How to turn your computer's LCD screen transparent (DIY mod)

Picture of How to turn your computer's LCD screen transparent (DIY mod)
If you have a standard LCD type monitor, I will show you a cool little DIY hack to turn that baby transparent!

A few tools are required, if you are a hard-core IT geek you probably have them, if you are a regular joe like me you just need to track down a hard-core IT geek.

Recommended equipment:

1) Non-parsing decrunculation chamber ($28)
2) Anti-aliasing RAM extractor ($38)
3) LCD RAM zapper with DVI to coax connector on the female end ($4288 with connector, $3942 w/o)
4) Annoy-a-tron from ($10)
5) Roll of duct tape and a cotton swab ($3, $.005)

If you have a hard time finding this stuff on the internet, as an alternative you can also use:

1) a digital camera
2) a simple image editing program
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Step 1: Prepare the scene/set dressing

Picture of Prepare the scene/set dressing
Basically all you do is change the desktop picture on your computer screen to match what is behind it. It sounds simple, and in theory it is, but in practice it is actually a little bit tricky. But fear not, brave grasshopper, I have taken time away from my family to create this butt-kickin' instructable to share some pointers with you, with absolutely no hope of getting anything back in return! (Well, a pimped out laser cutter would be nice :-))

The first step is to place some objects around your display screen so they are partly obscured by it. This will help to sell the illusion.

The next thing you have to do is choose where in your room you want the monitor to appear transparent from. In other words, which one vantage point in space do you want the illusion to hold up? Do you want it to be right in front of the computer, so anyone using it gets to enjoy your hard work? Do you want it to be at eye-level if someone peeks over the cubicle partition to see what you are working on? Do you want it to be from the eye level of your 6 year-old so if he stands in the doorway he "gets it?"

For this instructable, I chose a nice "standard working distance" away from my computer so I could enjoy the view myself.

When you know which vantage point you are going to target, "dress the set" with the items you have gathered to sell your illusion.
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frosty14337 years ago
someday I will invent a monitor that goes clear when the screen should be black (like a window), and is solid when on. that would own all of the wires you moved in the back.
some lcd can do that i know that there is a car like that when the sunroof is of it is dark but as soon as you click on it goes clear
actualy almost all can do it but you wont have a backlight which makes using it difficult. lcd is a liquid crystal display that changes color based on the currrent going through it so yea its posible the liquid crystals are inside a plastic like case i dont know if the back of it is clear and i dont recomend doing it
Once my lcd screen of my n95 was broken, so i disassembled it, and i found in the back side a white plastic, then between the glass and the plastic there is many sheets topped with aluminuim (i think because it looked like that!), and a tiny paper was directly stuck to the glass from it's black side( of the paper) !!!
mikkelbg5 years ago
If its just for the photo then it would probably be easier to use a green-screen :)
RetroTechno6 years ago
That's creative -- but very silly. :-)
title1pro6 years ago
nice walpaper
punkatsub6 years ago
you could put the brightness down to look even more realisitic
ill do this on my laptop oh no i need to redo it at scooh ah somone waled behind it its all ruined like the ible though
i like ur old backround its a nice apple bottom lolz lolz
PetervG7 years ago
:D I tried it. Hard to get the sizing right.
Screen 010.jpgScreen 011.jpg
i have that poster behind my computer 2! :D yay 4 good games
thesparine (author)  PetervG7 years ago
Is that a lightsaber on your desk?
lol nice spotting and may the force be with you
LOL, its a tripod.
PetervG PetervG7 years ago
thesparine (author)  PetervG7 years ago
That is one kick-ass tripod! I think I am going to get it. I like to take pictures at night and unless I have a tripod with me they always come out blurry... : - ( Can you please share the name/manufacturer of that tripod? Or where I could get one? Thanks PetervG!
Don't get it, rather, get a nice one like this:

I have a nice one too.

The smaller one in that picture is pretty bad, hard to change the angle without ruining the.. hard to explain.

It's from The Source, Nexxtech.
thesparine (author)  PetervG7 years ago
Looks great! The only thing I would suggest, is to recrop your picture so you shave off a little from the top or the bottom. See in the left picture how the bottom of the map on the wall is lower than the bottom of the map on your monitor? This is a clue telling you you need to stretch that image vertically, and by cropping a bit off the top or bottom it will line up better. But even without this, it still looks good. Plus, who's to say that when light travels through a transparent monitor that it doesn't get refracted a bit, anyways?
yeah, i tried this once, and found it quite difficult to get the sizing right.... like the comment below me.... but i noticed that the guy who posted the comment below mine has VLC media player, which is a very handy tool instead of doing this, if you really want to go one step further, plug a camera, or video camcorder, into your tv tuner card (granted you have one), turn on the camera into capture mode, and open up the capture device via VLC media player You should now see your camera's view inside the VLC window.... now all you have to do is right click on the video and click "set as wallpaper" or something along those lines.... now position the camera behind the monitor, and you should have a real time transparent screen based on video. the picture version is still quite good seeing you cant leave your camera on all the time *i figured batteries can go flat :(
MAF JR7 years ago
you needed to move the soda can over to the left just a lil bit more but good work
instead of "faking" it, you could actually remove the backlight, and replace it with a matrix of LEDs for an actually almost completely clear screen
Xellers7 years ago
is it possible to mount a webcam at a strategic point and then send the data to your monitor so the background would be in real time?
zachninme7 years ago
I thought you were going to remove the backing to it to see through it :P Thats plausible, but you'd have monitor guts behind it, and would only work with LCD's. You can make a projector by doing this and shining a strong light behind it (along with some lens work)
people do that for the LCD projectors, but i just took apart a monochrome laptop screen module, cut a hole in the back of the lid and set it on top of an overhead projector.

I also do that for backlighting small alphanumeric displays such as:
Yeah, my dad did that, we were watching movies on the side of my house! You can just take the whole plastic casing off to make a projector though.
krazy7 years ago
this looks pretty cool... but the natural light that comes in my computer room wouldnt allow me to do this... the brightness would never be the same. i doubt he got any emails because in his video he moved the camera too much and you can actually tell its a pic on desktop... the plaque get WAY outta wack
thesparine (author)  krazy7 years ago
There is no lighting situation that this won't work in. Need proof? Check out these hundreds of photos with every conceivable lighting situation:
well of course it will work for that one time... but i wouldnt be able to leave it and it still look the same.
thesparine (author)  krazy7 years ago
boy, you want it all, don't you?
no all i am saying is it would work great in a room with controlled lighting. Just like the room you have. Now if i took my computer back to my bedroom i am sure it would work great. but in my living room where i sit with my laptop all the time it wouldnt work because the lighting is always changing and it would change the shadows. i wasnt trying to put your work down i was just saying that it doesnt always work. i mean congrats on doing this. and making the instructable. anyways keep up the good job.
thesparine (author)  krazy7 years ago
My previous comment was toungue-in-cheek with a smile... : -) hope you didn't think I was on the defensive... You are right, in shifting lighting situations your only option would be to get several pictures so you can change the desktop image according to what time of day it is, or just make one for the time of day when you want to show it off to a visitor.... Take care and thanks for the positive feedback.
Toulouse krazy7 years ago
haha, yes it probably will not work if you move your computer alot. I might try this though
When did you first done one (the transparent LCD)? Mine is from October:
It's not as good as yours but it's an earlier model... i think :)
PKM7 years ago
I'm with zachninme, I thought this was going to be a "take the back off your LCD monitor and light it from behind to get a transparent screen" hack.. but this is fun and a lot less effort :) I'd still like to see an actual transparent monitor, though...
PetervG7 years ago
1: It's not transparent, but okay... 2: The ending of your video, a card trick?
yea I saw that too neat idea though
Repost? i remember seeing this some where, Dejavo i gess
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