3D Printed Ophthalmics: Fact or Fiction?

Last week, I have had the honor to support Luxexcel – the company I proudly served during the early start-up stages – once again from my next position at Luminous Concepts. Being part of the event team for the Vision East Expo in New York City, I witnessed the launch of Luxexcel’s rapidly evolving 3D printing technology towards an audience of eyewear specialists including optical laboratories, eyewear brands, software firms and designers. The inaugural eyewear event was an overwhelming success and clearly confirmed the future strategy and refined business model for Luxexcel. Now, the opthalmics industry needs to wake up, it’s getting VERY serious. Moreover, it needs to prepare for a different future, and below is why.

Next Quality Level – Novel Focus!

After reaching imaging optics quality by the end of last year, the corporate Luxexcel governance decided to bring enhanced focus to its activities. After acting as a ‘multi-market service provider’ for printed optics over the last couple of years, the business strategy was thoughtfully taken over the last months to a next level: providing 3D printing equipment with ophthalmics quality. After several years of hard pioneering work and test marketing, the company decided to go out and share the achieved ophthalmics performances with the rest of the market. Vision East NYC was the launching event for this groundbreaking optics 3D printing technology.

From ‘Manufacturing-as-a-Service’ to ‘Pay per Use’

Luxexcel will provide the users with a full set-up including the hardware (3D printer), consumables, software and full service and maintenance support. The complete value package will exclusively be available to ophthalmics labs and companies in very specific, high-end market niches (ophthalmics specialties).

Seamless Lab Integration

Meanwhile, Luxexcel is preparing the outplacement of its first opthalmics 3D printers in optical laboratories around the globe after summer. After gearing up for launch in the last year through an iterative learning process in various ophthalmics laboratories and test market niches, the company is now getting ready to take a next challenge!

Illumarco_3D printed opthalmics_Luxexcel_seamless lab integration.jpgThe Luxexcel Opthalmics 3Dprinting equipment seamlessly fits in the actual opthalmics laboratory set-ups

WANTED: Independant Ophthalmics Laboratories!

Luxexcel actively seeks the cooperation with (independant) optical laboratories to spread it’s core technology in a variety of eyewear market niches and applications. Interested labs are strongly encouraged to reach out to Luxexcel and discover the value for their business.  Also, joint development programs are offered to potentially strategical technology users with upwards potential to enrich their portfolio and open up new ways of fabrication in a much more flexible and sustainable way!

Enabling Eyewear Technology

The ultimate goal of Luxexcel is not just to economize the actual supply chain, to ‘green’ it and to make it more efficient. Intentionally, the enabling Luxexcel technology opens doors to novel products and applications in high end market niches. This is where Luxexcel want’s to open up doors to applications that were never available before, for example because conventional fabrication technologies lack.

Embedded (secondary) materials, such as electronics and thin-films, VR and AR applications, can now be foreseen with custom focal power. Those and many other new possibilities are now getting within the reach of any lab. Luxexcel launched an amazing set of inspirational showcases at Vision East, just to show its users what can be achieved today, and in the future!

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Showcases launchAt Vision East, Luxexcel introduced a variety of inspiring showcases created by its new eyewear technology.

Inspiring Concepts for Today and Tomorrow

3D printed lenses, in ophthalmic quality, are a game changer in the ophthalmic industry. Luxexcel technology is enhanced every day, aiming to make its enabling technology available to the market in 2017. The availability will open up new possibilities in design, process optimize todays processes and allow eyewear developers and designers to create new and unique concepts.

More specifically, eyewear laboratories will soon have the possibility to work with Luxexcel hard- and software directly from their position in the actual supply chain and start to create new and inspiring eyewear concepts, inspired by designers from various backgrounds. Assembled in Europe, the optical 3D printers are ready to be outplaced soon and enrich the laboratories’ offering.

Freedom of Design

3D printed opthalmics come with absolute design freedom. With Luxexcel technology, not only the lens surfaces can be freeform, there are virtually no limitations any longer to the design of the lens shapes as well. As frames now can be embedded (encapsulated) in the lens itself, there is no physical boundary anymore, designers can work easily around it.

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Decorative_Tattoo_ShowcasesEyewear specialties, such tattoo lenses, can now be tailored to the users’ needs.

Also, decorative elements such as images, alignment marks, logo’s and brand names can now easily be added to the lens surfaces, in one single process. It provides designers with new tools to customize their next generations of eyewear. On the contrary to customizing the frames, the design revolution of the last decade, they can now start to be creative with the lenses and their clarity itself!

Wrap Up and Future Expectations

After the inaugural launch at the Vision Expo East 2017, functional 3D Printed Opthalmics are now within the reach of every eyewear professional. I am thrilled to see how the company is starting to make a real difference in the eyewear world. The technology has enormous potential in this field, and the need for change and diversification is huge.

What we’ve seen at Vision East last week, is just a glimpse of what the company is working on. Luxexcel is finally getting ready for a next stage of growth, and it’s technology – with its disruptive power – is ready for it!

 

Fully 3D Printed Glasses – New York City Trial

User Testimonial

Along with the Vision East Expo, I had the honor to be part of a selected user group wearing world’s first FULLY 3D printed glasses. Both the frame, sourced from Monoqool, a trendy eyewear brand, and the glasses provided by Luxexcel, were fabricated using novel additive manufacturing processes.

After wearing my customized pair of 3D printed lenses for over three showdays (and nights), I can confirm that it’s quality is pure and unequalled. Both for operational tasks and going around at the show and in New York City, the glasses performed to my satisfaction. The view, both near and far, is of proper quality and I faced no serious problems when going around, reading signs (including the glare at Broadway) or doing concentrated task work.

The lenses as used for this test case had zero focal power, but the clarity and uniformity of the lenses were satisfactory. Both the outside – that’s been hard coated and AR coated – and the ‘lookthrough’ were of excellent quality!

Even as a ‘non-eyewear’ user, I can confirm the glassess are fine for all-day use. I am looking with great interest and expectations forward to the further roll-out of Luxexcel’s Technology in the US and European ophthalmics markets!

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Testimonial fully 3D printed glassesUltimate ‘design freedom’: Lady Liberty through printed glasses, as clear as crystal… fenomenal!

Pictures in this post are property of either the author or Luxexcel. All rights reserved.

Interview(s): 3D Printing Lighting Objects and Components – How does the Future look like?

Recently, I’ve been invited to give a dual interview for The Light Design, an online magazine dedicated to light and to the role it plays in cultural and creative industries, as well as in everyday life. I am delighted to share it with you for a deeper understanding of the future of additive manufacturing for lighting professionals!

Creative Light in Everyday Life

The Light Design caters to technicians, architects, artists, and to all those involved in creative fields. The magazine’s articles analyse light from different points of view, and tackle topics that range from concert and theatre lighting to the role of light in art and architecture, without neglecting interior, residential, commercial and architectural lighting.

The Light Design nicely captured the interviews on their inspiring blog. Here you can read the full interviews:

#1 – 3D Printing a lighting object – how does the future look like?
#2 – 3D printing of Lighting Components

Enjoy the perspectives, and please don’t be afraid to talk back, either via The Light Design Forum or just leave your comments in the footer section of this blog.

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3DPrinting.Lighting – Technology and Inspiration Blog for Lighting Professionals

Finally, I could recommend you following the blog 3Dprinting.Lighting to stay informed about the latest developments, inspiration and practical user cases.

Make sure you won’t stay behind in the 3D Printing Revolution!

Plotting the Path of Light

Plotting the Path of Light: From the burning Ebers of a Camp Fire to the Glow of the Smartphone

And there was Light!
Sunlight has been around since the creation of our planet. Apart from heating the atmosphere, it’s essential in all we do. Allthough we frequently complain about light pollution, we can’t imagine living in complete darkness. ‘Lost in Light‘ – how light pollution affects the nightly sky – was a movie I wrote about earlier. Watch it, it’s amazing!

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Shaped by Light
Have you ever thought about how light shaped human being over time? The short animation film on top of this blogpost helps you to understand the path of light over centuries. From the burning ebers of a campfire towards a lighthouse beacon and the articifial light glow of a smartphone. Join us on this history of light!

This blogpost was inspired by National Geographic. The movie in this post was sourced from Stephen Ong Motion.

Windlicht by Roosegaarde – A Celebration of the Beauty of Green Energy

“Windlicht” is an artwork by Studio Roosegaarde showing the beauty of green energy. By means of special software and tracking technology, the windmill blades are detected to rotate at 280 km / hour. Straight green lines of LED light are connecting the blades of the individual windmills. It creates a dynamic play of light and movement.

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Linking Light and Landscape

With Windlight, Roosegaarde intends to create the missing link between the Dutch and the beauty of our new landscape. I appreciate this project very much because of its awareness generating power to the crowd. The majority of local citizens may complain for years, see these ‘giants’ as a thorn in the flesh, call it horizon pollution. But times are changing, this next generation 21st century windmills are amidst us and part of our next generations life. While struggle about finding appreciated locations at sea goes on, the need and urgency of renewable energy keeps growing. Windlight can be experienced for free on the Eneco windfarm at Sint Annaland in Zeeland, Netherlands.

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Waterlicht on Display in Middelburg, Zeeland, NL

By the way, I heard that the City of Middelburg invited Studio Roosegaarde to illuminate the celebration of 800 years Middelburg City in 2017 by means of it’s Waterlicht installation, an earlier success story of this amazing studio. If you ask me, there’s no more important area in all Western-Europe for raising water flood awareness… Curious to see how that works out!

If you want to learn a bit more on this wonderful area, please refer to the ‘About‘ page of this blog, there’s an impressive movie embedded on this particular area.

Pictures in this post are sourced from Studio Roosegaarde.

Lost in Light – How Light Pollution Affects the Nightly Sky

HOW DOES LIGHT POLLUTION AFFECT THE NIGHTLY SKY AND OUR LIVES?

‘Lost in Light’ is a short film on how light pollution affects the view of the night skies. Shot by Sriram Murali, most shots were taken in California, USA. The movie shows how the view gets progressively better as you move away from the artificial lights.

Finding locations to shoot at every level of light pollution ’s been quite a challenge for the videographer and getting to the darkest skies with no pollution was a journey on its own.

The night skies remind us of our place in the universe. Imagine if we live under skies full of stars as a tiny part of the cosmos. Imagine kids growing up passionate about astronomy looking for answers.

In reality, most of us live under heavily light polluted skies and some have never even seen the Milky Way. We take the skies for granted and are rather lost in our busy lives without much care for the view of the stars.

Take a moment to ‘break out’ and lose yourself in this wonderful movie!

Source:
Sriram Murali – srirammurali.com

Cupola and Skygarden – Pendants with a Meaning

PENDANT LUMINAIRES AS MASTERPIECES OF VIRTUOSITY

Recently, my attention was drawn to an inspirational article in the PLDC Newsletter including a ‘parable in light’. From time to time, it’s astonishing to learn how traditional efforts and present day design find each other in exclusive luminaire productions. Here are two stunning pendants  that very well reflect this merger of craftmanship and 21st century technology, be it both in a very different style. I happily share some of my personal favorites with you.

Cupola: A hyper-realistic Reproduction of the St. Peter Basilica in Vatican Rome

The Cupola pendant luminaire is a hyper-realistic reproduction of the St. Peter Basilica Dome in the Vatican, one of the most significant Roman Catholic churches around the globe. The luminaire, exquisitely designed by Studio AMeBE from Milan, Italy, combines the very essences of meaning in a georgeous lighting masterpiece.

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On the inner surface of the luminaire there are miniature representations of all the scenes found in the real St. Peter’s dome, and the outer surface resembles the ornate decorations on the Basilica building itself. The suspension wire and the power cable run through the silver cross that tops the pendant dome.

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Theoretically speaking, it may well soon be possible to enjoy the glory of this incredible work of art from the comfort of your own home. Production is limited to 15 pieces only, each of them hand made. Price unknown. Potential buyers will need to ensure they have a sufficiently large space in which to install the “chandelier” – the dome is made of synthetic resin, nylon and fibreglass and measures 100 by 110 centimetres in diameter.

The suspended dome is illuminated inside and out. Dimmable LEDs are mounted within the rim on the outside, and an LED source installed in the oculus radiates light evenly over the painted inner surface. The LED light sources can be controlled via iPhone or iPad.

Marcodevisser.com_Skygarden Close by Marcel Wanders for Flos

Skygarden by Marcel Wanders for FLOS

The Skygarden is inspired by a fabulous antique decorated plaster ceiling in Wanders own house. He named it “my Skygarden”. He loved the concept so much that by the time he moved the house, he could not leave it and had to find a way to take it to his next home. He took his tools and stole it from the ceiling.

This fabulous piece of history is now secretly hidden in a minimalist architectural sphere in the heart of his new home where he enjoys it with friends. It comes in both a pendant and a recessed version.

Marcodevisser.com_Skygarden by Marcel Wanders for Flos_white

‘Cupola’ by Studio AMeBE and ‘Skygarden’ by Marcel Wanders. Pictures in this post are courtesy of the respectively named studio and designer.

Will Luminous Trees be our Future Street Lights?

It may sound lightyears ahead, but in the near future, bioluminescent trees could easily replace Street Lights. Or would it be the road itself lighting the way? Bioluminescence, the ability of small organisms to behave like living night-lights, could lead to some remarkable advances in the public space. Here are some of the greatest examples we’ve ever seen!

Bioluminescence – The Invention

Bioluminescence was “invented” dozens of times in evolutionary history. Scientists may now be able to explain not only why certain mushrooms glow in the dark, but they are nearer to create glowing trees as a novel form of street lighting.

Swapping streetlights with giant light-emitting plants or trees using biomimicry techniques by Daan Roosegaarde.

Daan Roosegaarde – Lighting the Way

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde – known from astonishing projects such as ‘Waterlight‘ and ‘Rainbow Station‘, among many others – is hoping to employ biomimicry to transform your average street-side trees into beacons of light. Like the luminescent abilities of jellyfish, mushrooms or fireflies, splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria would open a world of opportunities!

Glow in the Dark

Naturalists in the early 19th century identified fungal growth as the source of the glow from wooden support beams used to shore up mines. Many fungi and mushrooms are now known to glow in the dark, and explanations for why they do it range from it being a useless by-product of metabolism to a sophisticated anti-predator adaptation. The best explanation seems to be that the night-light attracts insects and other animals to the fruiting bodies of fungi, who then spread the spores far and wide.

Glowing ‘Van Gogh Bicycle Path’ by Daan Roosegaarde

Fireflies

Fireflies are likely the best known example of bioluminescence in nature. The insect controls the light it emits from its light organ by adding oxygen to a mix of other chemicals involved in the light-emitting reaction. As larvae, the light acts as a warning to predators that they don’t taste very nice, and as adults the light is used to identify members of the same species and to attract the opposite sex.

Bioluminescence – The Future!

I am thrilled to see how bioluminescent technology finds its way in various in- and outdoor applications and how it contributes to a safer world! I am sure this is just the beginning of many more to come!

Lees verder Will Luminous Trees be our Future Street Lights?

Light-at-Play: Projecting a Color Globe onto Various Objects and Surfaces

A light or image projector is a top class module that includes an optical device for a targeted projection straight from a light source. It is used to project an image (or if you like moving images) onto a certain surface, commonly a projection screen or whiteboard. In this application, however, I assembled a small light projector and embedded a 3D printed color surface into it. After that, I’ve been doing some trial & error work in various settings. Come and see how wonderful this works out when the light ‘paints’ various objects and surfaces in my backyard.

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Light-at-Play – A Hexagonal Lens Array illuminated by a projected Color Globe.

 

Light Projection: The Principles

The idea behind most projector lights is creating an image or concentrated hot spot by shining the light through a small transparent lens, for example to accentuate an object. The narrower the beam, the more precise and focussed the projection will be. LED lighting projectors are becoming more and more popular for use in a variety of applications. Emerging LED technology is now being applied onto a wide range of products, both for functional and decorative lighting purposes. Its durability and stability (incl. shockproofness) makes it an attractive lighting design option.

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Light-at-Play – Painting Pavement with a Color Globe.


Projector Types and Use

The most common type of projector we are all aware of is the ‘video projector’: A digital replacement for the earlier types of projectors such as overhead- or slide projectors. These earlier types of projectors were mostly replaced with digital video projectors throughout the 1990s and early 2000s (decade), but old analog projectors are still used at some places, for example at my grandparents’ home.

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Light-at-Play – Colored Spheres Array


LED Lighting Projectors are on the Rise

The latest generations of projectors are handheld projectors that use lasers or LEDs to project images, such as the device I used. A disadvantage is that its projections are hard to see if there is too much ambient light, so I limited this trial & error session to a fully dark garden environment only.

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Light-at-Play – Olive Tree and Rising Color Globe.

This blog is just another proof of evidence how light can enrich your ambiance in a functional or decorative way and turn unintresting or indistinct materials into living surfaces!

The 3D Printing Adventure

Our Novel Micro 3D Printer just arrived, the expirementing has begun!

The Micro 3D Printer by M3D is a cute, tiny and extremely quiet entry-level 3D printer that I found available for a modest price. The Micro is surprisingly compact and very light weight. Its simple, yet attractive Apple-like design makes it a good conversation piece and a proper piece of hardware for some initial expirements.

3D Printing – The Next Generation

When I noted the M3D Micro 3D printer back in April, my attention was initially drawn to the tagline: “Micro 3D printer is the Next Generation 3D Printer”. Well, that’s exactly the truth: our next generation likely grows up in a world different from today: 3D printers, 3D Print Communities, 3D Print Hubs, Fablabs, etc. all will be common stuff. And, very likely, they are not or unsufficiently educated for the jobs they will be hired for by tomorrow.

So why not start with teaching them the basics of 3D printing today?
So I did, and my two young boys join me on this journey…

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Design and Features

The M3D Micro 3D printer I finally decided to buy comes in two versions: the ‘Retail’ (the one we purchased) and the ‘Standard’. The Retail version includes a filament spool and written instructions, and it has a one-year warranty. The Standard model has a 3-month warranty, and it doesn’t come with filament or written instructions, as far as I discovered. Our unit is white, but different color options are available for the frame.

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Setting up the Printer

Thanks to the enclosed instructions, the initial set up of the Micro was a fairly simple process. When you take the printer out of the nicely designed box, you have to unpack it by removing all the bubble foam and tape. The instructions emphasize taking off the clips that hold the extruder carriage in place during the shipping. One thing I overlooked: two pieces of black foam beneath the extruder.

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Downloading the Software

After unpacking it, I have downloaded the software from M3D’s website and installed it on my laptop. Then I plugged the printer in, and the M3D logo starts to light up (there’s no power switch on the printer, but the M3D logo nicely lights up when the printer is connected to the mains) and connected it to my laptop via the included USB-cable.

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Loading the Filament

The next step was to load the filament (1.75mm), which can be done either internally – a small filament spool fits exactly in the compartment at the base of the printer under the print bed – I discovered it accidentaly, or externally: the spool of filament can be placed in an optional spool holder outside of the printer. To start loading my files, I clicked on the ‘3D Ink’ tab in the software. Then, you have to enter a code (describing the filament type) and feed the filament from the spool to the extruder.

M3D sells spools of filaments along with the printer, which they call ‘3D Ink’. For this initial trial, we used a spool of M3D’s clear PLA filament (WOW) and Light Carribean blue (SKY). I loaded the filament externally, what is way easier than the internal loading.

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M3D Software & Library

The Micro’s 3D printing software is by far the simplest I’ve ever used. At the top (left hand side) of the main screen are two icons: a filament spool labeled ‘3D Ink’ and another folder called ‘Open Model’. At the right, there’s a gear icon, from which you can calibrate the print bed.

If you have previously uploaded any 3D models, you can click on a thumbnail to load the model, or choose ‘Open Model’ and navigate through your file directories to select a 3D file to load. Once loaded, the 3D-object will appear on the screen framed within a visual image of the printer. You can rescale, rotate, center or reposition the object with the help of several buttons at the left edge of the screen, or center the object with a button at the bottom of the screen.

Marvin – Symbol of the 3D Printing Movement

We finally chose to start with printing ‘Marvin’ – the symbol of the 3D printing movement, as found on 3D Hubs. Marvin’s core ethos is about community, creativity, social change, and problem solving. He’s determined to revolutionize the way we make things through 3D printing, so that seems to be a good start!

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When we had ‘Marvin’ scaled and positioned to our satisfaction, we started the process by simply hitting the ‘Print’ button. A dialog box that identifies the printer and the filament pops up. There was a possibility to choose one of five print-quality settings from a pull-down menu.

“3D Printing is determined to Revolutionize the Way we make almost Everything”

In a second dropdown menu, I was able to choose from six additional settings by which the fill density could be defined: two hollow settings, with the walls of different thicknesses, and four settings with increasing percentages of infill. The higher the resolution and the thicker the infill, the longer it takes to print an object.

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The Printing Process

I printed two Marvins, one for each of the boys. The first one in medium and the other in low resolution. Honestly, I didn’t see too much difference in quality among the chosen resolutions. Both test prints tended to look slightly rough-hewn, and some fine detail was lost. Some post processing (polishing) will be needed anyway, but the first results are promising. Here are the puppets:

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Finally, the Micro might not be exactly the ‘breakout’ prosumer model I’ve been expecting when I ordered it online, but I might be spoiled in my actual job position at Luxexcel where we use to work with world class hardware (Printoptical Technology, for the printing of optics and optical components). However, it’s certainly worth taking a look at if you’re looking for a solid starter 3D printer for educational or hobby purposes.

What’s next?

The boys and I will continue the trial & error in the upcoming weeks, there’s many more to come this summer period, so watch out for the progress! Let’s see what happens if we bring some (back)light in as well…

Thanks for reading this post, stay tuned!

Light at Play – Creating Vitreous Light Effects by RGB LED Lighting Application

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“Lustre: The Way Light interacts with the Surface of a Crystal, a Rock, or a Mineral”.

The word ‘Lustre’ (also referred to as ‘Luster’) traces its origins back to the latin word ‘lux’, meaning “light”. Generally, it implies a radiance, gloss, or sparking brilliance appearance of an object lit by day- or artificial light.

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A variety of terms are used to describe this sparkling light effect, such as earthy, metallic, greasy, and silky. Similarly, the term ‘vitreous’ (derived again from Latin, here from the word glass, vitrum) refers to a ‘glassy lustre’ as we display it here.

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Lustre varies over a wide continuum, and so there are no rigid boundaries between the different types of lustre.
The terms are frequently combined to describe intermediate types of lustre.

Light-at-Play
It liturally became my passion to mess around with RGB LED light units and transparent items, such as optics or, like in this case balls of broken crystal glass to optimize the lustre effect. Exciting to see what happens!

If you want more footage, just refer to my Pinterest board ‘Lustre RGB Effects‘. Enjoy!