Skip to main content

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.

sliced light in color

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
NASA is testing a 3D printer that uses moon dust to print in space
The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility, and the print heads, plates and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station.

The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility and the print heads, plates, and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station. Redwire Space

When a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this week, it carried a very special piece of equipment from Earth: A 3D printer that uses moon dust to make solid material.

Read more
The best 3D printers under $500
3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500
anycubic photon review 3d printer xxl 2

The 3D printing market has seen quite a few changes over the last few years. In just the span of a decade, the barrier to entry has dropped from well over several thousand dollars to under $200 in some cases. However, all entry and mid-level printers are not made equal. We have a few suggestions for prospective buyers and other information regarding alternatives not found on this list.

To some veterans of the 3D printing scene, this list may seem like it lacks a few of the most commonly recommended printers for newcomers. This is by design. Our list only considers printers with tested components from proven, reliable vendors. That's why we chose the Monoprice MP Mini v2 as our top pick--it's reliable and easy to use. We have avoided any printer with a frame primarily made from interlocking acrylic pieces and anything historically unreliable.
Most bang for your buck: Monoprice MP Mini v2

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more