Creating Fake Neon Signs With Spray Paint | Master Craft

Creating Fake Neon Signs With Spray Paint | Master Craft


No, this isn’t a neon sign. It’s street art created in a way that tricks your eyes into
believing it’s glowing light. Adam Fujita, aka Adam Fu, has mastered the art of layering
very specific colors in order to turn
regular spray paint into something a
little more luminescent. And while figuring
out the technique to create this look,
he has also mastered how to manipulate
the human eye into seeing an entirely
different material. But how does he do it? All of his projects
start on his iPad. He uses an illustration
app called Procreate to play around with
typography and lettering. Adam uses it to map
out the placement and scale of the piece according to the
size of the wall the project will live on. Once that’s all done, Adam preps the materials
he’ll need once he’s on-site. This means pulling all
the colors he’ll need and extra cans of those
colors in case he runs out. For this mural, he has prepared
seven different colors in the yellow and
orange shade range. Then it’s time to
take the design and tools to the site. Adam Fujita: My work
always begins small. It always begins on
paper or a napkin or the iPad, but it’s
meant to be outdoors. You know, my work, it
came from the street, and ideally it should
be on the street. And so I think that,
having it in public, that’s its most
natural environment. Narrator: He starts by
creating a rough outline for the lettering. Usually, this is done
with the darkest of the seven shades. For this piece, it’s a
red-orange color. This next step is vital to creating a faux
glow around the sign. He calls this “dusting,” and it creates the
illusion of the glow that real neon
light would have. Adam repeats this
with a few layers of different colors in order to fully create this effect. Although neon light
itself may appear to be only one color, our eyes actually perceive
the glow as varying shades of the same color. Once he’s happy with
how the dusting looks, Adam begins working
on the letters. The first layer he puts
down is a dark but still vibrant yellow. This brings the letters
back into focus. Then, Adam rewrites the
same letters in black, but slightly off-center. It will create the
illusion of a shadow. Adam: It’s not common,
though, in neon signage. Neon would never cast
a dark light out of its, the backside
of itself, you know. It would cast a bright light. But what I realized was
that that black shadow, it draws so much contrast that it adds to this quality that maybe the
letters are floating above the surface. Narrator: This trick of
the eye is thanks to depth perception,
which is the ability to see things in
three dimensions and is how you judge how
far away an object is. Adam goes back in with
the same yellow as before to clean up the
overlapping black lines. Then, he brings in the
lighter, brighter yellow shade. When doing this, the neon effect begins
to come together. But it isn’t until he adds that final white line
down the middle of the letters that
the sign really glows. This mimics the most
illuminated part of neon lights, making it appear
brighter than the rest. That harsh, bright
center of the sign is what really
grabs your attention.

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