Works

Thank you for your interest in Biluminal!  Below is a listing of all posts for work categorized as “Portfolio” by our artists.  You may filter this content by using the Portfolio menu at the top of any page on our site.

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Photonic Vibrations on January 26, 2021

This is a very big project I am undertaking for Crab Devil art collective in Tampa. It’s an immersive exhibit that fills a 40’x8’x8′ shipping container with rings of lights on every surface.

Check out the awesome video they posted for the Penninsularium here https://www.crabdevil.com/

The video above is an early panel prototype, just to demonstrate the sensor arrangement, the math to project sensor data to a grid of rings, the audio configuration and capablities, and a little logic to make it pretty.

I am currently working with a sheet of black MDF that LiveWork CNC’ed for me to perfectly house all the components, developing the software for the panels. I’ll post a video of the new prototypes soon. Just this week I made a major change to the hardware and read functions which will improve the isolation between the different sensors. At the moment I’m focused on being able to clearly read and propogate a current across a panel, and next I will be working on passing it on to the next panel. The communications protocols will take some development, but should not be quite as surprising and elusive as getting good readings from all the sensors involved in reading a gesture.

When the software reaches the point that the panels can auto-update in a chain, we’ll start building almost a hundred of them to fill up the shipping container from floor to ceiling.

Hounds of the Baskervilles on October 4, 2020

For this socially-distanced hybrid theatre/radio show, I made some fun magazines and an ON AIR sign more or less based on some pictures the director sent me.

Little Mermaid Trident and Shell on August 6, 2020

I created these props for a local production of the Little Mermaid musical.

The trident head was made by shaping a styrofoam trident form, coating it with epoxy and dissolving the styrofoam form with acetone. I shaped dense WS2812 strips, ahered to one another facing opposite directions, in each fork of the trident. The three two-sided strips terminate near the hub.

In the staff itself, there are likewise 3 individual strips, stuck to a steel tube a’la garden center green plastic coated tree stake. All 3 run all the way from the top to the bottom, and have polyfill fiber diffusing the light. There is a USB on-the-go power stick inside at the top that provides strong portable power, and an arduino and plugs that get stuffed between the trident head and the staff. It’s all self-contained.

It looks like it changes from a regular gold trident to a magically charged one that is going to cause some crazy effects! I misted the whole thing in gold mirror paint just until it was opaque in daylight or indoor light, but the LED would still shine through brightly without having total darkness on a set. It’s essentially the same technique of a scrim or a one-way mirror.

I wrote the software/art myself, using only basic hardware libraries like neopixel. It’s particle-based, one effect is a rushing fire effect and the other is a bubbling colorful swirl effect. Both are 3d, they take advantage of the arrangement of the strips from one to the next in a cylindrical way.
The trident is controlled with a touch interface that is designed to look like a copper emblem at the head of the staff. It stays gold until you touch. A quick touch will cancel. leaving it alone will build and hold the effect as long as you want, until you touch it again to let the effect destruction sequence run until it is back to plain gold.
Ursula’s shell is designed to respond to music with different colors. Unfortunately the color range doesn’t show on camera quite as nicely as it does in person, but you can certainly get the idea. The shell has very powerful 10W RGB COB LEDs controlled by a teensy 3.2 that listens to the frequency of audio in a microphone, all hidden inside the shell. It runs on little 4 3V lithium camera cells that fold into a spiral plane and fit inside the shell.

About Me on May 2, 2020

During office hours, I develop software, but I have a flexible schedule if I know in advance that I will need time off.  I’ve been sculpting and drawing, writing, tinkering and playing music, just for personal pleasure, for a long time.

When I was growing up, my mother, Doreen Horn, was a very active local artist, she won awards, she taught me a lot and I ran with it.  My dad owned a TV and VCR (and old computer) repair shop when I was a kid, and he taught me soldering and schematics and kindled a long-term interest in electronics and software.   Software is my professional life right now, and I’ve used that electronics knowledge many times over the years to perform minor repairs.

About 7 years ago I started working with Arduinos, animated lights, audio processing circuitry, motors and construction, with the power and simplicity of Arduino, the two worlds I loved had become one.  But this was still just for personal gratification, which is a slow motivator.

I found real motivation in 2016, when I started producing props, technical effects, and sets for local theatre companies, including St. Petersburg City Theater, West Coast Players, and the Gulfport Community Players.  Currently, and for the past 3 years, I’ve worked heavily with the Gulfport Community Players’ Junior Stars.  I take their tech to the next level, it’s been an opportunity to push myself into deeper territory in electronics, sculpture, and carpentry, motivated by a shared goal with all the other talented staff and performers involved.

I have also been a performer on stage for a few years, I played Evilix the Great in Star Chix, Alan Turing in Breaking the Code, John Oldman in Man from Earth, and Captain John Lerro in Mayday: Captain Lerro and the Skyway Bridge.

I am married to an acclaimed actress and theatre teacher, and have 2 children, one is 17 and the other is 10.  Every day is an adventure!  Other than my family, there are two things in life that have always given me the greatest pleasure:

I love learning a new system, which taken together is graceful and self-cohesive, which creates an aesthetically beautiful pattern of knowledge.  That’s the side of my brain that loves technology, science, inventing, composing, writing, and programming.

I also love to bring people pleasure with my own creations or by relating to them a complicated idea I have come to understand that is beautiful.  That’s what drives me to produce artwork, sculpture, magical effects, or perform on stage.

In the future I hope to branch out in the local arts scene, beyond theatre, that’s why I founded this website.

A proposal I submitted to Crab Devil has been accepted, I will be building an immersive interactive room with walls of lights, including interactive animated effects that respond to proximity.

Realistic Ride-On Horse Puppet on October 29, 2019

For Sleepy Hollow, we needed a scary steed for the Headless Horseman to ride, for the grand finale scene of the children’s play.  The script suggests putting a child on a dressed up ladder, stationary in the corner of the stage, revealed in a flash of light.  Obviously, that was just not good enough for me.

I wanted to build a horse from a rolling platform, to be operated by one adult inside and a child on the horse’s back.  I wanted the head to be articulated to some degree to create some realism, but was willing to forgo realistic legs in favor of ghostly gliding for this show.

I watched some videos of the Handspring Puppet Company’s warhorse puppet,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7u6N-cSWtY, which I found incredibly inspiring, but also much too complicated for me to build in a month and much too difficult to be operated by me and one child.  I really liked the way that the ears were articulated, and the way that the Warhorse combined real horse movements with artistic abstraction.  I found my own simpler compromise between the two for this piece.

I started with some simple mock-ups using Popsicle sticks and rivets to get the basic movements right,  I wanted to have a natural bobbing movement for the walking/galloping, an up-and-down nodding movement for whinnying, and a side-to-side motion to turn the head to look at Ichabod Crane during the chase.

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I built a skeleton from lauan, and one pipe inside another pipe for the steering / nodding mechanism.  The initial design used a wooden dowel, but the wood split during tests, so I replaced it with an aluminum pipe.  In the final version of the mechanism, I used chicago screws as axles for the pivot points in the lauan.

In addition to the head movements, I built an articulated ear mechanism, which was to be operated by the rider.  The ears, constructed from cardstock sandwiched between sheets of black craft felt, cut and folded into ear shape,  were mounted on small carboard tubes normally used for housing mason bees, which pivot inside of PVC pipe sleeves.  the mechanism is operated from the base of the neck by a lever that spans the neck lauan.  A little wool applied to the inside and outside in correct proportions finished the effect.

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The eyes were sculpted by heating transparent Christmas ornament halves and squeezing them into eye shapes, lightly spraypainted black inside, and bordered with a halved corrugated plastic tube.  The deep red LEDs are mounted on large heatsinks mounted behind those shells, and wired to a very simple knob-operated dimmer circuit.

I used paper mache techniques to construct a foundation for the nose, which I later coated with a layer of water-based spray foam, followed by black latex paint.  A couple spurts of lacquer added wetness to the nostrils and mouth.  The hair on the whole head was made from roving wool, which I applied directly to the wire and paper mache foundation in layers, using a spray adhesive, pressing and hair-pulling technique to build layers.  Following is a progression of the skinning of the horse…

 

We plan to re-use the foundation of this horse for our summer production of Pippi Longstocking, of course it will be re-skinned with a white wool, happier, blunter teeth, and no glowing red demon eyes.  I might add some legs for fun, although that depends on how busy I am, as the summer shows have a very short timeline and the horse is not a main character.

 

Infrared Tracking Projection on October 29, 2019

This is a really exciting invention I came up with for the Sleepy Hollow.  I wanted the pumpkin head to talk – like really talk, and also I wanted it to explode into pieces when the horseman dramatically throws it across the stage at Ichabod.

I wanted to use projection to create the animation on a destructible pumpkin, but I knew it would be impossible to perfectly line up the position of the pumpkin or even the horse with a pre-set projection location.  I came up with a rough idea that I could conceal a simple and very durable infrared LED on a battery in the pumpkin somewhere, and I could write a program that would move the pumpkin’s projected face around in the projection area based on the position of the IR LED.

I needed a nice far infrared wavelength that wouldn’t get too much interference from stage lights and warm bodies, and a matching camera lens filter that would block out all the normal visible light to make it easier for my program to pinpoint the tracker.  I settled on a 950nm IR wavelength and bought a bag of LEDs and a filter from Amazon.  The LEDs had a voltage range that made it a perfect fit for a single AA battery, which simplifies the electronics that were going to take a beating every night.  I had 10 LEDs to work with, knowing I’d probably destroy or lose a couple in testing.

I started by prototyping the projection and tracking.  My early tests involved a different LED wavelength and camera, I ended up getting a higher speed camera and higher frequency IR setup later, but from the first test I could tell that with some tweaking my idea would work, and it gave me what I needed to start developing the software to track the LED.  I used Visual C# and a free webcam library called AForge.NET, which grabs an image from the camera every frame, and I bought the cheapest LED projector I could find that seemed to have the range I needed.  The final camera was 40fps at 800×600 resolution, a compromise between performance and low cost.  My first tests projected my own face onto a paper plate across my bedroom – my dog was not a fan of this, sorry there’s no video of that.

Next, I needed to figure out the pumpkin itself, because the kids were going to have to start working with it early on.  I liked the idea of using a real pumpkin, but there were safety and cleanup concerns having a kid throw a real pumpkin across the stage.  I didn’t want to settle for a plastic pumpkin, because I wanted it to look like a real pumpkin exploding on the stage, so I carved a pumpkin out of layered styrofoam, cut it into 5 jagged shaped jigsaw puzzle peices. and applied the “guts” to the insides with spray foam and paint-soaked yarn.  I screwed steel drywall screws to the cut edges of the pieces and superglued small neodymium magnets to one side of each screw pair so that the peices would stick to one another magnetically but easily break apart on impact.  Finally I applied a killer paint job and brought it down to the theater for a test.

There were some obvious issues with the test.  The I/R LED was very directional, so if I didn’t aim the front of the pumpkin right at the camera I’d lose the signal.  I solved this by adding a big “diffused lens” of hot glue over the LED so that the light became a bulb instead of a beam.

The positioning of the camera/projector was somewhat tricky to calibrate, so I added code to my program to make it easier to adjust the boundaries of the projection space relative to the camera boundaries.  I also needed it to be a little more forgiving about loss of signal, continuing to project to the same location slightly longer before assuming the pumpkin has been thrown, which was a simple software tweak.

tracker screenshot

The last step was to make a real jack o lantern face that could speak the correct line on cue.  That presented a bit of a conundrum.

If I had been a 3D graphics designer I might have rendered a CGI jack o lantern face speaking the words, in fact I did some experiments with Adobe’s characterizer, even tried drawing frames for a few different face shapes, similar to the way cartoons are made.  I wasn’t happy with any of those experiments.  I settled on actually applying some grease paint to my own face and using video processing effects in Adobe Premiere to mask out all but the elements that I wanted to project.

Here is the video clip of my painted face that I started with:

 

And here is the finished version after applying processing in Adobe Premiere:

horseman talking

I found that an animated gif could be moved around the screen much faster than a full-blown video file, so it was converted to GIF format from premiere, and the audio file was separately processed in Audacity to make it much scarier:

To get the flaming video, I first inverted my face video above, to give me white eyes, nose, and mouth, and a black face, played with the brightness and contrast quite a bit to eliminate as much grayscale and human facial features as possible, masked out the area around my face and added masked brightness/contrast layers to the inside of my mouth and eyes.  Once I had the correct black and white line-art animated face, I added flames by using youtube footage of flames with “screen” opacity mixing, and a video of a flaming marshmallow with partial transparency in each eye to achieve the licking flames.

The audio was processed in Audacity with a frequency shift, reversing the sound, applying a reverb (echo) and then reversing it forwards again. if you pause the audio player at the beginning of the word “Ichabod” it’s very easy to unpause it when the face starts to mouth that word and enjoy the combination of video and audio.

Here’s another clip from a better position (in the audience) taken after the show:

 

In the future, the same tracking could be used to project anything on anything whose position is not absolutely known, I could even do the face processing in real time rather than from an animated GIF.  If I were to ever commercialize this application, or use it in a situation with more advanced requirements, I’d tweak the software to include self-calibration and quadrilateral mapping instead of the simple scaling it uses now.    The software could be augmented to work with multiple cameras and projectors to cover a larger area or more angles.  Also, I might try to find a more powerful projector, this cheap one worked for a simple lantern face but to do something more I’d like a more expensive and powerful projector.

 

 

Automatic Haircut Machine on June 14, 2019

This was a fun prop made for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Caractacus Potts invented a haircut machine to make some money at the fair so he could buy Chitty from the junkman.  The machine is supposed to malfunction and start smoking as it burns off Sid’s hair!

This machine had to be safe for a kid to wear on their head, fairly indestructable, and I had to throw it together on a very short timeline.

This machine is powered by 4 AA batteries, stepped down to to USB outputs which feed the two USB-powered personal ultrasonic misters.  The misters are designed to be set into a bottle for continuous use, so I had to seal up the filter cases to act as self-contained water resevoirs, and I hacked the push button for the misters into a wire I could trigger with an Arduino Nano so that both misters would go off at the same time after a set delay.  The rest of the hat is just spraypaint and spare parts – very very simple prop.

 

Seussical on June 12, 2019

The GCP Junior Stars production of Seussical required some really bold lighting, a special DMX controlled lighting rig was developed to allow six 4-foot segments of flats to be lit individually by pairs of RGB LED strips.  This could have been accomplished with commercial theatrical lighting equipment, but budget would not allow for it, and the learning and future customization opportunities add a lot of value to the rig.  This rig went through some field repairs on a couple of occasions, so it’s a little beat up in this post-production picture.

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In addition to the wall lights, scrim technique was prototyped and developed for the show, so that children could appear and disappear in a whimsical way.  This early prototype test video with Isaac in it is pretty funny:

Beside the electronic lights, the bathtub, “drooping” tree effect, and gertrudes measuring-tape derived pop-out tail feathers were handmade for this show.  It was a lot of fun!

Doreen Horn created the gorgeous seuss-inspired backdrop for whoville.

DMX Controlled Pulleys on June 9, 2019

This is just a small project, it was originally intended to be a part of the Seussical show, but many other things took priority, and by the time these were finished, it would have been hard on the kids to add them to the show.

Nevertheless, I am excited to have these and plan to find a good use for them, perhaps they will end up in Headless Horseman?

They are made from a pair of strong stepper motors controlled individually by Arduino Nano microcontrollers interfaced with DMX plugs, so a light board can be used to set the speed, forward or reverse.  It does a great job of pushing or pulling a long peice of fishing line, and if both are moved in opposite directions, an object suspended between them can be made to rise and fall in addition to moving it back and forth.

One lesson that was learned here since my last experimenting with motor controllers was how to get nearly silent operation out of the controllers by altering the microcontroller’s PWM frequency.

These controllers have 8 DIP switches on the side that can be used to set any DMX channel between 0 and 255.  This isn’t strictly needed since I could hard-code any channel I want in the program, but I thought it was a nice touch, a nod to commercial theatrical equipment conventions.

 

3 Strikes Naughty List Tracker on December 21, 2018

For the Junior Stars’ show Coal, which is about the Elf who is in charge of the Naughty List, I created this beautiful Naughty List Tracker…

The story involves Coal the elf feeling pretty sad about all the kids on the naughty list, and a little bit guilty perhaps that it’s his fault, so he devises a scheme to pitch a 3-strike program to Santa, to give kids a couple chances to do better.

Among the props and constructions for this show, this was the most interesting one, it was running quietly in the background through the second half of the show.  It’s design is based on flip-clocks, which are surprisingly expensive and don’t come in very large sizes.  These flippers were cut from quartered cardstock sheets, with (mostly) random names printed in a script font on them.

Each card had to be split in half and attached with a long wire “hinge” to cardboard tube rollers with small hinge wheels to hold each card like a rolodex.  A small wire catch at the top of each opening keeps one card in place at a time, until the roller drags it down far enough that it flips and the next card is displayed.

The flippers are powered by continuous motion speed-controllable servos and the “strikes” are flipped by 12 individual mini servos, which are controlled by a single PWM controller card and microcontroller.  The program is designed to randomly process multiple name and strike changes based on a simple set of rules.  There is no external control for this peice, though it is powered by an external supply to avoid the weight and short lifespans of alkaline batteries in a motor-heavy application such as this.

If we stage Coal again someday, I will double the size of everything, when I began 11 inches seemed more than big enough for the name cards, and poster-sized foam board too, but the effect would be more spectacular twice as big and no change would be needed to the number of motors or circuitry.

Here’s a closer, if less eventful video.  Most of the time this tracker was supposed to be rather quiet so as not to distract from the performers, I had to take a lot of short clips of nothing happening to get some good action shots.

Polish Joke Book on March 24, 2018

I worked with Director Rick Bronson on this giant 6’x8′ storybook to drive the narrative of his play, Polish Joke.  I contributed the idea of using large-scale paper-mache techniques, sketched draft drawings on standard paper, copied (more or less) the sketches onto the giant sheets of paper he, myself, and volunteers created using newspaper, white glue, and muslin, and finally painted/inked in with the help of talented artist Rose Gillespie.

Phantom Tollbooth Car on October 24, 2017

For the Gulfport Community Players’ Junior Stars children’s theatre production of
The Phantom Tollbooth, I created this vehicle.  It was based on a powerwheels vehicle intended for 2 children, but I have hot rodded the heck out of it!  I cut it in half, added length with 1x2s and plywood, swapped the stock accellerator switch for a PWM motor controller for variable speed, forward and reverse, added a big 20W speaker and on-board sound effects, fully dimmable headlights, tail lights, animated under-mounted light strips as well as independently rotating hubcaps to simulate motion when the car is not actually moving, and even a motorized fog FX spraycan actuator that can create a spray of exhaust.  All of these features can be triggered with a touch-sensitive remote control I built.  This was a really fun project!

Polyps – sneak peek on May 19, 2017

I just finished some quick test code for my first unit of polyps, so I thought I would share what they look like so far.

The skeleton is made from mini Popsicle sticks riveted together with circuit board eyelets, through which I have threaded narrow gauge wires.  I attached 3/8″ polyethylene tubing with polyp bodies made from silk flowers and googly eyes.  The wires are attached underneath to a heavy gauge wire frame that can be raised and lowered by a mini servo motor.  5mm ws2811s are tucked into each tube and daisy chained.

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In the finished product, every connection you see between the popsicle sticks will host one of these light-up polyps, and exterior textured “skin” will be applied between the tubes to mimic the appearance of a surreal coral reef.

Now, the picture above gives a good impression of the construction, but it’s much cooler to see the contraption in action:

In this preview, I simply spray painted black on some tissue paper to create some cover, as stated above the finished product will be a textured sculpture and not tissue.

Also, in this demo I am only showing off the mechanism and lights.  I have infrared LEDs and phototransistors, as well as multiplexer ICs that will allow my circuits to monitor anything suddenly getting closer to the polyps (at 50 different points in the sculpture) and the polyps around the proximity sensor will draw into the reef, while polyps that are not disturbed will remain external.

Each servo/sensor unit will interlock frames with it’s neighbors, so that there will be a gentle “slope” of polyp disturbance between sensors.

Winter Crown on December 11, 2016

Michael created this technical effect prop for the St. Petersburg City Theatre for their production of “A Christmas Carol”, the crown for the ghost of Christmas Present.   Two of this crown were made, one as a backup in case the first one had any technical issues or needed new batteries at an inconvenient time.

 

The crowns have animated fibers, trimmed so that light appears to emanate from the head of the wearer outward and upward, while a chain of hand-soldered mini WS2811 LEDs on thin enameled wire sloly pulses random warm white lights and flickers an occasional red or green flash.

On a base made from wire wrapped with floral tape, bundles of optical fibers are attached to groups of 4 high-brightness white LEDs, driven by supporting circuitry that can gradually raise and lower the brightness of each.  The fibers are bundled so that there are 4 “sprays” made up of fibers flowing from each of the 4 LEDs, each spray is trimmed to show the emanation affect at different locations as the 4 LEDs are cycled.  There are 3 such branches on each crown.  On top of the light-base and circuitry, pieces trimmed from Christmas floral garlands have been arranged to create a wreathlike appearance that creates pleasing silhouettes against the light show.

Iron Man on October 30, 2016

Michael created an iron man Cosplay, starting from a plain red shirt and gloves.  the chest part is attached to the shirt magnetically, with threadlike wires going through to allow the glove and chest components to share power and communicate.

There a touch switch built into one of the gloves that causes an animation of the chest lights and light bursts from the hands.  Unfortunately, a video could not be located, so two still photos were put together into an animated GIF to give a hint of the effect.

The  chest piece is made of warm-temperature moldable thermoplastic pressed into a mold, stripped copper wire, clear plastic cut with an X-Acto knife and painted silver with opaque markers.

Beneath the thermoplastic disc and “bowl” there is a WS2812 addressable pixel ring which displays different patterns on a loop.  The gloves have holes cut in them, with clear glass cabochons, wrapped with a popped white balloon skin and snapped into a molded thermoplastic ring painted with gold paint.  under the cabochons 2 more smaller WS2812 rings are mounted.  AAA batteries are mounted behind the chest piece.

Star Chix on September 29, 2016

Michael volunteered to create art/technology props and effects for the parody show “Star Chix” at the St. Petersburg City Theatre.  A couple weeks into work, he was also given the role of the villian, which put a bit of a time crunch on what technical effects could be completed, but the work completed is impressive nonetheless.

Have a look at the tech reel, which is an edit of the filmed show to include just the portions involving technical effects.  You will see the the backlit black hole screen, color-changing console, “time-altering life suspension laser ray”, infrared-activated phaser fire strobes, and the programmable ship’s engine.

The phasers were made from toy plastic guns, which were taken apart and retrofitted with circuitry to recognize when the the trigger is fired and set off a small infrared burst, just like hitting the power button on a TV remote.  The IR emitter was tucked into a black paper tube so that only a very narrow beam is emitted, allowing the shooter to target only one girl and not set off all phaser strobes at once.  The redshirt girls carry tricorder bags (shown in the title image), which have a 100W COB LED and IR sensor built into the strap and disguised with colored sheer fabric, and have 3 AA batteries and supporting circuitry inside that can generate a 100W pulse when the IR sensor picks up the right signal.


Here is a close-up of the life-suspension laser ray, with a slow motion replay at the end.  This prop is supposed to freeze all the characters on-stage (and unfreeze them).  It is made with mirrored cardboard, automotive vinyl wrap, computer fans, 30W green COB LEDs, EL wire, supporting circuitry, a huge capacitor bank, and a big green arcade button.


Part of the show was a lip synch battle in which two members of the audience were invited onto the stage to participate.  Michael made this sign to encourage participation and make sure that the audience would see the sign-up sheet while milling around in the lobby.  It’s made from black posterboard, EL wire, sheer fabric to mask the “turned off” EL wire, and supporting circuitry on the back.


Here is a close-up of the Data PADDs.  The redshirt chorus starts off the show from the back of the audience dancing their way up the aisles, and these tablets were an accessory that could be used in the dancing while the redshirt girls were out of the stage lights in the audience, and can be slid into the tricorder bags (in the title image above) when the dance is over.

They are made of 2 pieces of sturdy plexiglass, sanded lightly on the surface that was to glow, with LED strips and watch battery holders with an on/off switch between them, sandwiched between two peices of heavy cardboard with vinyl skin and sharpie.  The holographic strip is made from bird scare tape.  The light-up graphics are made of two back-to-back layers of printed transparency on top of the sanded backlit plexi.

starchix padds


There is one close-up of the starship engine that was taken during early construction, about a month before showtime.  The engine is made from a large piece of PVC pipe bent into a semicircle and attached to a metal L-brace in the back, drilled and fitted with wooden dowels, which are connected at each vertex with clear vinyl tubes bundled with a brass brad (the type with fold-able tines).  The skeleton is overlaid with cheap frosted shower curtains cut up into the correct shapes, and WS2812 addressable LED strips ere used for the animation.  The engine needed to be light and safe enough to lift up on top of the stage flats, you can see it completed in the tech demo reel above.

The engine animation patterns are controlled by a radio-enabled remote that can switch modes, with sliders to control speed and brightness.  This remote was operated by one of the actors on stage.

Gogol Bordello Concert Gear on June 9, 2016

The word “Illumanation” in the title image is misspelled intentionally, after a song by the Gypsy Punk band Gogol Bordello; these duds were put together for a concert.

Michael created the animated light-up purple fascinator, an animated glowing slingshot newsboy hat, and a neon-lettered shirt.


The newsboy hat was fitted with a slingshot logo based one of the bands’ album covers, appearing to shoot a star toward the viewer.  This was created by cutting up an EL panel into many layered pieces, grafting in new electrical connections to the peices, and overlaying the logo with a printed transparency.  An EL controller circuit and battery case are inside the hat.


The fascinator includes a pulsing purple opal, glowing curly wires along feathers, and flashing strobe lights hidden in the feathers.  It looks more impressive in lower light, but this is the best video available.  The fascinator itself was purchased with curled feathers, then the plastic opal was removed, an LED inserted inside, EL wire accents and strobing LEDs were tucked into the feathers, and a very small microprocessor circuit and 2 watch battery holders are mounted under the feather pelt.

Michael Horn Carvings on May 8, 2016

 

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This was a Mother’s Day present Michael carved in 2016, it is a wooden coffee cup portraying a dragon-insect with suckling babies.  So festive!

Michael also carves elaborate Jack O’ Lanterns every year for Halloween, the pictures don’t even do them justice, seeing them flickering with glowing candlelight is the only way to truly enjoy them.

Kuchi Kopi on April 1, 2016

This necklace was made to imitate a character from a popular TV show.  It was 3D printed from a clear filament, tinted with markers, and fitted with an LED.  the necklace is actually a pair of wires that connect to a watch battery holder in the back.

Tumbling Alice on March 6, 2016

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Michael created this “Tumbling Alice” pendant necklace from scratch.

He first made a frame for the stained glass using a high-temperature polymer clay stuck to aluminum foil, then filled this frame with plastic pellets from the stained glass art kits you can buy at craft stores.

He mounted the stained glass Alice piece with a geared motor and two colors of LED, attached to a watch battery to create light and movement.

A close-up video is included below.

 

 

 

 

Animated Christmas Tree on December 2, 2015

Michael Horn created an animated Christmas Tree in 2015, the video below shows 5 of the unique patterns it displays.  The rate of pattern changeover has been sped up for the video, in reality each pattern goes for about 2 minutes.

Internet After Dark on October 23, 2013

Michael Horn put together this Halloween Costume for 2015, a representation of “The Internet After Dark”.  Both lit pieces flash at different rates, mimicking the unpleasant pop-up ads that one might see in a seedy corner of the internet late at night.

The glowing advertisement at the bottom was copied from an actual advertisement, printed on a transparency sheet and applied over a flashing white electroluminescent panel.  The “Neon” sign is made from electroluminescent wire, bent into letter shapes and covered in places with black electrical tape.

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Doreen Horn on August 17, 2012

Art Taco, a local Art blog not affiliated with Biluminal or its members, calls Doreen Horn “…a gentle and very intense, focused Artist who goes to extraordinary lengths to actualize her ideas.”

She has been producing work professionally in the Tampa Bay area for decades.

 

 

Log Centerpeices on March 23, 2012

Michael Horn crafted these beautiful LED-lit centerpieces for his wedding.   The trunks are made from plastic containers, papier-mâché, and acrylic paints, while the fungi are made from sculpted hot glue and LEDs.  Willow branches with warm white LED strings fill the logs.

These centerpeices are powered by battery packs underneath.

The pictures above were taken after the first “test” centerpiece was just finished, months ahead of the event.  The pictures below were captured by a professional wedding photographer of the centerpieces in action.  You can see that the bark patterns on each are different, and the trunks were placed in a shallow dish with decorative mosses.

 

wedding centerpiece 3wedding centerpiece 2

 

10 unique log centerpieces were created in all.

Michael Horn’s 2D Works on August 31, 2008

Michael loves drawing and has produced a number of interesting works over the years, as a personal hobby.

 

These works are provided as a reference to his aesthetic and artistic abilities.