Apple WWDC: What We Expect Best Mattress Deals Assessing Viral Sleep Hacks Netflix Password Sharing Meal Subscription vs. Takeout Best Solar Companies Verizon 5G Home Internet Best Credit Cards
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

iPad used to paint ghostly midair messages

Wanna get creative with your tablet? Check out Dentsu London's iPad light painting technique, just in time for writing Halloween messages.

Who ya gonna call? iPad painting creates moving 3D letters and objects.
Who ya gonna call? iPad painting creates moving 3D letters and objects.
Dentsu London

Ever spell out words in the air with your finger? Now you can do it with an iPad. The result is spooky 3D letters that seem to hover in midair. Casper would love it.

We've seen iPads used to create touch-screen art, but this goes a step beyond. The folks at communications agency Dentsu London and design consultancy Berg teamed up to produce an series of otherworldly animations seen in the vid below. Dentsu says it's part of its Making Future Magic project.

The photographic technique is a kind of stop-frame animation. Hand-held iPads are imaged moving through space with long exposure times, creating a ghostly message in the air.


3D models of letters and objects are first rendered in cross sections in a kind of "virtual CAT scan," as Berg's Jack Schulze explains in the video. Then they're played back as movies on the iPad screen while it moves through the air.

These are imaged in low-light environments as long-exposure photos of 3 to 6 seconds, and each pic is one of many frames in the animation sequence.

The team created luminescent words that seem to hover, as well as walking robots and other 3D shapes (but no ghosts). In one sequence, the word "making" seems to jump off a table and climb a staircase. In another, "future" floats over a puddle. "Magic," meanwhile, dances and skips impishly in a shadowy garden.

<p> The iPad handlers appear as faint shadows in the background. Some objects seem to be suspended in a sort of aerogel. Berg's post explains: "This is produced by the black areas of the iPad screen which aren't entirely dark, and affected by the balance between exposure, the speed of the movies and screen angle."

Check out more pics from the project here; there's even a book on it here.

I'd love to see a special animation for Halloween.

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.