Light Painting with Hammer and DJI

May 24 · 3 min read

Hammer is an app for DJI drone pilots that automates a number of different commercial drone flights for quick and precise data collection.


In this tutorial, we will focus on light painting missions.

This type of mission is useful for creating artwork in the night sky using the drone’s LED lights and a long-exposure camera on the ground.

In this mission, Hammer flips the drawn flight plan from the horizontal to the vertical plane so that it can be photographed from a distance removing the need for the pilot to be directly under the drone.

Steps to Create

  1. Tap on the add(+) button in the top right corner.
  2. Choose ‘light painting’ from the missions view
  3. Tap to draw points on the map, into the desired painting/art-work.
  4. Once you are happy with the drawn points, click OK on the right panel.

Hammer will then generate blue markers which represent the drawing flipped into the vertical plane. From a top-down view, the drawing now appears to be a line. But a closer look reveals that each point has a different altitude.

Light Painting a Star using Hammer

Steps to Configure

  1. Tap on the white gear icon right beside the first point on the mission, to configure the mission, which will open a settings menu.
  2. If not already chosen, choose ‘light painting’ for the mission type.
Configuring a safe altitude

Brief description of the available settings:

Altitude: This setting is used to input the altitude to be used as the axis around which the drawing is flipped into the vertical plane.

Offset: This setting is used to input the offset from the altitude to be used for re-drawing the painting in the vertical plane. Think of the vertical plane having a range of (Altitude - Offset) to (Altitude + Offset)

Note: All new points are by default calculated with an offset of -/+ 10m in altitude from this altitude.Use the offset setting to change this offset.

Vertical Plane Rotation: This setting is useful for rotating the generated vertical plane. By default the vertical plane is generated west to east with the points facing north. To rotate this plane to any other direction for easier photography from the ground, simply rotate the painting using this setting.

Steps to Simulate

  1. Once you are finished creating and configuring the mission, simply press play button in the right panel.
  2. If no drone is connected, Hammer will prompt you to add a simulator, press OK and choose a home location for the simulation. Then press OK.
  3. The simulation will begin and you’ll see a simulated drone appear on the screen flying the light painting mission.

The altitude changes correspond to the appropriate drawing in the vertical plane.

Simulated light painting mission

Steps to Fly

  1. Once you are happy with the created mission, simply connect your drone to Hammer through the USB port on the remote controller.
  2. You’ll see a drone icon appear on the screen at its current location.
  3. Press Play to start the mission.
  4. Press Pause anytime to pause the mission, and play to resume the mission.

And obviously, make sure to have your long exposure camera on the ground ready!


Now you know how to create, simulate and fly your own light painting mission in Hammer. If you currently do not have access to the iOS app, feel free to get the app through the app store.

If you’d like to learn more about other missions supported in Hammer, please visit

Mission Guides


Written by


Drone Missions, from A to Z.

Mission Guides

Tutorials for flying different types of missions using Hammer.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade