Mercury on mobile

Light painting on the go! Free version includes front camera, exposure controls, and sharing. Pro version includes a countdown timer, decay mode (paint forever), rear camera, HD+/HD++ resolutions, and flash. iOS app coming soon!!

Mercury on Desktop

A webcam app for light painting in real-time. Now for Mac & Windows.

Update: Google recently closed the Chrome app store, so Mercury Pro is FREE until further notice.

v2.1 update

light modes

Mercury has 3 modes for capturing light.


Only captures the brightest light. Allows painting for a very long time without over-exposing the picture.

Used for fading the current painting.

Simulates traditional light painting.

keyboard shortcuts

Mercury can be controlled remotely with a mini bluetooth keyboard!

  • Fullscreen: f, or F11
  • Exposure: left/right arrows, or [ ]
  • Modes: 0-3
  • Ghost: g
  • Mirror: m
  • Save: s
  • New: n
  • Trigger: spacebar

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a DSLR with LPL?

Yes, but it requires 3rd party software. Generally the video feed from DSLR to webcam is low resolution and low framerate.


Can I record light painting videos?

Yes, by using any screen-casting program. We use screencast-o-matic and Quicktime (mac).

How can I get rid of noise?

Most webcams default to using auto-exposure. This is not ideal for light painting. In complete darkness, it will use the maximum exposure, which makes the video very noisy (like high ISO). Use your webcam's driver software to control settings on the webcam, or use a universal webcam controller like Webcam Settings (Mac).

Of course, the quality of the camera also affects this. We recommend Logitech webcams, like the C930e

How can I fade out my light painting?

Short fades are possible by switching modes; like 'light' to 'fade'.

The formula below can be used to determine the duration of the fades. Each frame will subtract 1 from the current color, of which there are 256 possible values.

256 (color values) / 60 (frames per second) = 4.3 seconds

It's not working!

Make sure Chrome is up to date. Open chrome and go to chrome://chrome to update.

Where can I buy light tools?

LightPaintingBrushes. Jason Page's flexible, extensible light painting brush system.

Blinky Tape. Programmable 60-led RGB strips. Easy.

open source

Here are some open-source (free!) light painting programs. LPL doesn't actively maintain these projects, but hopefully they will serve you well.

  • LPL Heavy

    The original LPL program for Mac/Windows. View on GitHub.
  • LPL Processor

    Processing sketch that converts raw video into light painting videos. View on GitHub.


LPL started as a simple prototype. It had two buttons and was very slow. It was discovered by Joerg Miedza, a prominent member of the light-painting community. The app was very limited, but Joerg saw it as the next step in the evolution of light-painting. He wanted to know if it could be improved, so he emailed the developer. Ever since then, Josh and Joerg have been exchanging ideas and improving LPL.

Joerg Miedza: Artist

Joerg Miedza has been creating movies and photos using special techniques since the late 90's. He is the co-founder of the german light-art project LAPP-PRO. In this project, the LAPP-Team developed a unique brand of light painting: LightArt Performance Photography, or LAPP for short. The skills Joerg acquired working with motion pictures allowed him to contribute significantly to the performance and artistic aspect of LAPP photography.

His personal work is at

There is also a book of the work: Painting With Light


Josh Beckwith: Developer

Josh has always been obsessed with science and technology - and as a child, he dreamed of becoming an inventor. Now, he's a senior interactive developer at Tool of North America.