LED Keyboard- Final Progress Update

I started by setting up the mock animations in photoshop, so that I could work out which keys needed to be lit up at which points from a more traditional animation perspective. This made it a lot easier to plan out what I wanted to do when it came to actually mapping the keys.


I then started setting lights to keys, and settled on two different modes: one would be a raindrop-like animation (that I had skeched in photoshop), and another that would mimic a water pattern, with ripples when keys were pressed. For the raindrop, I just had to map the keys so that they matched up with the frames I had made in photoshop. The water pattern was a little more difficult because the software doesn’t allow layered effects: I had to circumvent this using macros, which was a little tedious (I had to set the ripple effect to every single key individually).


Final Project Idea

For my project, I have decided to create a series of RGB keyboard profiles that will change as the user interacts with it. Ideally, the final profile I create will feature designs that move on their own as well as specific user-initiated actions.

Through experimenting with the profiling software, I’ve found that animation is possible by setting the lights of each individual key to a series of keyframes, much like in more traditional animation. This means my next steps will be to:

  • Determine the kinds of animations that will be set to the keyboard, and how those animations will interact with the user
  • Map out animations on the keyboard in order to determine how to set the key layout
  • Create mockups of potential animations in order to determine the number of frames/framerate needed

Project Ideas

My first project idea was to create a set of RGB keyboard profiles that could react to how a user types. For example, pressing a key could result in the key lighting up and then slowly fading, or pressing a specific key can cause the rest of the lights on the keyboard to ripple in response. The concept is simple but creating keyboard profiles requires a specific set of software that while powerful, can be confusing and will present a challenge in using the software to its full potential.

My second idea would be creating a prop that uses light, like a wand or staff. The prop would be created of a light sculpting material like paperclay, and would have LEDs wired internally that can be switched on or off, and arranged in order to create a visually interesting design. The resulting piece could be inspired by an already existing design, or a new concept. Finding some specific parts for some designs may be difficult, and it will be important to avoid a design that is too simple.

My third idea would be to create a lantern- this could range from a more complex design, to something simple but dynamic, like a lantern that changes color depending on the weather. The lanterns would probably use LEDs as a light source, but in more dynamic versions would most likely be supplemented with an arduino or raspberry pi that can process the data needed.

Light Artist Presentation- Chris Wood

Chris Wood studied furniture design at Middlesex University and has an interest in light that led to her exploring the visual qualities of glass. Her works usually involve pieces of glass in various arrangements that interact with the light to change depending on the position and angle of the viewer, as well as the light source.

The materials that Wood uses range from common wine glasses to dichroic (two-color) glass, to specially shaped crystals. She creates minimal structures that support simple arrangements that interact with the light to form complex patterns. Some of her works are situated in an outside environment, some are wall installations, and others are a standalone indoor work.

One of Wood’s pieces is called Corona: A series of dichroic glass panels are arranged in a circular shape over a reflecting pool. Each piece will appear different to the viewer depending on the angle that the viewer looks at it.

Source: Chris Wood’s website

Another outdoor installation that Chris Wood created is called Mirror in the Fens; this piece uses mirrors placed at different angles to rows of crops in order to visually reposition the land. These reflections also change with the viewer’s position, and creates an effect similar to cutting and pasting a section of land from one picture into another.

Source: Chris Wood’s Website

Another piece that Wood exhibited was an indoor installation for the 2015 Festival of Islamic Arts, called Light Rain. This piece was created with water bottles, sand, light, and the sound of rain. The lighting from the inside of the water bottles creates a unique pattern as the light refracts off of the ridges on the bottom of the bottles- these patterns are then arranged to form a new, unique pattern.

Source: Chris Wood’s Website

More examples of Wood’s works can be found on her website, at http://www.chriswoodglass.co.uk/index.php

Short Bio- Robyn Domanico

My name is Robyn- I’m a 3rd year Computer Science major. I’ve done digital and traditional drawing for about 7 years now, primarily pencil/pen sketches, digital art, and pixel art on a tablet. I primarily use the program Paint Tool SAI, but I’m also comfortable with Photoshop.

paperFrisk VideoSplash

I have ~4 years of programming experience, and some basic electronics experience working with smaller electronic systems. I’ve worked on business systems at Pratt and Whitney for an internship, as well as general comp. sci coursework at WPI. I also play the oboe in concert band, and like to make plushies occasionally!

I like to draw from games a lot, as well as some of my favorite books and songs- I also enjoy drawing animals, like cats:


Recently I’ve been wanting to improve in my digital painting skills and expand my general drawing skills, as well as trying different types of art that I haven’t used much (e.g animation)- I’d like to be able to draw more interesting backgrounds and scenes to frame characters in.

I’ve had a few recent project where I was pretty happy how I painted the lighting, or captured a style well (such as the Gameboy Color pixel style below). As part of an inspiration from video games, I like to do create pixel art that matches the particular style or palette of a game/system.

PixelCity GBC_BlackCat RobsDAIcon

Hopefully by the end of this term, I’ll have created something interesting with light that I can learn from, and hopefully expand into similar project even after the class is over. It will be interesting to combine technology and art together, given my experience in each of the two individually.