Okay, he's not that wild-eyed, but some of his characters are! Matt's passions fit right into the diversity that is Los Angeles: He makes everything from crazy plush characters to full animatronic displays. From time to time, Matt
is contracted to repair or upgrade props and displays,
which is what leads us to the topic at hand. Figure 1
shows Matt with his “Disco D2” prop at the San Diego,
CA Comic-Con. Disco D2 is a Propeller powered prop.
(You know, on second
thought, Matt does look a
bit wild-eyed in that
A few months ago,
Matt was commissioned to
add lighting to a Gort prop
(Figure 2) owned by
legendary rock guitarist,
Kirk Hammett. Matt knew
he would use a strip of
WS2812s, and wanted to
make it really interesting
with a pseudo flame effect.
He called on me for an
assist because I'd recently
coded a big project for
Alliance Studio that was all
about faux flames.
For the record, it is very hard to simulate fire and
flames with LEDs — but here's the good news: We don't
have to simulate, we only have to suggest. Let the last part
of that sink in a moment — especially as you're planning
your Halloween displays. The human mind is an amazing
thing. With just a little bit of information nudged in the
right direction, it will imply the rest. Our job, then, is to
provide enough of the right information and the right
direction, allowing the mind to handle everything else.
I know I must sound like a broken record at times, but I really do love
living in Los Angeles, CA. Yes, there's traffic. Yes, there's heat and
smog in the summer. Yes, the cost of living can be tough. Pushing those
inconveniences aside, it's a great city filled with wildly creative people
— especially in and around the entertainment industry which is where I
do most of my work. Interestingly, I'm one of the few natives of Los
Angeles; most people in “the business” come from across the nation and
across the world. One of my friends is a guy named Matt, who's
originally from Ohio and now makes his home in Los Angeles. By day
he's a corporate IT expert; by night, he's a wild-eyed character creator!
Flame On, Dude!
By Jon McPhalen
September 2015 27