Category Archives: News

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

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 572

Painting With Light Video StreamingThere is a new beta release available now, and the first one for 2014 – Happy New Year!

Download BETA 572 for Windows, OSX, and various types of Linux

I’ve added preliminary support for my video streaming system into both the freeware and commercial versions.  You can now paint with the output from other applications.

This beta also features fixes to the new video playback timing code I’ve been working on so the playback is precisely synchronised now, as is the video recording in the commercial version.

I’ve also added Anisotropic Filtering, which improves the rendering quality, and MipMaps for images and videos.  These are all disabled by default so you need to enable them in the rendering preferences.

If you’ve purchased a commercial license you can download the beta by accessing your orders.


Painting With Light in Caracas Venezuela


The British Council arranged for Alex May to run a two day Painting With Light workshop in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, Venezuela.

At the end of the second day, Alex and the participants created a site-specific installation in the Museum using packing crates that had just returned from bringing back a large exhibition of Venezuelan art back to the museum as the basis of the installation.

Groups of participants worked together to develop parts of the installation based on their own perceptions of living in Caracas.

One group chose architecture, another chose the metro, others chose nature.

Finally bringing all these aspects together into one installation created a unique view of the city that was opened to the public, and was visited by the British Ambassador and the Director of the British Council.

You can read more about the workshop on Alex’s website.

Painting With Light: Year One

A little over one year ago the first version of Painting With Light was launched at the Brighton Digital Festival in September 2012.  Since then:

  • The software has been downloaded over 1,600 times:
    • Windows: 1,139
    • OSX: 393
    • Linux: 83
  • The web site received over 6,000 unique visitors
  • Workshops have been run in:
    • Caracas, Venezuela
    • Montreal, Canada
    • Brighton, England
  • Alex May has created art installations and performances at:
    • Tate Modern, London
    • Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas
    • Clearleft, Brighton
    • Phoenix, Brighton
    • Blinc Digital Festival, Conwy, Wales
  • Alex has given talks at:
    • Museum of Contemporary Art, Caracas
    • Phoenix, Brighton

Looking Back

On the positive side, the response to the software has been very exciting, with artists all around the world using it to experiment and develop video mapping projects and artworks, just as I hoped it would.

I’ve been delighted to hear again and again in the workshops how easy people find the software to work with, and how it enables them to think about what they want to do creatively rather than struggling with the technology.

I’ve also very much enjoyed using it for the installations and performances this past year and am looking forward to developing my artistic practise with it for years to come.

On the less positive side, I haven’t had as much time to work on it as I would’ve liked, especially writing documentation, making video tutorials, and adding new features.

As a full time freelance artist, the original plan was to make the software available free of charge and subsidise the cost of software development through talks and workshops, and that’s just not really happened to the scale I’d hoped it might, which required taking on other projects.

What’s Next?

I’m completely committed to developing the project further and feel there are a great many possibilities that the medium of video mapping has yet to offer.

I will continue to run workshops and give talks – contact me here.

I plan to keep the core software free for all platforms but I will introduce a new commercial version that will include more complex features.  It is hoped that sales of this version, alongside additional advanced workshops, will go some way to raising revenue to cover my time to develop new features, documentation, and video tutorials.

As well as creating this new, cleaner web site for the project, I will also keep the Facebook page and Twitter account updated, of which I’ve been somewhat remiss.

I’m also very much looking forward to seeing other artists’ work made using Painting With Light in year two.