Borrowing A Kylo Ren Toy From My Son

An animation that lights a Kylo Ren lightsaber using long exposure photography techniques

Long exposure photography animation by Ronnie McInnes Lightsaber Experiment © 2017.


For a while now I have been experimenting with long exposure photography techniques, particularly light painting. The above GIF shows a number of these photographs worked into an animation. Admittedly, I borrowed my son's Kylo Ren figure (from Star Wars: the Force Awakens) and it was lots of fun playing...ahem! I mean creating some serious art work with the toy. He'll get it back. Honest!

Light painting photography is something that I would certainly recommend trying. It's a fun technique and relatively easy to do, provided you have a camera on which you can control the shutter speed and you have access to torches (and other light sources). A tripod is also handy for keeping the camera still. The work area, indoors or outdoors, does not need to be completely dark. It makes sense to have a little light. For safety reasons, but also to avoid losing stuff in the dark. The number of times I have put something down, only to go hunting for the thing a minute later. I should also point out that waving objects around in low light can be dangerous, so please be safe.

For my Kylo Ren photographs I used a red laser pointer, I set a slow shutter speed on my camera and then as I took each shot I just waved the laser beam around the lightsaber area. I took a number of shots and waved the beam in different ways which helped to produce a number of different patterns for each of the photographs. At the end I put it all together into an animation using photoshop.

The animation is something a bit different compared with what I usually do (acrylic and digital paintings) but I'm not one for sticking to what I know best, at least creatively, so I tend to experiment a bit. Will I do it again? Aye, I will. Mainly because I think it's good fun. But here's a suggestion. Perhaps you are reading this thinking "I do Stop Motion animation". If you've not tried incorporating light painting techiniques into the animation why not give it a go? Imagine Wallace and Gromit with laser lit textures. Braw! To me anyway.

Going to try it? Let me know how it goes by contacting me on social media (see the bottom right of this page).