Pixelstick brings programmable fun to light painting

Want to be more creative with your light painting? Pixelstick is a row of programmable LEDs used to display images and patterns in long exposure photographs.

Just one example of the creative effects achievable with the Pixelstick.
(Credit: Pixelstick)

Light painting is the art of leaving your camera shutter open long enough to capture a trail of light, usually involving an artificial source, such as a torch or even an iPad. Often used in conjunction with time lapses, artists can simulate movement by moving the light source through a series of images.

Pixelstick aims to simplify the process of creating mesmerising light painting effects with 198 programmable colour LED lights housed in a portable frame. Create a Bitmap image in a program such as Photoshop, 198 pixels high, and load it on to the Pixelstick via an SD card. There is a control panel to let users select the correct image to display.

To create the effect, simply move through the frame during the long exposure with the Pixelstick, which will then display the image one vertical line at a time. More abstract compositions can be created by moving the stick in different configurations through the frame, with the smart sequence function displaying several images over multiple exposures to create an animation.

The tool itself costs US$250 or more for Kickstarter backers over at the campaign page, with the team seeking US$110,000 in total to get the project off the ground. See more examples of the light painting effects in the video below.

The Pixelstick is not unique — other artists have experimented with LED strips and Arduino before — but it makes the process more simple for beginners.

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