Note: This is the original post that I’ve submit to the guys at DIY Photography. I’m reposting this original version looking for some feedback.
This image was created using a combination of several skills that I have managed to get during my experience as an Electrical-Electronic Engineering student at Mexico’s School of Engineering (Facultad de Ingenieria) at UNAM, several years as an open source enthusiast and the photo technique that has caught me during the last year: light painting.
At first I started creating some shots using the typical DIY “orb tool”. Using it I was able to create some interesting shots that reminded me the “Solid of Revolution” topic that I studied years back on college. Then I came across an amazing video of some guys light-painting using an iPad.
My first reaction was: “Ok, now I have a good reason to negotiate with my wife for the new cool gadget in town”. But then I realized it wouldn’t make any sense to me, given my Electronic background from college and that I was looking for a good reason to delve deep in the Arduino platform, I have to create my own LED based board using the Arduino to program the light sequences that I wanted for my shots.
Unfortunately, my electronic knowledge was a little rusty, it’s been since 2005 that I dropped out from college and start working for a big German software firm in Mexico City, and because of my busy schedule as a consultant, husband and father I was left with few time left for this kind of endeavor. Luckily for me, the guys at Evil Mad Science came with a good solution for my predicament, a DIY kit known as the Peggy, a light emitting pegboard that you can program using Arduino.
The first task once you get the Peggy board and finish soldering the main components is to find a color combination that fits your needs. I chose to create a mix of 5 color stripes (white, yellow, green, red and blue) using ultra bright LEDs. Once you finish soldering the 25×25 LED matrix, a task that needs good soldering skills and a lot of patience, you are ready to program the Peggy with the images that will be displayed for your light painting.
Don’t panic. You don’t need software engineering skills to do so. You can use PeggyDraw2, a free software tool that runs on Processing, an easy development environment. Once you get it installed on your computer, you just have to execute the PeggyDraw2 code and you will get a graphic interface of the Peggy matrix where you just have to pick the dots you want to light, the time and number of frames that you will need for your photos. Once you are done creating your frames, the PeggyDraw2 generates the programming code, without you having to generate a single line of painful code and then you are set to upload it into your Peggy board using the Arduino IDE.