Become a Light Painter with Pixelstick

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Become a Light Painter with Pixelstick

The holidays may be over, but we know that our photographer friends are always looking to explore different techniques and experiment with new gadgets.

Check out Pixelstick, a Brooklyn-born, Kickstarter-funded invention that turns even novice photographers into light painters.

First, a brief background on light painting

Light painting is a photographic technique in which a handheld light source is manipulated to “paint” or “draw” images into a long exposure photograph. The first known light painting was composed in 1889 by Georges Demeny, who attached incandescent bulbs to the joints of his assistant to create an image titled, “Pathological Walk From in Front.”

Pixelstick Etienne-Jules_Marey_Georges_Demeny1889-1

In 1914, Frank Gilbreth and his wife Lillian Moller Gilbreth used light painting not as an artistic display, but as a means to track the motions of manufacturing workers in their studies of employee output and workplace efficiency.

Through the 20th century, various photographers and artists helped progress light painting, each creating unique works that perplex and inspire the mind. Naturally, this art form has further blossomed in the 21st century with the emergence of digital photography and LED lighting.

Enter Pixelstick

Now that you know a little bit about light painting, you’re probably thinking two things: 1) Sounds cool, and 2) Sounds complex. The answers are: 1) Totally cool, and 2) Not with Pixelstick.

Pixelstick is a lightweight aluminum stick with 200 full color RGB LEDs. An easy-to-use mounted controller reads images from an SD card and displays them on the LEDS, with each light corresponding to a pixel in the image. All you do is prep your images on your computer, load them onto an SD card, insert the SD card into the controller, set up your long exposure photograph or time lapse, select an image you want to light paint and press “Fire.”

Brooklyn tech wizards Duncan McCloud Frazier and Steve McGuigan of Bitbanger Labs presented the concept to the public on Kickstarter back in 2013. The campaign quickly amassed more than 2,000 backers, accelerating past its $110,000 goal with five weeks to spare and eventually raising more than $600,000.

As seen on Fstoppers and Yahoo Tech, Pixelstick was a hot gift pick this holiday season, and with good reason. Take a look at a few awe-inspiring Pixelstick creations:







Have you tried Pixelstick? At $325 for the full kit, it seems like a fun investment. To learn more, visit the Pixelstick website for specs, tutorials and pre-themed image packs for download.