How do these 2.1 million multicolor LED form a Floating Face?

Walk into the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas and you’ll be greeted by a giant golden face perched high above the casino floor, gently floating and bobbing over the throngs of people dreaming of riches. It’s eerie enough that you might think you’ve found heaven, or that someone spiked your drink.

The incredible display is in fact not an actual golden god, nor is it a projection-mapped, moving physical creation. Instead, the exhibit is a very clever optical illusion, using 2.1 million multicolor LEDs placed in a box structure to create a three-dimensional appearance when viewed from just the right angle.

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Created by display engineering firm Daktronics, the LED-laden structure measures 32 feet long by 18 feet wide, and extends 4 feet deep. Its pixels are spaced at 6mm, enough density to give a convincing video effect.

As impressive as it is, it’s not the biggest or most-dense display they’ve built for the SLS hotel — that one is the 88-foot-tall SLS sign that stands outside the casino, beckoning all to come try their luck inside its halls. Like the 3D-emulating street-art chalk drawings, the structure takes on a very different effect when seen from the sides: