Author Archives: pixelstick

Inside the awesome world of Cosplay Portraits

Every once in a while a lucky google search unveils solid gold, as in the case of this studio in Japan that helps Cosplayers get the look they’re going for with a bit of pixelstick magic.

Studio Angle in Okayama, Japan offers a range of portrait services, but by far the most unique is their dedicated pixelstick booth where Cosplayers done their gear and step in and take it to the next level. As far as a dedicated pixelstick portrait service, Studio Angle is doing it better than anyone else we’ve seen, getting sharp, detailed subjects and buttery smooth, bright backgrounds without compositing.

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Studio Angle very kindly describes their lighting setup, as well as how they travel through the frame with pixelstick, in the image below:

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Halloween by Pixelstick

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Happy Halloween everyone! We shot in and around the pixelstick office, which as you can see is already relatively scary looking before we added various unsettling elements with pixelstick. Download the image pack by clicking here – it’s chock full of brand new spooky bitmaps.

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In the right context, even simple eyes look scary rather than just scared. We framed this without knowing what artwork we were going to put there, simply because the frame was too good to pass up. Luckily, building management doesn’t lock the door of the roof.

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The original artwork had some compression artifacts, otherwise we love this shot, especially how the image is sort of a penninsula in the sense that it has no hard edge on three sides, so it’s good to lay directly against the surface (or as close as you can get.)

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Got a lot of mileage out of the roof, obviously. This skull ribbon is a simple pixellated skull that we drew in photoshop and then repeated a bunch of times. We think it turned out great.

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Vampire Lips just signed a 5 year lease for a lovely warehouse space on the second floor.

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Fun Fact: In addition to being extremely unsettling, these teeth were the cover art for the 1983 Swans album Filth.

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Similar to the skull ribbon, a pixellated ghost ribbon over an alley puddle.

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I’m not sure he knows what’s coming.

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Different crop.

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This one is a comp of 3 shots because the lights were on and we couldn’t find the breakers.

Smartphone Wallpaper!

We were fortunate enough to have a booth at the PhotoPlus Expo at Manhattan last week, which gave us the opportunity to set up an area to show off what pixelstick can do. In between demoing with booth visitors we took some time to make some ribbons and have cropped them into some excellent smartphone wallpaper. Check it out! To save a wallpaper on mobile, tap the one your like, long press it and download it. On your computer, right click and select Save Image As.

The Invention of Holopainting

Every once and a while an art project comes along for which the scope and ambition alone are worth the time it takes to execute. Students at the University of Applied Science St. Pölten in Austria combined pixelstick with traditional Light Painting, Stop Motion and Hyperlapse to create some truly compelling 3D animations using a ring of 24 Canon 6Ds. The results speak for themselves:

To see more of Filmspektakel’s work, check out their website.

Mounts and Mountability

One of the often overlooked features of pixelstick is how well it lends itself to creative mounting. Since our very first prototype we’ve been bolting, clamping, and otherwise attaching pixelstick to as many things as we could to get the best, most interesting results possible.

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You may recognize this shot from our original video. If you look closely, in some of the frames you can see someone standing under the arc of the rainbow, giving a sense of scale. We were able to get such a large and smooth rainbow by clamping pixelstick to the end of a 12′ painter’s pole and pivoting at the corner, where the wall meets the ground. We used it again in the below shot, which allowed us to get massively long and tall rainbow arcs that were easy to see even perched on a roof across the street.

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Extending is just one technique. Whether by taking advantage of pixelstick’s 1/4-20″ Rear Channel or simply by using a superclamp, people all over the world are getting even more out of their pixelstick by sticking it on things.

To get razor straight images, Jersey Island’s own Dave Huelin put casters on a lightstand and clamped pixelstick to the front, for a smoothly rolling apparatus.
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Achim Bossert went one step further and shot a full tutorial video for mounting pixelstick to some rubber wheels via the rear channel.

But the Pièce De Résistance of pixelstick mounting belongs to Chris Noelle and his team, who modified their pixelstick to mount on a factory robot, for some truly amazing results.

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Chris and his team get full marks for both ambition and execution here. Mounting pixelstick to a precision-engineered robot designed for assembly lines is something even we never thought of doing with pixelstick. Check out the full story here. Amazing stuff, Chris!

Upon further reflection…

There are a few key differences between using pixelstick and trying to mimic the visuals in Photoshop or After Effects, and those differences account for much of the value in choosing to take the practical path.

  1. We are first and foremost shooters. Whether you shoot for fun or shoot for results, pixelstick keeps you behind the camera more and fiddling in software afterwards less.
  2. Instant feedback. Want to see how the shoot is going? Just walk to the back of the camera. You can see everything you’ve captured already. No need to wonder if you’ll be able to pull it off later in software.
  3. Most importantly, pixelstick allows you to interact with the shooting environment in a very real and compelling way.

One of the best examples of this real environmental interaction is reflections. Whether it’s the curving body of a car or the choppy surface of a lake, faking these kind of real reflections is extremely difficult to pull off convincingly. Far easier (and more rewarding) in our opinion is to let pixelstick do its thing, spilling beautiful, organic light all through your exposure.

 

New Image Packs: Fish and Animals

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The warmer weather lured us out to shoot a few new image packs in Prospect Park last night. We decided we wanted to shoot some animal life, but thought that rather than go for hyper-realism, it might be more interesting to go for the type of vintage animal illustrations you might find in an old encyclopedia or on the wall of a bait and tackle. We think they turned out really well, and the shots below only scrape the surface. Head on over to the Image Packs section to grab the images. Load them onto and SD card, stick it in pixelstick, and get shooting!

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Reblog: Colorkey Case Study

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(Note: the below was translated from the original German, a blog post from EyeLoveYou, a creative agency in Basel, Switzerland.)

The campaign to find the look for the Colourkey Leisure Card began with a close dialog with the target group: young people ages 14-25. Several workshops were set up to establish trends, needs, and preferences in young people in the Basel, Switzerland area.

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With an understanding of the needs of the target group, we began to search for design trends that would fit the campaign. On Kickstarter.com we came across and invested in the development of pixelstick, the long exposure photography tool being made by Bitbanger Labs in Brooklyn. The project met its funding goal and we were among the first people in the world have a pixelstick in our hands.

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Pixelstick consists of 200 full color LEDs, neatly arranged and attached to a 180cm long stick. The integrated controller can transfer images to the stick and play on the LEDs. By moving the pixelsstick in front of a camera taking a long exposure, you can now paint the image in the air. The technology allows practically anything that can be processed as an image to now be realized as light art.

In short, pixelstick is a luminous machine with plenty of room for creative experimentation.

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It was the perfect tool to implement the new identity for Colourkey. On one hand, a colorful and dynamic world is presented. On the other, pixelstick’s in-camera effect corresponded to the “realness” desired by the target group. Images that look assembled digitally, but are created in and interacting with the real environment. Armed with pixelstick, therefore, we made our excursions night after night, creating colorful bands through the city. Not everything was perfect – there was an element of practicing and trial and error required before we had something that was presentable on screen.

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In the end, it was all worth it. Working with pixelstick is a blast. For us, the investment in this new technology was worth it fourfold in these ways:

  1. By supporting a crowd funding project, we succeeded together with many others in this world, and helped realize the idea that pixelstick arrived as a market-ready product.
  2. Zeitgeist: The pixelstick provided the perfect basis for the imagery of our customers colourkey.
  3. In-house solution: With an interdisciplinary team consisting of design, creative, and photography, we were able to offer a complete package for the campaign to our customers.
  4. Trends: Finally, we were strengthened in our conviction with open eyes and ears to go through the world bo online and offline.

The campaign has been launched and can be seen in the Basel region, including billboards, online banners, and festivals.

Pixelstick meets SpiroJib

We’re always interested in the various ways people go about getting the most out of their equipment. Skilled lightpainter, tool-builder, and all-around pleasant guy John Griffin had his eye on designing a device to help him create spirograph-style images with a variety of light sources, and soon after building what he calls SpiroJib, he contacted us for some extra parts to help him mount his pixelstick to it. The results John was getting with SpiroJib were impressive enough already, but when combined with pixelstick they became truly awesome.

The SpiroJib is constructed from a gear and pedal system from a bike. With a simple modification John was able to mount his pixelstick to the rotating arm.

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Once mounted, he was able to shoot these really excellent images:

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Want your own SpiroJib to go with your pixelstick? Well, good news – John very kindly released instructions for creating one.