Zombie-licious: Making Monsters With Lasers and Glow Paint

Zombie makeup is so last year. This Halloween, make yourself into a zombie with lasers fired at your face! Actually…don’t. Leave it to the experts – in this case, that would be media artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi. They’ve developed a visual display system that uses photoluminescent paint to print short-lived images onto a wall-mounted screen or a friendly human face.

The secret of the technique has to do with the timing of the lasers. Each beam makes a square pixel on the screen that fades at a predictable rate – eventually, the entire picture fades away to nothing. By firing the lasers and lighting up the pixels in a precise sequence, the finished picture features a great deal of depth with dynamic highlights and lowlights.

Applying the same technique to a human face painted with luminescent paint results in a very creepy zombie face, and apparently the laser beams aren’t harmful or dangerous. But to make this work as a Halloween costume you’d have to hold awfully still…and have access to a 405nm laser.

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See more in Art of Tech or under Technology. October, 2010.