5 LED Scintillation effect

For those that aren’t familiar:

Scintillation is the proper name for the twinkle you get nowadays with stars (And those days as well)

I am in need of some ideas on how to make 5 SMALL LEDs twinkle as realistically as possible. The number of LEDs is negotiable (see #1 below) I don’t necessarily need Arduino code on this, a technique in any language is fine.

My main issues:

  1. Scintillation is NOT just the brightening and dimming of a single point. It also involves an apparent shift in x/y and a bit of size shift.
    a. Perhaps if I were to use two or three 0402 SMD cold whites and place them essentially touching? I could then cycle through them a bit, brightness wise and get some good results…
    Related to that, if I were able to use this on a LARGER scale, I’d go with a three chip LED and that would be easy peasy.
  2. Stars shift in color a bit as well. Perhaps look for a few different color temps and mix as in 1a? Perhaps just tint a bit?
  3. Randomization: Threading would sure help here… Unfortunately, I not only can’t do that, but might need to do this with an attiny45. Not only no threading, but no storing pre-designed large patterns that might APPEAR random.

Anyone care to think about this one with me? If there was a clear QUESTION, it would be “have you seen truly believable star effects from an LED before and where?”


Thanks for the reply. I think i've got it all working. The randomizer is set to read off a capacitive sensor on the device itself. The user will be touching it in order to turn it on in the first place.

In the end, I simulated 3x 0402 white leds and they look just like I want them to. Going to be the very model of a bastard to solder them almost touching without bridging, but I'm going to experiment with solder paste and v shaped pads. After all that's done, I'll put a dab of hot glue across the group and see how it looks.

Thanks again!