Amazingly Creative 3D Light Painting Technique Using an iPad

This video will blow your mind. We’ve all seen light-painting photos and stop-motion animations created with those photos, but marketing agency Dentsu London figured out how to take light painting a step further using an iPad.

By using all sorts of crazy computer modeling and animation techniques, they figured out how to create 3D light-paintings by playing a “CAT-scan” style animation on the iPad while sweeping the iPad through the air. By repeatedly doing this kind of sweeping with various 3D models, they were able to create 3D light painting stop-motion animations. Here’s how they explain it:

We use photographic and animation techniques that were developed to draw moving 3-dimensional typography and objects with an iPad. In dark environments, we play movies on the surface of the iPad that extrude 3-d light forms as they move through the exposure. Multiple exposures with slightly different movies make up the stop-frame animation.

Prepare to be amazed.

A big thanks to Jim Goldstein for the tip!

  • allybobble

    hmmmm “Amazingly Creative 3D Light Painting Technique Using an iPad” that cant be viewed on an iPad, very good!

  • lloyd

    it doesnt really do much “animation” its just light painting with some expensive crap. go back to starbucks

  • sidekick

    lol, i agree with lloyd, its overworked, you have 3d animations, do it in 3d and composite it! the effect is far more effective as a single long exposure photograph, taking it to stop motion was too far

  • MD

    Come on petapixel! Time to get up with the times and get an HTML5 video player that will play on iOS4!!!

    Search them all here if you don’t know where to begin:


    Boooooring. I thought the point of lightpainting was to have fun and do some creative stuff with a $5 led flashlight. Considering the time they invested in this, they could have done it way better with traditional CGI compositing. OH LOOK WE HAVE IPADS !

  • DasRakel

    So now we know what’s an iPad good for, and what’s it not good for.

  • DasRakel

    I think you meant “Time to get up with the Apple”.
    Right now Flash is the videoplayer that works on all computers,

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  • Meek

    What a waste of time. It probably would have looked cooler as an animation playing on the ipad.

  • Meek

    What a waste of time. It probably would have looked cooler as an animation playing on the ipad.

  • Tobi

    Really Boring. Could have rendered in the 3d model directly without using this expensive piece of crap to wave around. Fanboys…

  • Alzir Lima

    It is actually pretty cool.

  • Jo

    My goodness. I’m sure they realize that they could very well use cgi instead but they came up with a brilliant idea and, personally I think, look amazing! The stop motion was outstanding and most definitely wasn’t “taking it to far”! And it was not a waste of time! It was a grat idea that procuded and even greater video! Terrific job, some people just can’t enjoy what’s given to them.

  • Jo


  • Dugdale

    Wow, that is pretty cool idea.

  • Ronnie James Dio

    take iOS and shove it up your iOass

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  • Ricky IndiVisual Diaghe

    Find light work with type on my website since 2008.. and guess what it actually has a ‘concept’ behind it. “woah!! Really!!?”

    Personally this is just an experiment to me, I leave that ‘stuff’ on flickr…

    Freehand will ALWAYS be better for integrity and soul but I see the uses of this.. so watch this space.

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  • Franz Taptanium

    I’ve developed an iPhone / iPad app that lets you do this. Working on a cool update right now :) check out some awesome pictures made by Holographium light painters:

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