All posts by Alex May

Line tool upgrade

Screenshot 2015-01-17 16.04.56

Am working on the first new Painting With Light feature for 2015, which is an upgrade to the line tools.  They have always been a bit limited due to their width being stuck at a just a single pixel.  This was due to the limitations of the underlying graphics driver but I’ve been planning to make their thickness controllable.

As you can see from the screenshot above, they are now working though there are some tweaks I’d like to see in future.

There will be a new release soon with this new feature in.

Screenshot 2015-01-17 16.06.53

Painting with Light: Video Sculptures: Open Call for Artists

For “Painting with Light: Video Sculptures” at Phoenix Brighton Alex May plans to create a new installation stemming from a participatory workshop with artists, from diverse backgrounds, including those who typically work with traditional art media such as painting and sculpture. The aim is to push the boundaries of this innovative medium and create new forms of expression.

We are pleased to announce an open call for artists who would like to learn how to work with “Painting with Light” developing the installation with Alex May over a three day workshop on 3rd, 4th and 5th December 2014. There will be an opening reception at 6:30pm on 5th December and the exhibition is open to the public 6th – 10th December 2014.

For further details and to access the application form, please follow this link:


Music Tech Fest 5th-7th September 2014


Music Tech Fest is a “festival of music ideas that brings together artists and performers, academics and thinkers, startups and labels, inventors and innovators.”

Alex May will be speaking at 16:30 on Saturday 6th September 2014 about Painting With Light his bespoke video mapping software for artists.

The event is being held at LSO St Luke’s – the home of the London Symphony Orchestra on Old Street, London.

Buy tickets for the Saturday here

Painting With Light – Brighton Workshop 2015

Video Mapping Using Painting With Light with Alex May

Phoenix Brighton
Saturday, 7 March 2015 from 11:30 to 17:30 (GMT)
Brighton, United Kingdom

This is a workshop for digital artists, designers, VJ’s, painters, and anyone interested in video mapping using the “Painting with Light” software, which allows you to easily ‘paint’ 3D objects with light using a computer and video projector. Learn the basics of how to get started, setting up a projector, painting with moving video, and the software’s very latest features. An ideal course for anyone wanting to explore a new medium and an artistic approach to video mapping. Please bring your own laptop/projector if possible or share one of several projectors that will be supplied. Suitable for all levels.

Costs: £35
Days: 1 Saturday
Times: 11:30am – 5:30pm
Date: 7th March 2015
Room: Green
Maximum: 12

Click here for more information and booking information

Exciting News

Painting With Light Mesh Preview
Painting With Light Mesh Preview

It’s been a little quiet around here of recent but there has been much activity going on behind the scenes and it is now time for a period of intense activity!

I am very delighted to announce that I have been awarded an Arts Council England grant to develop a new series of works, exhibitions, events, and workshops over the next 12 months all using Painting With Light.

I will post up details of what’s going on soon – including a call-out for an exhibition in December – so make sure you’re subscribed if you want to receive updates.

This also means that I now have time to implement some new features into the software and I’m working on those already.  These will include a far greater control over the mapping using Quads and Polygons, and a new Mesh tool for more complex surface shapes.

I’m also working towards having synchronised audio and video mapping support in Painting With Light.  I’ve got this working but it needs some work before it’s ready for you guys but it’s on its way…

Time for a change…

I’ve decided to make a rather significant change to Painting With Light: it is no longer free.

There are several reasons for this, which I will get to shortly, but the key points are:

  • Developing software takes a lot of time, especially working on several platforms.
  • I’m a full-time artist; I don’t get paid to write this software.
  • I hoped that, by making the software available for free, that I could help connect artists and develop a community that discusses and shares ideas around the medium of video mapping.  It hasn’t yet achieved this aim.
  • I also hoped that I would be doing a lot more workshops than I have done, which would have gone some way towards covering the cost of development time.

I want to make it clear that I’m not making this change to ‘cash in’ on the software or the goodwill that I have gotten from releasing it, rather I want to take it forward and make it so much better.  To achieve this I need you (yes, you) to invest something in its future too.

Firstly, there is a new license to buy in the shop.  If a small percentage of the thousands of you that download the software end up purchasing it, that’s going to help me to spend more time on developing new features, and writing the much needed documentation, and making tutorial videos – all that good stuff that takes the same amount of time as developing the software in the first place.

Until April 30th 2014 it’s on sale for £29.99, rising to £49.99 after that.

While I occasionally get emails thanking me for making Painting With Light available for free, and I do appreciate them very much, I do wonder if it ends up devaluing the software, as there doesn’t seem to be much engagement visible after people download it.

Secondly, I would like you to share your ideas, projects, and doodlings with me and the other users.  Post them in the forum, or on the Facebook page.  I know people out there in the world are using it, but what for?

Thirdly, report bugs and suggest features.  Testing also takes lots of time, and if it crashes, or doesn’t work how you expect then let me know.  If you don’t report it then I don’t know about it.  Help me make it a better product for you and everyone else.

You may notice from the download page that I’ve had to temporarily halt Linux support, which was another difficult decision.  I like Linux a lot but it’s not my native platform and I don’t quite understand it as well as I need to in order to release a quality version.  I promise that I will bring it back!

I hope that I’m being clear that I’m still extremely excited about the possibilities that Painting With Light has to offer, and this change, whilst a difficult one to make, is purely aimed at helping it to grow.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Version 1.0.3 Released


Painting With Light 1.0.3 is now available for download for Windows, OSX, various flavours of Linux.

Download Version 1.0.3

It fixes the load painting bug that cropped up in the recent beta and brings all platforms up to date.

Sadly, there is still no Linux commercial version yet as I’m still working on some issues that have cropped up with packaging it but please try the freeware version and let me know how it works for you.

The web site has also had a few changes, with the addition of a forum and a simpler bug tracker.  Please let me know any issues that you may experience.  If you don’t report it, then I won’t know to fix it.

I hope you enjoy this latest release and, rest assured, there are new exciting features to come.  Do let me know if you have ideas, too – post them in the forum!

Beta 614

Mapping-Window-UpdateBeta 614 brings some new changes to both the Freeware and Commercial versions.

Download it here.

The way that mapping is applied has changed a bit, and you might find that loading paintings made with previous versions no longer look correct.  Let me know if that’s a problem…

The changes mean that things like rotation are applied to the centre of the texture, not the top left corner, which I think makes a lot more sense.

Additionally, it will no longer stretch textures that aren’t square as they rotate.

You will notice on the Mapping Window there are now more accurate control over most values, too.

If you click the little square with an arrow to the far right of each value, you can manually set the minimum and maximum, and whether to use just the slider, the text box, or both.

There are also two new controls called “X Shift” and “Y Shift” that work like “X Offset” and “Y Offset” but are not affected by rotation.

The Preview mode has also changed, and it currently shows only on the work area, and only if you have enabled “Render to Work Area” in the options.  I’ll be doing some more work on this in future updates.

To keep everyone updated on news and beta releases, I’ve added a new Latest News window in at start-up.

MIDI Control

For those of you who have purchased the commercial version you get the mapping changes, and the first release of the MIDI plugin, meaning you can start to control Painting With Light using a MIDI controller.

I’ve only enabled a few controls so far but there will be many more on the way.

There is also MIDI timing support so you can synchronise the video playback in Painting With Light to a MIDI sequencer.  I’ll be doing some documentation about this soon but for now, if it detects a MIDI Time Code, it will sync to it.

And finally, Video Output now sets the rendering speed of Painting With Light when it starts recording, so output video timing will be frame accurate.

That’s everything for now.  I’m off to Barcelona for a few days next week, meanwhile trying to write some funding applications so I have to try and stay away from coding for a week or two, at least.

Let me know if you run into any problems with this latest version, and I’ll try and address them when I can.