It all started because a friend wanted some cool wedding photos. Richard didn’t know what light painting was until a friend asked him for help. With a little ingenuity, curiosity, and some Arduino, maker Richard Truong created some photographic magic!


Meet the Maker: Light Painting Botanical Building Balboa Park at Night

What is Light Painting?

Light painting is a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source and taking a long exposure photograph. This illuminates a subject or to shine a point of light directly at the camera during long exposure. Have you seen YouTube videos of people drawing letters or designs with sparklers or glowsticks? That’s the idea!

The Light Painting Stick uses an array of densely packed RGB LEDs to produce vibrant abstract and realistic images onto the camera. Richard build two sizes of light-painting stick: a one meter that packs 144 RGB LEDs and a 2-meter that packs 208 RGB-LEDs.

Images and patterns are stored and selected from a microSD memory card, navigable by using a 2.5 inch touch-screen. “Recently, I had to redesign the Arduino board to include a switching power supply and add more power for the LED strip.” Richard said.

TL;DR: The light painting stick displays an image or pattern pixel by pixel as the light-painter moves, allowing you to ‘paint’ light in the air and onto your photograph.


Meet the Maker: Light Painting The Old Globe Balboa Park at Night


Painting in Balboa Park

Richard, who grew up in Thousand Oaks, CA, met us for a night out in Balboa Park. There we got to see the light-painting stick in action!

“I exhibited for the first time in [Maker Faire San Diego] 2016.” He smiled, “I got great feedback.” And since then, he’s been light-painting everywhere with Pac-Man, Star Wars, logos, multi-colored swirls, and anything else you can thank of!

Painting our way through Balboa Park, we were stopped plenty of times by curious on-lookers. These folks wanted to learn more about the tech and technique that went into the Light-Painting Stick. Getting their photos taken was great, too! More than happy to share and explain his craft, Richard exhibited everything we love about our maker community.

“As a maker, we make from our hearts.” He said, “It does not matter if it is small or big, when you design and make from the heart, it is gratifying. A message I tell myself is, ‘Today. I will make.'”

We’re thrilled to have Richard back for 2017! Find him on October 7+8, say hi, and get inspired!


Meet the Maker: Light Painting Botanical Building Balboa Park at Night Volunteer

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