There’s something eye-catching about LED matrix graphics that you don’t get with a normal LCD display. Maybe it’s the brightness or the ultra-saturated colors. Perhaps that’s why they’re increasingly popular in advertising signage.
This guide uses an Adafruit MatrixPortal M4 and RGB LED matrix to create an animated GIF player that’s drag-and-drop easy, like a pixelated version of a digital photo frame. Use it to make a holiday window display or to advertise your favorite shawarma cart.
This is a different approach than used in our Sprite Sheet Animation and Tombstone guides. There, the animation is controlled by CircuitPython code…letting you control speed or interactivity or anything else you can dream up. But when you’d like something simpler, animated GIFs are easy and ubiquitous…you can likely find some ready-made with a few internet searches. Toss a bunch on the Matrix Portal flash drive and it plays them back in a loop.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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