LED Animation with Arduino & FastLED

Design Lighting Effects That Captivate


Make real progress on your lighting effects goals by programming numerous animations in real-time with me. Missed a live lesson? You can access previous live recordings anytime.

Watch the First Lesson Free

Code your very first lighting animations on an LED strip from the first lesson!

From single strips that make room lighting fun to large-scale interactive media art with lights and sensors, learn to program a variety of LED products including strips, rings, matrix panels and Circuit Playground Express.

Whether you want to get started with LED strips for your props and cosplay projects or want to add more complex interaction for your electronics or art installations, this course is for you.


(normally $24.95/month)


Live Lessons

Check Out What We’re Doing Together in Real-time

Get ready to start adding lighting effects to your projects with some of your very first programs! I’ll show you how to determine which LED products are compatible with your microcontroller and best practices for powering projects of all sizes. With everything hooked up properly we’ll explore the necessary setup functions from the FastLED library using the Arduino IDE and then move on to building our first light patterns from scratch using any color we want and get started with animation fundamentals.


  1. Types of Programmable LED Strips
  2. How to Connect an LED Strip to a Microcontroller
  3. Understanding & Wiring the Power Supply
  4. Introduction to the FastLED Library
  5. Coding Your First Light Patterns

Now that we’ve played around with FastLED’s basic color functions, it’s time to take a deeper look at color manipulation and use RGB and HSV color modes to give us more control over complex animations. We’ll also look at functions to calibrate the strip’s default white balance and overall temperature.


  1. CRGB and CHSV Colors in FastLED
  2. More Advanced Animations using HSV Values
  3. Using EVERY_N_ to Create Non-blocking Delays
  4. Create Themes with FastLED Color Palettes
  5. Setting Overall Brightness
  6. Color Correction & Temperature

So far we’ve created some amazing effects along the entire LED strip! The wave functions will allow us to create groups of moving light and color that can calmly undulate like waves in the ocean or pulse sharply as if you’re at a DJ rave party. Blur functions add a fading head and tail to each wave to help us blend seamlessly between wave patterns and sets the professional apart from the amateur for Knight Rider and Cylon effects. Continuing our journey into professional lighting, we’ll examine noise functions which add an organic feel to light movement and color – an important element for character design, cosplay and interactive displays and media installations.


  1. Creating Waves & Pulses with beatsin8/16
  2. Manipulating Waves with Phase Offset
  3. Adding Waves to a Pattern
  4. Microcontroller Memory Considerations
  5. Types of Waves including Sawtooth
  6. Blurring Waves
  7. Using inoise8(x) for Realism
  8. Timing of Waves
  9. Fill Functions

We may have our LED strip faithfully doing our bidding, but what about controlling an entire LED matrix panel? We’ll see how many of the functions we’ve used so far look like when displayed on a matrix and how to fine-tune the patterns. Then it’s time to create our own custom matrix patterns including sprites and 8-bit art!


  1. Wiring LED Matrix Panels
  2. Using XYMatrix to Translate XY Coordinates to a Linear Array Index
  3. Animating Patterns & Noise Across a Matrix
  4. Animating Pixel, Sprite & 8-bit art on an LED Matrix
  5. Soldering Together Custom Matrices
  6. Animating Across Irregular Matrices

The Circuit Playground Express is a great way to get started with interactive lighting because it contains a variety of sensors on one board. We’ll walk through the installation steps, then write our first sketches allowing our LED strip to behave in different ways depending on sensor input.


  1. Using the Light Sensor to Control LEDs
  2. Using the Sound Sensor to Control LEDs
  3. Using the Temperature Sensor to Control LEDs

We’ll continue exploring more sensors on the Circuit Playground Express like capacitive touch sensing and how to use the accelerometer to detect motion and taps! In order to develop more complex interactive artworks, installations, and experiences we’ll learn to create non-blocking programs so we can have multiple inputs and outputs going at the same time.


  1. Using Capacitive Touch Sensors to Control LEDs
  2. Using the Accelerometer to Control LEDs
  3. Non-blocking Programs for Multiple Inputs & Outputs


Your maker journey doesn’t end after the last lesson. That’s when you’re just getting started! Accelerate your growth with a supportive and inspiring group of peers as a member of our Artistic Engineering community.

In addition to this course, members have access to:


  • All live and on-demand courses for a more well-rounded skillset.
  • All course activity feeds.
  • Updates & revisions to all courses.


  • LIVE virtual community making sessions where we dedicate time to our projects, share skills, showcase what we’re working on, ask questions and interact with peers.


  • A community of supportive and engaged makers who are excited to offer encouragement, accountability, and feedback on your projects (including me).
  • A mobile app to help you stay connected with our community anywhere, anytime.



Is a Regular On-Air Expert Featured On:


Build & Code in Real-time WIth Me

Whether you prefer to keep up with the live lessons or go through them on demand at your own pace, you benefit from the same create- and code-along experience and you’re never alone on your creative journey. Along with me, our community is open 24/7 to review assignments, provide feedback and help you troubleshoot projects.


What you need to get started

Although you can watch and participate, getting hands-on with the process is where the real learning and growth happens.

Arduino Nano or Arduino Uno
WS2818B LED Strip
8×8 or 16×16 LED Matrix
Circuit Playground Express
Soldering Iron (optional)

Stop Scrolling. Start Creating.

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