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Watch This Robotic Camera Rig Create 3D Animations With Light

Instead of repeatedly standing in front of a camera and waving an LED bulb to create long-exposure light paintings, Josh Sheldon automated the process with an impressive photography rig that takes orders directly from 3D animation software. The resulting animations, made with precise camera moves and robot-controlled lights, are like nothing you’ve ever seen.

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But don’t for a second think that creating these animations was easy just because of Sheldon’s rig. Designing, building, and programming the machine appears to have been a huge challenge, as was getting it to play nice with the 3D modeling software Blender. Sheldon detailed the build, and how his rig works, on his GitHub page, but word of warning: building one for yourself is not for the amateur electronics enthusiast.

The machine also doesn’t make the long-exposure photography process any faster. It’s still subject to the laws of our universe, and each frame often required up to a three-second exposure. As a result, even short animations took countless hours to capture every last photo. It’s undoubtedly a lot of work, but the machine is expanding what’s possible with this unique art form.

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[YouTube via Prosthetic Knowledge]

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DISCUSSION

The end result could be done in 100% CGI, so I’m left wondering why go to all the trouble to do this?

I’m sure it’s way easier to throw a bunch of a straw on a table than to model it, but the Rubik’s Cube scene would be pretty easy to build. This setup is also limited on space, where a CGI environment is not, so there is that.

I’m guessing this is the expression of a purist in the art form and I truly admire that. I’m just not sure I quite get the reasoning.