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Pixelated_Pope
04-11-2003, 01:18 PM
I'm sure there have been a hundred threads on this (just like there are a hundred threads on Wacom tablets), but I still have the question so I'm going to ask.

First off, a general question about light boxes. I've never actually seen one of these in real life that I know of. I was wondering about the general dimensions and other obvious crap like that. I also have no idea how it really really works. Is it just a flat piece of white plexiglass that you lay one drawing down, lay a piece of paper (or even bristol board from what I understand... curious how that works) directly ontop of that drawing and trace? (to clarify my stupid question, there isn't a piece of glass that seperates the drawing from the new paper?).

Anyway, I was looking to build one (because I like building things with my own style and what not if they CAN be built rather than bought). If anyone has built one before, or knows a good tutorial for building one, or if you just know where I can get a good look at one (online, obviously) so I have a basic idea of what this thing physically looks like, it would be greatly appreciated.

theGOBLIN
04-11-2003, 03:55 PM
well I know the seel them at Kubertsworld.com and they show little pictures. I made myself a make shift on. You need a light source such as a flourscent light or light receptical and a frame to have the light in and a translucent cover so the light will come up through. I would say size varies on how big you work but it up to you. I say atleast 8.5 x 11 is smallest but the can get as big as you want. I thinking next one I put together will have a top thats angled just like a drawing table.

theGOBLIN

Shortboy
04-11-2003, 04:01 PM
I use one I built with a demension of about 2x2 with two adjustable arms that tilt it. inside, I wired two 60W bulbs. It has a plexiglass top. The wattage I have underneath it will easily let me see through bristol board.

I use it like this: I tape the sketch directly to the plexiglass top, then I tape the bristol board over it. Simple as that.:p

Saturn Lad
04-11-2003, 04:03 PM
Scott McDaniel's web site (http://www.scottmcdaniel.net/) gives a list of equipment for a comic book artist. The last item is a schematic for a home-made light box. The direct URL to the page (I hate frames) is:

http://www.scottmcdaniel.net/drawing/gear/gear.html

Pixelated_Pope
04-11-2003, 05:04 PM
Wow. Thanks guys. That gives me some really good ideas.

One question, what is the advantage of using a florecent light over regular bulbs? What about heat issues and venting issues?

Pixelated_Pope
04-11-2003, 11:23 PM
Just got back from the Home Depot! I'm gonna make it out of Oak and stuff. I'll post pictures of it when I'm done.

I'm really excited!

Fredzo
04-12-2003, 11:18 AM
Hey Pope,
You absolutely wont regret making your own light-table; its cheaper, and you can make it to your exact preferances.

Flourescent lights burn cooler, and the light can be more true to natural colors (like daylight), They light more evenly than regular bulbs (because flourescents are longer). but the downside is they take time to blink on (at least some do).

'Regular' bulbs (tungsten, halogen) burn hotter, but have the advantage of being cheap, easily changed out (like putting in higher/lower wattage bulbs), and also accept a dimmer switch (id die without my dimmer switch -if the light is too bright, i get headaches).

As for the drawing surface, its personal preferance. i like glass for several reasons, but most people seem to like plastic. If you can find the 'milky' plastic thats great, it will spread the light very evenly. 'Frosted' glass almost always means they just sandblast one side of the glass. If your stuck with just clear plastic, or glass; you can tape tracing paper on the back to get similar results (of course beware of fire hazard), or using an airbrush, lightly paint Zinc white (also known as chinese white) on the backside of the glass (Zinc white is more transluscent that titanium white). Also paint the inside of your box white, so more light is reflected to the glass (youll be able to use a lower wattage bulb to get the same brightness; therefore less heat).

Both kinds of lights obviously have their advantages... PLEASE post with your results! im very exited to see what you come up with.

-Fredzo

Pixelated_Pope
04-12-2003, 11:27 AM
There isn't anyway to use a lightbox to enlarge drawings, is there?

Fredzo
04-12-2003, 11:59 AM
I think for that, you need an opaque, or a transparency projector (or a pinhole projector, which wont work unless you have a billion watts).

If youre working with paper only, on less than 18x24 inches the best way to Enlarge/Reduce images is a copy machine (like kinkos), or your computer scanner, and printer. (is that what you mean?)

-Fredzo

Pixelated_Pope
04-12-2003, 12:04 PM
Yeah, I guess that would work. I would probably scan it in at a rediculous resolution, print it out on bigger paper at Kinkos, and then (because I'm a perfectionist and I like to have that "original") I would lightbox the bigger copied version onto another bigger piece of paper with pencils and or inks.

*nod* Thanks.

astrocity20
04-14-2003, 08:51 PM
This sounds liek a good idea. Perhaps I could practice free hand animation more fluidly this way.

Tony Moore
04-15-2003, 03:36 AM
A lot of the time, when i draw a cover or a pinup or a splash or something, i'll do a basic (though sometimes fairly detailed) layout sketch on a piece of typing paper folded in half, which is the same proportions as a comic art board. Then, i scan it, up the size to 10x15 (or whatever is needed), print out the pieces, tape 'em together and light table 'em. This method has proven VERY helpful in making sure i keep my proportions tight and so forth, when laying out a piece like this.

it's fast, and a lot cheaper than going to kinkos for something you're just gonna retrace anyway.

anyway, don't thank me. i stole that trick from Cory Walker.

-T

Inkthinker
04-15-2003, 03:42 AM
I've done that as well... it makes full-page compostion much easier when it's small. you can really concentrate on making sure that elements work together on the page.

Light boxes have about a hundred and one uses for the artist. They're usually worth the investment.

Robin Riggs
04-15-2003, 03:16 PM
Originally posted by Tony Moore
A lot of the time, when i draw a cover or a pinup or a splash or something, i'll do a basic (though sometimes fairly detailed) layout sketch on a piece of typing paper folded in half, which is the same proportions as a comic art board. Then, i scan it, up the size to 10x15 (or whatever is needed), print out the pieces, tape 'em together and light table 'em. This method has proven VERY helpful in making sure i keep my proportions tight and so forth, when laying out a piece like this.

it's fast, and a lot cheaper than going to kinkos for something you're just gonna retrace anyway.

anyway, don't thank me. i stole that trick from Cory Walker.

It can really help to work small so that everything fits easily within your field of vision. It's like taking several steps back to look at your work when doing a big painting. I've heard Alan Davis call it working "sight size". It's quite a common way to work. Probably the comic artist most noted for working like this is Neal Adams who first enlarged his thumbnails on an Artograph and later by photocopier.

Nerdface
04-20-2003, 08:01 AM
I've just finished building my own lightbox. It cost about 20 euros, which is a bit more in dollars.

I just used an old scanner I had (thanks to Spyda for that idea), and inserted a small light. It's an 8 Watt light because that's the strongest I could get for that size.

I used some of that shiny foil stuff to reflect the light, making it a bit brighter than it would have been without it.

Here's some pics:

First (http://nerdface.xepher.net/lightbox/1.jpg)
Second (http://nerdface.xepher.net/lightbox/2.jpg)
Third (http://nerdface.xepher.net/lightbox/3.jpg)
Fourth (http://nerdface.xepher.net/lightbox/4.jpg)
Fifth (http://nerdface.xepher.net/lightbox/5.jpg)


NB: To quote Scott McDaniel's lightbox 'tutorial': Everyone has an Uncle Bob, in my case, my dad... (That's the guy in the fifth pic)

Thnx Dad!

Pixelated_Pope
04-20-2003, 02:09 PM
Wow, that is a good idea.

I totally built mine from scratch.

I built it out of Pine, mainly. It's got a white plexiglass top, and two 15 watt flourecent (spl?) lights. We spray painted the inside white to reflect the light, and we wired the lights to a switch.

I've got to put one more coat of wood stain on it, then it will be all ready for pictures.

Oh yeah, and although I DO have an Uncle Bob, I actually used my Dad as well. We've been working on it for a long time, and it will be all done tomorrow. I'll post pictures soon.

Pixelated_Pope
04-21-2003, 07:29 PM
Well, I finally finished it today! I'm totally excited.

And here is it's world Premier!

http://meeksio.net/digitalvatican/Front%20Shot.JPG

Other Pics

Back Shot (http://meeksio.net/digitalvatican/Back%20Shot.JPG)

Open (http://meeksio.net/digitalvatican/Open.JPG)

In Action (http://meeksio.net/digitalvatican/Dark%20Shot.JPG)

Nerdface
04-22-2003, 10:06 AM
That looks great! Much better than mine! :D

Jel
04-22-2003, 01:02 PM
Cool!

I'm planning on building mine over the next holidays...

Nerdface, yours looks like a scanner! Ho did you design it, and how have you managed to make the plastic bend to thy wilt?

Nerdface
04-22-2003, 01:52 PM
Jel:

As I said, I used an old scanner :D

Fredzo
04-22-2003, 04:09 PM
Those are some Beautiful Lightboxes! Good job both of you! Damn, thats impressive...

You guys would have paid hundreds of dollars to buy those at the store, and those are superior (in my opinion) to the commercial variety.

Sheesh, once again thats amazing! (nice job on the picture-taking too!) It was also cool to see the Insides of the boxes.

-Fredzo

Propsdue
04-22-2003, 05:54 PM
Hey Pope can ya make me one of those?:)

Pixelated_Pope
04-23-2003, 12:36 AM
Haha. Me and my dad were joking about that as we made it. There are a whole bunch of imperfections in the thing since we really didn't know what we were doing as we were making it. We joked that if we got good at this, we could sell them...

But it was hard! Really hard. Especially since we didn't even have most the tools. When it all came down to it, we probably spent a little under 150 dollars, and that may be underestimating.

We bought Oak at first, but that was too hard to work with. Then we bought pine, and that was easier, but the blade we were using on our borrowed table saw was TOTALLY dull. So we went and bought a new blade. Then we had to buy the lights, the spray paint, the stain, the wood sealant, the brush, the blue painting tape stuff, new sandpaper for the sander, a new grippy vice thingy to hold the whole thing together while the glued dried, umm... there's probably more, but I made WAY too many trips to Home Depot.


So to answer your question, no. The only reason I'd want to make another one of these is if this one broke, and even then I'd cry for a week before I got around to starting another one.

But thanks for the compliments, my dad and I put a lot of work into it.

Ztiev
04-23-2003, 08:27 PM
Cool lightbox.

*Remembers something about Pope's mission farewell.*

*Checks the posting date.*

*Is confused.*

Fredzo
04-24-2003, 12:17 PM
Maybe he IS on a mission, building illegal lightboxes when the program director isnt watching?

At this very moment he could be saying: "HAHA!! im the only missionary capable of keeping my pencils and inking on TWO separate peices of paper!! HAHAHA!!"

-Fredzo

Pixelated_Pope
04-24-2003, 12:50 PM
*Glances around nervously*

hehe... yeah. That is sort of silly, ain't it?

Fredzo
04-24-2003, 04:52 PM
Im just being stupid; i didnt mean anything by all that nonsense.

You know the first lighttable i made was just a peice of thick plexiglass and a 15 watt bulb (incandescent, or however its spelled..) that went behind it (it even had a dimmer switch!). It was actually very portable since there was no Box to take up room, and it was lightweight (i just propped it up onto some boxes or whatever to get an angle). also it was EXTREMELY cheap!

Something like that would actually be portable enough to take on something like a mission, or if a person gets shifted around to different places alot, and is on a tight budget.

-Fredzo

Oh yeah, i forgot to mention that very little, or no work is involved in building the 'plexiglass with a light behind it system', but its not as comforatable, or professional as something like what you guys built.