Nanoleaf Canvas: Time to Shine a Light on it.
Cal was lucky enough to get his hands on the latest offering from Nanoleaf; the Canvas. So, did it light up his life?
High intensity illumination with vibrant colour output.
Flexibility of installation allows for a creative lighting installation.
Easy to setup and play with.
Mounting hardware provided could be improved.
Network resilience needs work.
A large array of Canvas panels is needed to truly utilise the screen mirror function, which is a costly outlay.
Immersion. It’s what gamer’s strive for and what publisher marketing execs have made cliche. Now, with the recent development of cheap, high output colour changing LED’s and wireless automation, we now have lighting that aims to assist you in feeling more involved in your favourite movie or computer game.
This has been widely adopted by the content creation community with what seems every second you-tuber or streamer showing off whatever colour of LED illuminated goodness their heart desires.
Nanoleaf have been catering to this market for sometime with many a famous content creator adorning their walls with their popular light panels - such as Deadmau5’s amazing installation which can be seen on his mixer stream. The multicoloured LED triangle that can be synced to music; allowing the user to not only create some amazing colours, but linked together to create some fantastic dynamic wall art.
Now, Nanoleaf have brought out a new development - the Canvas. I was lucky enough to get a 9 piece smarter kit to put it through its paces.
What’s in the box.
In the smarter kit you get:
9 canvas panels, including a control square
Links, which are small lengths of printed circuit boards with tabs that allow you to connect the panels together.
Tabbed double sided tape for mounting the canvas panels.
Put simply - enough to mount, wire and power up the canvas.
Instructions do come in the box, but they are deliberately light on detail. If you want more detailed how to information, there is a QR code which sends you to a bunch of very useful YouTube videos.
Installation… the good and the bad.
The installation in a nutshell is pretty simple, but there are pitfalls. First, lay out the panels face down and to suss out the design you want. For this I enlisted some expert help; my 9 year old daughter whom is infinitely times more creative than I.
Each panel has slots on the corners in which the links slide into to make an electrical connection to a neighbour. This will constrain your design decisions as you need to make sure your panels interlink, otherwise no light. Fortunately there is an app that can be downloaded that you can use to test your design before committing. Fear not, with a little thought and planning I couldn’t see too many designs which couldn’t be installed.
Now, for the wall mounting. As mentioned the kit comes with enough double sided mounting tape pieces to fix around three or so pieces per panel to a surface. The mounting tape provided are the type which has a tab that allows you to pull it and remove the tape without marking. However, you need to be very careful and deliberate in your tape placement as the tab is very short, and without being very very careful, the tape will break mid pull - which happened to me several times. I recommend not using the provided tape and spending an extra $20 and getting longer tape pieces from 3M, as they are far more forgiving.
Secondly, trying to align the link piece while mounting a panel, and keep it straight AND not accidentally stick it to the wall takes some doing…. I think I have a link lost between the wall and my panels when one slipped out just as I was about to mount a panel. Plus, I ran out of tape tabs, so my control panel now sits precariously on top of all the others. I am also not looking forward to ever having to remove my panels; as some of the ‘removable’ tabs are behind other panels - meaning there will be some very gentle persuasion needed otherwise my plan to repaint my study will be brought forward.
Setting this up is a breeze - downloading the app, follow the installation instructions and within about 2 minutes I had my panel running off of my phone.
The android app is intuitive; and allows you to choose from a range of pre-installed scenes, ranging from various whites through to simple automated colour scenes, rhythm scenes that react to sound and interactive ones that utilise the touch inputs of the panels.
The app allows you to download other scenes and colour selections from a cloud site, based on other user’s designs. The app also allows you to create your own scenes; with the app automatically identifying the configuration of your panel installation, which I thought was very cool, and then giving you a full range of colours, automations and inputs to play with.
Where the canvas comes into its own however is through the PC app. This web based app has all the functionality of the mobile one, but also allows you to instigate screen mirroring. Setup is again simple; choose the alignment of the panels, pick your output screen to mirror and flick a switch.