RGB LED lighting strips are everywhere. Many of these strips come with a handy infrared (IR) remote control that will allow you to select different colors, change brightness, and fade from one color to the next. They're very easy to install and use, but can be rather a disappointment for the discerning LED connoisseur.
The pre-programed animations and available colors on these cheap RGB strips are very basic. You can get ordinary solid colors or annoying blink modes, but buttery smooth subtle color shifts, gradients, and beautiful mesmerizing animations are far beyond the reach of these "dumb" RGB strips. For subtlety and beauty, you need NeoPixels - "smart" individually addressable LED lights that can be controlled with code.
This guide will show you how to get beautiful, subtle NeoPixel animations up and running and controllable with a simple IR remote in minutes, with no coding required.
The free, open-source WLED app allows you to create your own NeoPixel animations, choosing from hundreds of effects and color palettes. Automatically map your custom animations to the buttons on your IR remote, so you can choose solid colors or run your beautiful custom animations from the same controller.
WLED software will work with a wide variety of different remotes. For this tutorial I'm using this 44-key remote from Amazon.