Tips on creating LED boards

Anyone got some go to sparks/matchbox etc to create LED billboard effects?

I’m particularly interested in making the dotty crunchiness and the uneven surface.

Matchbox Dots, add some texture and displace.

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Yep, plus air glow

Also, use that repeating texture to your advantage. Set itself as a Diffuse and scale / tile / repeat the texture. That way you can adjust the scale/density of things.

Sometimes a like to also put in a just a few “dead bulbs”.

Yeah I had to replace a LED billboard the other day. I think I used matchbox dots and by fiddling with the scale of the dots and the anti-aliasing was actually able to pretty much match the moire that was on the real ones I was replacing. So a bit of moire may well sell it.

All of these ideas are great until it’s content the client cares about, in which case be prepared to have a clean version of content ready to go, tracked in place, that you blend-in over your “photoreal comp” that you worked so hard on. Nothing serious… maybe to the tune to of 90%.



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Mostly what I see in your reference is that the LED’s are brighter when they’re pointed at camera, and darker where they aren’t. Seems like a displace and some normals might make it look very convincing.
I believe clients want things to look real, and be legible, which is kinda what we get paid to do. Try to find the sweet spot in their notes that make your shot even better.

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Don’t forget to try Action’s Atomize for a good dot look (a low surface resolution setting is essential in getting a high-frequency dotted look).

Having done screen replacements for large LED billboards, a key to getting a good look is the subtle blocked texture that comes from these displays being built from a matrix of X x X panels. There is always a slight difference between neighboring panels which can be emulated by building into the Y channel a block-based brightness shift.

johnt, if you get the opportunity to supervise one of these shoots on set, ask if you can provide the stadium projectionist with a frame of grey or white while production rolls on the display. You’ll then have a perfect texture to multiply into your source material.

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