enough image for general art use, with its 1280 x 720p resolution and 150 lumens of brightness.  You can change the image scale from 7 to 86 inches. It has a maximum operating distance of 11 feet (3.5 meters), which is adequate for small scale mural work. This projector is tripod mountable and easy to transport so that you can easily create in different spaces.

Overall, the Artograph Flare 150 is the best all-around projector for most artists. It does everything well, which will transform your creative process. The only downsides are Apple connectivity, as you will have to buy an additional adapter. Also, this projector only comes with a 1-year warranty.

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ViewSonic M1 Portable Projector

Best Compact & Portable Art Projector

PROS
  • Small and compact
  • Built-in batteries with long battery life
  • Built-in Harmon Kardon speakers
  • Flexible connectivity
  • 3 year warranty
CONS
  • Somewhat low image fidelity (854 x 480p)
  • Edges of the image not as clear as the center

The ViewSonic M1 is a solid choice for artists who want a compact projector for indoor and outdoor use. What makes the ViewSonic great for outdoor use is the 6-hour battery life. The ViewSonic M1 has great connectivity supporting most common media with HDMI and USB. A bonus feature is the amazing built-in Harmon Kardon speakers that sound amazing for how small the device is. You can also rest assured this projector is backed by an industry-leading 3-year warranty.

There are a couple of cons we should go over. With 8-feet 9-inches operating distance to the wall, this projector won’t be adequate for large scale murals. Also, if you want to use this projector for home theatre, the 854 x 480p (not even 720p) image quality probably won’t cut it.

Overall, you buy this projector if you need a compact portable projector with great battery life. Also if you don’t need the dual purpose art and home theatre projector. For simple art tracing, the image quality is good enough.

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BenQ MH535FHD 1080P DLP Home Theater Projector

Best All-Around Multi-Purpose Projector

PROS
  • FHD 1080p bright lumen display for portraying the intricacies of your art
  • High contrast ratio at 10,000:1 for better color demarcation
  • Lightweight and portable for you to carry it anywhere effortlessly
  • Long-lasting projector lamp
  • Good value for money
CONS
  • Only HDMI connectors available
  • No built-in battery (needs to be plugged in)

If you need a projector that gives optimal tracing no matter how bright the environment? The BenQ MH535FHD, or the Epson is the answer. Out of all the projectors we tested, these two are the best, in terms of all-around image quality and brightness. The BenQ will project your artwork at full 1920 x 1080p HD for a crisp and clear image. At 3600 lumens of brightness, this projector is the brightest we tested and will work well in lit spaces.

Overall, this projector from BenQ is perfect for multipurpose use with its amazing image quality and brightness. You can set it up for tracing art, displaying art in a gallery, or use it as a home theatre. If you are looking for a projector for murals that will work best at long distances. You can rest assured this is a quality projector because it is backed with a 3-year warranty.

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Epson Home Cinema 1060

Best Art Projector for Murals (19 Feet/6 Meter Operating distance)

PROS
  • Widescreen FHD 1080p projection
  • Great operating distance for murals (19 feet/ 6 meters)
  • High contrast ratio up to 60,000:1 for darker blacks and enhanced projection
  • Wireless screen mirroring to view photos and videos from your device easily
  • Excellent build quality for high durability
CONS
  • A little bit heavy
  • No tripod mount
  • No onboard battery

The Epson Home Cinema 1060s image quality is absolutely unmatchable, in all the art projectors we reviewed. With the full 1920 x 1080p HD resolution and high contrast, you get to enjoy deeper blacks and high brightness values with 3100 lumens. This is one of the many projectors that boasts of projecting crystal clear images with no rainbow effect by using the innovative 3LCD Technology. This projector allows you to connect multiple devices like your smartphone, for quick screen mirroring. 

Overall, you buy this projector if you need it for large-scale art like murals. Also if you want a dual-purpose device for art and home theatre. This projector is similar tot he BenQ in terms of image quality and brightness. Hower this Epson has a slightly better operating distance, which is better for mural work and gallery art projections.

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APEMAN 4500 Lumen Mini Projector

Best Budget Art Projector

PROS
  • Compact & portable
  • Amazing value for money
  • 720p & bright for low cost
  • HDMI and USB connectivity
CONS
  • Misleading description, says 1080p when it is really 720p
  • Misleading lumen value. however still very bright

If you are on a tight budget and need an art projector, the APEMAN Mini Projector is the best value for money we found. While the specs mentioned in the product description are simply not accurate, that doesn’t take away from the fact this is an amazing value proposition. Nothing in the $150 range comes close to the quality you get with the APEMAN Mini Projector 4500.

Let’s quickly address the false product specs and explain what you really get. The product description says 1080p supported and 4500 lumens. This projector really has 720p resolution, which is still good enough for art tracing and short-range image quality. Also, there’s no way this thing has 4500 lumens. There is no way to know how many lumens it really has. However, based on comparing it to the other more brands we tested, my guess would be roughly 1600 lumens. Which was still very bright and great value for the money.

Overall, you buy this projector for art, if you are on a tight budget. But that doesn’t mean you sacrifice quality. The APEMANs compact and portable design, 720p, and great brightness are unmatched at this price point. Just note: if you need to display for large formats, like murals or gallery displays, this projector only retains quality up to 9 feet, just under 2.7 meters.

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Artograph EZ Tracer Art Projector

Budget option for enlarging and project flat artwork 

PROS
  • Simple design
  • Quickly transfer sketches to surface
  • Good for children (less technical)
CONS
  • No blub included
  • No digital inputs
  • 5-6 feet maximum display range
  • No built-in battery

The Artograph EZ Tracer has a very specific function. That is to project a small piece of artwork on to a surface. The image quality is just good enough to trace. That said, getting the image clear and crisp takes time moving the projector to the optimal distance from the surface. You won’t be able to import digital files with this. The Artograph EZ Tracer is made for simple projecting and tracing.

A couple more things to consider. You will have to buy a bulb, as it doesn’t come with one. In terms of power, this projector comes with a plug that doesn’t make it that portable. You would have to use an extension cord for portable use.

Overall, this is an ideal product for beginner artists or children. I can’t recommend this for any intermediate artist. Even for this price, I would go with the AMEMAN.

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What Should Be Considered Before Buying A Projector For Art And Design?

Before purchasing a digital art projector, the following things should be kept in mind that will guide you in making an informed decision:

Projection Size And Resolution:

In order to know what projection size and resolution you need, you should know the intended use case. Like what size of the canvas, wall, etc will you be creating art on? In addition, will you use the projector as a home theatre when you are not creating art?

Any decent wall art projector is capable of projecting an image of 100 to 120 inches (measured diagonally). Although in general, there is no upper limit to which a projector can shoot an image. However, depending on the lens quality, after a certain distance, the image starts to fade away.

One rule that you should remember here is: the further, the surface is from the projector, the bigger the image it will produce. The lens also has a specific limit, beyond which the sharpness and brightness of the images start to decrease.

Hence, keeping these facts in mind, I would recommend a projector that supports 720p resolution for all your small or medium-sized projects. If you need to work on projects bigger than 150 diagonal inches, then you should opt for a 1080p resolution projector. Anything bigger than 200 inches, you should be looking at a 4K theatre projector.

Form Factor – Projector Size

Projectors come in different sizes. Generally speaking, the more powerful, higher resolution, and greater projection size, projectors are bigger. On the other hand, small and compact projectors, while very portable, don’t have the same image quality of larger projectors.

At the end of the day, you need to look at your use case. Do you intend on transporting your projector? Or only sometimes? Do you need to mount or hang it? Where will it sit? These are all questions you should answer, before picking your next art projector.

Overhead vs Portable Projector:

Overhead projector, commonly abbreviated as OHP, is a device that enables you to write or sketch in real-time on transparent plastic sheets while it projects the image onto the screen at the same time.

Although the OHP is gradually becoming obsolete, it is still primarily used in the field of education. The bulk of this device also makes it less portable as compared to other projectors.

On the other hand, a portable projector, as the name suggests, is compact and is extremely easy to carry around. Some of them are small enough to slide into your jeans pocket!

Portable projectors come in different shapes, sizes, and they range in quality. Due to technological advancements, projectors are now common in home theatre, and for artists. You are even seeing overhead projectors being replaced with portable projectors with screen mirroring technology.

Connectivity – Wired and Wireless:

Choosing one wall art projector on the basis of connectivity should not be a hard nut to crack. Remember, all projectors, whether old or new, have wired connectivity, but only some of them offer wireless connectivity. Most projectors come with HDMI and/or USB connectivity. This goes you the ability to hook up screen mirroring technology like Chromecast as an example.

Aesthetically speaking, to keep your area free from wire clutter thrown all over the place, I recommend a projector with wireless connectivity. Not only is that state-of-the-art technology, but it also frees up space with no headache of different wires getting tangled up.

Brightness:

As you all know, brightness is measured in lumens, which informs us about the amount of light being radiated from the light source. Hence, for any projector, the rule is: Higher the lumens, higher will be the brightness and vice versa.

You would need a projector capable of producing higher lumens if you are using it in a bright room. Generally, for conference rooms, you would need a projector with more than 2500 lumens, and if you want to use the projector in a dark room, then around 1200 lumens would suffice.

Budget:

Among all the factors that you need to keep in mind before purchasing a projector, the budget is highly subjective. If you are on a tight budget, then go for an affordably priced projector that doesn’t compromise on the major aspects. On the other hand, if shelling out some more bucks is not a concern for you, then the whole market place is your playground!

No matter your budget, the projector you choose should meet your needs, based on your own use case as an artist.

What Are The Different Types Of Projectors?

The market is flooded with a plethora of projectors of diverse specifications and types. Therefore, it becomes imperative for you to be aware of the 4 different types of projectors that are used for art.

Digital Projectors

Also known as a digital projection display system, a digital projector is a device that aids in projecting an enlarged picture or video on a bigger screen. A digital projector is majorly used as an alternative to a computer screen and has various uses in art and presentations.

Opaque Projector

An opaque projector is technically called an episcope, which is a device that showcases opaque objects or materials by shooting a bright beam of light from a lamp onto the object. This device uses a system of prisms and lens imaging in order to project the image of the opaque object onto a bigger screen.

The opaque projectors are popularly known as artists’ enlargement tools because it is widely used by artists worldwide to project an image onto canvas in a seamless manner.

Slide Projector

A slide projector is one of those old-school devices that are used to show photographic slides. This optomechanical device can be called as the forefathers of the modern generation projectors. Slide projectors gained humongous popularity in the 1950s where they were mainly used for home entertainment. Overhead projector

An overhead projector mainly works on the principles of optics by using a mirror and converging lens to project images from a transparent sheet on the screen in real-time.

The OHPs are majorly used in classrooms by teachers to write their notes and share it with students on a larger screen in real-time. This machine is slowly becoming obsolete because of the unnecessary cost of materials that are required for this projector to work correctly.

Why Do Artists Use Projectors?

An art projector is mainly used to project an image onto the canvas or wall, which helps the artist to create a precise outline. A projector helps the artist to control the size, proportions, and composition without drawing manual grid lines.

The grid method is by far, one of the most effective techniques that have been used since ancient times by all professional artists. This is an extraordinary method to divide a whole picture into grids, which helps to train the eye of the artist to draw every small portion precisely.

Previously the grid method was practiced on paper for accurate line drawing. With technological advancement, this method has been modified with the help of a projector.

How Do You Use A Digital Art Projector?

To paint with the aid of a digital art projector, you simply need to display the desired image on the larger surface and trace over it. Before you start tracing the image on the canvas or wall, it is imperative to adjust the screen regarding the brightness, contrast, and size of the image that you want to paint.

How Do You Paint A Mural On A Projector?

Painting a mural with an art projector is similar to normal painting as discussed above with a small change. Unlike a normal painting, a mural is a larger format. Therefore, you need to be careful about the exact shape, size, proportions, and color of the mural on the wall before you begin to paint.

To paint a mural, you need to apply the same old painting techniques, but on a larger canvas (wall). Hence, using a wall art projector to paint murals is highly recommended to precisely outline the design on the wall within the grid. The main advantage to using a projector for murals is getting the proportions right at large scale.

How Do I Use My Smartphone As A Projector?

If you are unable to get hold of a digital art projector for any reason, you would be amazed to know that you can still use a projector to do your painting!

You can create a DIY projector at home with a cardboard box and a concave lens, but the outcome would not be satisfying, and often the projected image starts to blur when this DIY projector is not kept close enough to the larger screen.

The other (better) technique would be to use a Pico-Projector. You need to connect your smartphone to an HDMI Pico-Projector, which is a device as big as your smartphone. This handy small projectors work decently in dark rooms, and you can get a projection of about 55 to 60 inches.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ve learned more about digital art projectors. Perhaps you have thought more thoroughly about your specific needs as an artist. And if you want to use your projector for other things on top of the art. Also what you should consider when purchasing a projector for art. With that awareness and our recommendations, I hope you know what projector will best match your needs.

Remember, using a projector for art is OK! You will level up your skills as an artist, and create amazing art no matter what surface. Happy creating!

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is Arturth's founder. A Senior Graphic Designer from the Pacific Northwest, he has a passion for art, design, and bringing people together through the creative process.

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