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gobos - a guide

What is a gobo?

A gobo is best compared to a stencil or photographic slide. They are used in all manner of stage lights, automated lights and projectors. Gobos can be used to project logos, patterns or photographic images.

They can be made of metal, black and white glass or coloured glass and range in size from 22.5mm to 100mm in diameter. We have a range of adaptors to fit all types of lighting equipment and projectors.

What types of gobo are available?

  • Metal
  • Black and white glass
  • Coloured glass

Here are some photos of the different types of gobos and the projections they achieve:

Metal vs Glass

Metal gobos are the cheaper option, this is because they are made of a cheaper material and can more easily be mass produced. The drawbacks of metal gobos are:

a) Tagging
b) Only black and white images
c) Limit on detail
d) Longevity

We manufacture all our metal gobos using super-high quality brass alloy. This material has superior thermal characteristics, making our metal gobos much less prone to heat distortion and burning out than standard steel gobos.

Glass Gobos

We only use the highest quality materials. All of our glass is supplied by Beacon AB of Sweden, whose thermally robust borosilicate glass substrate coupled with high density sputtered coatings make for the best gobo material. Beacon Black Line gobos incorporate a unique dark mirror coating on the reverse side of the gobo, this drastically cuts down on internal reflections within the lamp and produces a sharper projection with much less glow or ‘halation’ around the projected image.

Black and white gobos

These allow for very fine detail images to be realised, even on small gobo sizes. Using the most advanced imagesetting technology available, we can produce extremely small text and images which are pin sharp. We can also produce high resolution greyscale images with fine shades and blends and photographic quality images.


Colour Glass Gobos

We use the patented Beacon Full Colour Gobo™ process. This uses ultra thin zero expansion dichroic layers producing a very thin finished gobo which will actually fit in modern automated fixtures. It also keeps all the layers of the image effectively in the same focal plane, this is particularly important in the many fixtures now available with high quality projection optics. This process uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK (CMYK) colour mixing. This allows us to produce a very wide range of colours as well as full high definition photographic style images. We produce three main types of colour gobos:

1) Single colour, clear and black.

These allow you to have for example text and a coloured logo on the same gobo or to have a coloured background with clear and black text or graphic elements. Colour in this instance refers to flat colour and does not include gradients.



2) Two colour, clear and black

These allow you to have for example text and a coloured logo on the same gobo or to have a coloured background with clear and black text or graphic elements.  Colour in this instance refers to flat colour and does not include gradients.



3) Full colour

Your imagination is the limit, we can reproduce multiple colours, shades and gradients and extremely fine detail. Complex graphics, realistic colour photographic images are all possible using this method.



Front or Rear Projection

Front Projection is when you are projecting the image from the same side as it is being viewed.

Rear Projection is when you are projecting the image from behind the projection surface and the image is therefore viewed from the other side.


Keystoning or keystone correction is required when it is not possible to position the light directly in front of the projection surface. Projecting obliquely will result in a distorted image. Projected Image can alter the artwork so that the projected image is not distorted. Contact Projected Image if you think you may require this service.

Image Calculation

If you need your projected image to be a particular size Projected Image can calculate whether it is possible to achieve and alter the image area on the gobo as required.

Artwork Requirements

We accept a variety of different formats. We use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop CS3 to prepare artwork for gobo production.

  • Vector artwork should be saved as an Adobe Illustrator compatible file, ideally as an eps file. This is our ideal format and is perfect for logos and text.
  • Bitmapped artwork should be saved as an Adobe Photoshop compatible file. You can send jpeg’s, but the resolution and compression of the file may reduce the image quality. If this is the case we will redraw or ask you to supply a higher resolution file.
  • To achieve the best possible projection we ask that your artwork be saved at minimum resolution of 600dpi with an image size of at least 127 x 127mm.
  • If you need to reduce the file size of your artwork please use a file compression utility instead of a graphic compression i.e. highly compressed jpeg files.
  • Files in excess of 10MB will have to be uploaded to this website via order custom designs or posted on CD to: Projected Image UK Ltd, Unit 17 Hoults Estate, Walker Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 2HL.
  • We also accept hard copies of artwork but please note additional redraw charges may be incurred with complex and low quality artwork.
  • Hard copies can be faxed to +44 (0)191 265 8742 or posted to the above address.