Light painting with a 3D printer produces awesome, hologram-like artwork

You still may not be able to paint with all the colors of the wind, a la Pocahontas, but now, artists Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi and Daniel Canogar have discovered how to paint with light using 3D printers. This revolutionary new technique has added an entirely new dimension to the relatively well-established practice of painting with light, and it has both the artistic and the tech communities buzzing over its possibilities.

Their projects are different, using varying applications of 3D printing to achieve their desired effects, but both outcomes are nothing short of spectacular. In Kalsi’s work, he borrows from the slightly more familiar practice of 3D printing, “slicing” light to produce floating portraits. Watching the process is comparable to watching a hologram being formed, one line at a time. As Kalsi explains in his Vimeo post, the portrait was made by way of an “rgb led attached to a 3dr printer.” The most interesting facet of Kalsi’s work may be the fact that while the portrait is being created, it is invisible to the human eye. But the videographed result is pretty stunning.

This actually isn’t the first time that such technology has been developed — last year, a group of Carnegie Mellon students created an enormous robotic arm that could do the same thing. But Kalsi’s modified 3D printer is much more home-friendly for those of us without the space to accommodate an industrial-sized piece of machinery. Kalsi has also improved upon his own preexisting designs, as he previously released a monotone light printer in June of 2014, but his latest achievement creates full-color images.

On the other hand, Canogar’s work creates “sculptural LED screens using LED tiles specially fabricated for these projects.” Because these LED tiles are extremely flexible, Canogar is able to bend and twist the screens into “complex curving shapes” that “invite viewers to explore them from different angles.” This application of light printing, Canogar states in his own Vimeo post, allows for viewers to have different experiences from different vantage points, tapping into the public-participation performance that is Canogar’s “signature method.”

He adds, “[The pieces’] looping forms invite viewers to explore them from different angles. The shapes of these suspended artworks respond to the specific features of the architecture that contains them, as well as the flow of pedestrians that circulate under them.”

Thank goodness for the intersection of technology and art.

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