Painting with lasers & Photoshop (seriously!)

Honest to God, I kind of live for seeing inventive people like Russell Brown combine the tools we make in really novel, unintended ways. Here Russell uses Pixel Bender CS5, a laser etching machine, a printer, and some old-school artistic media to create digital paintings with real depth:

Russell’s also giving away ten copies of his book on the subject, From Reality to Renaissance; see more info if you’re interested.

15 thoughts on “Painting with lasers & Photoshop (seriously!)

  1. A laser etching machine? You know, I have one simple request, and that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads that can interface with Photoshop. Now evidently Mr. Nack informs me that that can’t be done. Can you remind me what I pay the makers of Photoshop for?

  2. Interesting to watch, but I’ll have to agree with BH – who on Earth has access to these several thousand dollar gadgets all just for his fun? That laser etching alone will cost quite a bit having it done through a service, not to speak of the printing. Now in the Adobe ivory tower they may be able to afford it just to keep Mr. Brown happy, but I find this far from having any practical relevance for 99.99% of users. Unless you plan on selling this “art”, you can decorate your home much more cost-effectively with a canvas and some oil paints, if you must…

    1. @Mylenium: Ivory Tower? Adobe Photoshop is a professional piece of software that is used in professional shops around the world. That is why they have and use this profession equipment. Think they should be using Epson MX-80 dot matrix printers?
      And the money involved is “small potatoes” for even people who would like to start a business doing this type of work. Many small printing companies that use Photoshop have some of this equipment already on hand. Laser etching isn’t esoteric anymore and the wattage needed for wood is quite small (10 watts). That keeps the price down for an entry level piece of equipment.

      1. I don’t really agree. Again we return to the point of reproduction vs. art…. I see a specific technical process, but nothing I would consider art and as long as I have to shell out, say 60 Euros per piece, it becomes even more of that.

  3. I agree with Mylenium. Never explore. Never push beyond the norm. Take art back to the cave walls where it belongs. Although I am not sure there was any practical relevance to that and should have probably not been allowed. Same for pretty much any other advance in history (art, science, religion, exploration etc.) For instance. Jobs and Gates should never have experimented with building computers – the initial development costs were outrageous and what average person could afford it at the time? So back into the box (or onto the canvas) with you Mr. Brown till you can be more practical.

    1. But it’s not art, it’s a simple reproduction process? And if everybody starts doing it, it will become just the same like kitschy Bob Ross paintings or the awful fake canvas prints they sell at IKEA. Not sure I’d want that…. I appreciate the technical side of things on a nerd level, but that’s about it.

      1. Just because you don’t see value in it does not mean that there isn’t any there. And even if there isn’t you don’t know till you give it a shot. I guess I take issue with the idea that exploring new ideas puts you in an ivory tower. Want to criticize adobe for the cost of their software or that they put too little in ther updates or whatever the beef you have with them is then go after them for those things but not for their attempts to move innovation forward.

  4. By the way… this was a cool video. I don’t plan on going out and buying such equipment but just knowing what can be done always proves to be beneficial.

  5. Yes, the tools themselves are quite expensive but it it is fairly reasonable to have a file cut or etched at a service bureau. To etch something that is the size of what Russell created in his demo it would probably be $20-30. Comparing this technique to oil painting or other mediums misses the point. These technologies have great potential for creating things that might otherwise be impractical to create. We have been doing some prototyping on the Universal laser and have been very impressed with the results and economy of the process.

    1. >Comparing this technique to oil painting or other
      >mediums misses the point.
      Tell that to Mr. Brown. He himself goes on about the “oil painting filter” quite a bit, is he not, when it’s just some kind of vector blur/ smear filter? Not sure why you are so upset about my point…

  6. This is amazing, Russell is a fantastic adventurer in technology, and here is people bitching about it. Go on Russell, and all of you working at Adobe. I would not had ideas like this at all if you did not show me. Thanks Adobe.

  7. Wow! Very cool. Not something that I could afford to do right now but just the fact that it can be done blows me away. Thanks for posting this. Also – not sure why the video is almost 8 minutes when it ends around 5 minutes?

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