Do you think that art always has to involve paint and a brush? If that’s the case, then you’ll need to get ready to be floored by what modern artists are doing with projectors these days! Some people have used their digital art projector to trace small images onto larger media. Others have used them as part of dramatic color and light shows. Investing in a digital projector is a great way to take your creative talents to the next level.
Things to Look for Before Buying an Artist Projector
Many consumer-grade projector units provide images that are too washed out to be very useful for artists. If you plan on tracing images projected onto a screen, then you need a bulb that can provide good color reproduction without being oppressively bright. Performance artists who need projectors for use with video presentations or who want to showcase conceptual work will need brighter bulbs.
Every artist projector designed for tracing art has to be able to scale up images without distorting them. If you plan to do any kind of mural, then you’ll need a projector that supports a high level of magnification. Once again, performance artists will want something that can display moving pictures sharply.
Artists who have to drag their equipment with them between different studios will often wear their projectors out quickly. Don’t buy something expensive if you know it’ll eventually get ruined from daily use. You might want to buy a higher-end unit for use in your own studio and a less expensive one to carry around with you.
Art teachers, in particular, won’t want something that’s too big. Try to get something that balances size with the build quality. You don’t want to invest in a flimsy unit, but you also want to make sure that it’s small enough to fit in a bag with your other art supplies. Consider the kind of tripod or mount you’re using and how much weight it can handle.
Best Digital Projectors for Artists Under $100
Auking Mini Projector
• Weighs less than three pounds
• Offers 2000:1 contrast ratio
• Comes with a 2,600-lumen lamp
• The remote sensor is physically located on the back of the machine
• Native resolution is only around 800×480
While Auking’s promotional materials have largely focused on the consumer market, this is probably one of the better digital art projector units in its price class. It’s light enough to bring everywhere and should mount on most studio-grade tripods. The projection display runs anywhere from 32-170 inches, so it’s suitable for doing both tracing works and projecting presentations. Some artists have even used Auking’s new 2019 model to show off their found-footage work. Even though the resolution at many of these art installations is poor, the Auking didn’t seem to struggle with them at all.
Since it features such a long lamp lifespan, this projector is actually ideal for this kind of usage. It can project an image for 50,000 hours continuously. While burn-in might start to be a problem at this point, a majority of artists probably won’t have to run their device anywhere near as long.
• Makes less noise than most units on the market
• Compatible with a large number of different kinds of devices
• Supports an amazing 3000:1 contrast ratio even when scaling images up to 1920×1080
• Can easily overheat if vents are blocked
• Doesn’t support some kinds of still images
• While it only weighs slightly over three pounds, the housing is kind of bulky
If you’re looking to get the most out of even the smallest images, then the BIGASUO might be right for you. While it’s not going to let you accurately trace everything, it can display a majority of pictures at 70 percent more brightness than the original material. This makes it easy to project dark presentations that were originally done in charcoal. While the manufacturer has again decided to focus their marketing efforts on the consumer market, this is another unit that can scale the resolution high enough to please those working on murals.
The included sound system even makes the BIGASUO attractive to performance artists. It can run for a fairly long period of time, so it should handle this kind of scenario quite well. Even if it does burn out, the projector is inexpensive enough that it can be somewhat easily replaced.
TOPVISION 2400Lux Projector
• Upgraded design features an impressively bright LED bulb
• Scales images anywhere from 50-176″
• Not compatible with some types of images
• Can’t project very small pictures
As the name would suggest, TOPVISION’s newest projector offers very impressive levels of brightness. It has to be one of the brightest in its class, though this does hurt its ability to reproduce smaller images somewhat. If you’re looking for something to use in an art gallery, though, this has to be one of the better options. The price is fairly reasonable as well.
It should prove especially attractive to those who have to work with canvas under fairly bright lighting. Usually, you’d need to dim the lights before you saw any discernible lines. The latest version of this project should work fairly well even in daylight as long as you have at least some shade in the room. This is another feature that makes it a good choice for those who need a stationary device for use in a gallery.
QKK 2400Lux Projector
• Recently redesigned to scale images up to 1080p
• Comes with a tripod
• Works at several different focal distances
• Can’t project certain types of still slides, which makes it less attractive to those doing the tracing
• Doesn’t display some types of text properly
Those looking for a digital projector for artists on a tight budget might want to take a closer look at QKK’s latest offering. They’ve recently redesigned their previous model, but they haven’t driven the price up very much while doing so. It’s not the best for tracing images, but it’s certainly ideal for multimedia artists on a tight budget.
Those who do light-pen demonstrations and can’t afford to have colors get washed out should certainly like the lens on this model. It comes with a front-mounted fine adjustment dial, which makes it easy to fine tune while making this kind of artwork. It’s bright enough for almost every situation as well, which has helped to enhance its reputation as a good option for those starving artists who can’t sacrifice too much money.
Best Digital Projectors for Artists Under $500
Artograph Flare150 Art Projector
• Purpose-built for use in tracing
• Very compact
• Features 36 built-in drawing grids to project either alone or over the artwork
• Can run off batteries or line power
• Users complain that the remote control doesn’t always function properly
• Sizing and aspect ratio correction can be difficult
• Buttons are too small for some artists
Artograph has been producing some of the finest art projectors on the market for years, but they tend to be rather expensive. The Flare150 is an attempt to size down their technology to meet a price point somewhere under $500. It supports image magnification levels of anywhere from 125-400 percent when connected to any USB device. Artists can sideload JPG, PNG, BMP or PDF files and expect that their Flare150 unit will give them the freedom to trace any of these on a larger piece of material. You shouldn’t have any compatibility problems regardless of what kind of drawing software you’re using.
Those who are working with canvas or doing wall murals will especially like that they’re able to project a grid over the picture. This makes it easy to follow the rule of thirds. Some users have brought these art projectors with them to their classes as a result. They make it easy to show students the best way to organize different elements in a single image.
Particularly picky artists who are concerned about resolution should especially like the one-touch grayscale support. While the unit’s quite bright, it should still run around 2½ hours before needing a recharge regardless of whether you have it in color or monochrome mode.
Mini Toumei Projector
• Among the smallest projectors in its class
• Can be easily moved
• Enlarges images up to 20 times
• Costs less than other similar models
• Bulb only lasts 30,000 hours
• Automatic vertical keystone correction sometimes misses the mark
Dedicated multimedia artists who are serious about using everything from illustrations to found footage may be interested in the Toumei mini projector. It comes complete with a quad-core CPU system and onboard OS, so you won’t even need to hook it to a computer. You could load artwork on it and drag it with you anywhere. It’s only slight over six inches and weighs less than a pound, so you won’t ever have to worry about making travel preparations for it.
While some people have been slightly critical of the vertical keystone correction system, the rest of the projector relies on manual focusing. A few might balk at paying this much for a projector that doesn’t focus itself, but this is actually good news for artists. It gives you the freedom to take total control. As a result, this might be the best art projector to newcomers who’ve long been skeptical about whether they’d ever like to really incorporate this kind of technology into their own studios.
AAXA P6 Mini LED Projector
• Fits in your hand
• Can project a large amount of media from the onboard microSD slot
• Multiple I/O options make connectivity a breeze
• Doesn’t scale as large as some other similar units
• Costs more than some of its competitors
Artists who aren’t afraid to branch out and try something new might want to look into AAXA’s P6 mini projector. At only 600 lumens, it’s the darkest projector on our list. Usually, that would be a major drawback. However, artists working in dark studios have praised the P6’s image quality and ability to provide accurate color reproduction as a result. You won’t want to abuse it too much by displaying still images with it forever, but it boasts a reasonably long lifespan. Those who prefer to work with the lights off will probably see higher quality reproduced images from the P6 than most of the competition.
Best of all, it’s small enough to fit in most user’s hands. It’s the latest in a long line of so-called pico-scale projectors that are among the smallest functional models on the market today. It should fit in almost any carrying bag or laptop case as a result.
Are you looking for the best art projector on the market? Then you more than likely want to go with Artograph’s Flare150. It was purpose-made to suit the needs of those who have to do a lot of tracing work. The manufacturer didn’t skimp on other features, though, so you shouldn’t feel left out if you’re a multimedia artist who mixes different types of presentations together. It’s even got a physically attractive housing.
Unfortunately, the Flare150 is rather pricey. If you’re an artist on a budget, then the Auking Mini Projector might be more to your liking. It’s affordable enough that you could get two or three of them to carry around with you. It’s probably the best digital projector for artists who are still going to school for this reason.