Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Lightboxes
Eunice P at 9:39PM, Oct. 14, 2006
(online)
posts: 792
joined: 2-8-2006
Can anyone suggest which brand of lightboxes are good, affordable and not bulky? Where can I grab one online?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
anystar at 12:32PM, Oct. 15, 2006
(offline)
posts: 154
joined: 4-11-2006
I use a LightTracer :D I bought mine from JoAnn's, so I imagine you can find it or something similar online at the JoAnn's or Michael's website. Mine is about 9x12, I think. It's not TOO big.And it wasn't too expensive either, I think it was $50? Something like that.
http://www.drunkduck.com/The_Door_in_the_Rock/ >> Fantasy Graphic Novel in Black and White :3
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
Eunice P at 3:25AM, Oct. 16, 2006
(online)
posts: 792
joined: 2-8-2006
$50? Kind of expensive for a lightbox. :o

Thanks. I'll go check out JoAnn's website.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
Aeon at 10:29AM, Oct. 16, 2006
(online)
posts: 266
joined: 9-5-2006
Find a friend who's a relatively good carpenter. ;) I had an uncle build me a lightbox.

It's pretty straightforward: You just need a frame high enough to put lights in, and a sheet of translucent plexi-glass ontop. Voila! Ghetto rigged light box.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:46AM
skoolmunkee at 1:16AM, Oct. 17, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Yup, I'm spoiled forever on lightboxes because since I was young we had one that a friend of the family made for us. He did a really good job on it with frosted glass and a light switch on the outside and varnish and all. :)

The store ones just aren't big or sturdy enough for my tastes any more. :(

I'll be needing a lightbox again soon and I think I'm going to just make my own ghetto one with some pine, plexiglass, and little fluorescent shelf lights you can get at Ikea.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
Eunice P at 6:09AM, Oct. 18, 2006
(online)
posts: 792
joined: 2-8-2006
Hmm… Ikea eh? I might consider that option as well. Thanks!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
ozoneocean at 4:32AM, Oct. 19, 2006
(online)
posts: 24,963
joined: 1-2-2004
Eunice P
Hmm… Ikea eh? I might consider that option as well. Thanks!
That's definitely a good option. It wouldn't be very hard to make and you can tailor it to your needs.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
skoolmunkee at 11:51AM, Oct. 19, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Actually I am trying to get together a lightbox this weekend or next.

The hard part seems to be finding the glass. I can have an art place near me cut me a pane, but it's just picture frame glass and although I haven't looked at it yet, I suspect it will be too thin and a bit too fragile to be resing my arm on etc.

I'd much prefer frosted/tempered glass but I can't seem to find anyplace that has some. :/ I'm hoping I don't have to special order it or something.

I also found a place that will cut-to-size and deliver (or ship?) Perspex, which would also do (and be more durable) but I expect it will be more than I want to pay. :/

We were at Ikea last night looking for things we could buy that were just glass, or to take the glass out. Some things would have worked but the glass was too small (I want a big lightbox) or too wimpy (large pictures in frames). I did get the fluorescent lights though. :)
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
anystar at 12:40PM, Oct. 19, 2006
(offline)
posts: 154
joined: 4-11-2006
Mine is a sort of…frosted or white-ish colored plexiglass XD It's works pretty well. I made one a long time ago with plexiglass top as well. cardboard box + plexiglass +lightbulb kit from home depot. Home Depot has everything @_@

You could always use a very large shadow box and just put a lightbulb in it :3 I'm not sure how the glass would work out but eh XD Just an idea. And they make some pretty durn big shadowboxes.
http://www.drunkduck.com/The_Door_in_the_Rock/ >> Fantasy Graphic Novel in Black and White :3
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
ozoneocean at 1:24PM, Oct. 19, 2006
(online)
posts: 24,963
joined: 1-2-2004
Perspex and acrylic is great, but way too expensive and easy to scratch/damage compared to glass, (although it won't break). You can usually pick it up at a good hardware shop. That's where you can get glass too!
You don't really need extra tough glass either. You're right to avoid crappy picture-frame glass, but ordinary window glass should work fine- if you have the tools to cut it down to size or have a place that'll do it for you. It won't break unless you smash it with a hammer or something, drop it, or whatever, and basically submit it to treatment that a poor old lightbox shouldn't have to suffer anyway.
You can probably get that at a hardware shop, or a glazier.
I have heaps of good glass that I've picked up from street rubbish collections. You could even visit a salvage yard and pick up an old window.
Another more tricky option is looking in the skips on building sites to see if they have any off-cuts the right size.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
skoolmunkee at 8:45PM, Oct. 19, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I've called the DIY places around here and none of them stock glass (pr perspex/plexiglass). I guess things are slightly different in the UK like that. :)

Talking to a window guy or a glazier is a good idea. Also, my bf's dad is a builder and I was planning to ask him where I might get some good glass.

Scratching, marking, and denting of plexi/perspex are the reasons I'd want the glass instead… and frosted instead of clear to diffuse the light a bit. (I can buy rolls of stick-on fake frosting if I need to though.)

Haha, I want my lightbox to be 2.5 feet by 1.5 feet… I prefer more of a work area than a tiny box I have to hunch over.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
Radec at 1:01PM, Oct. 22, 2006
(online)
posts: 1,414
joined: 6-18-2006
I don't meanto sound stupid again, but… what is a lightbox used for?
<= dead and buried.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:58PM
ozoneocean at 6:53PM, Oct. 22, 2006
(online)
posts: 24,963
joined: 1-2-2004
skoolmunkee
Haha, I want my lightbox to be 2.5 feet by 1.5 feet… I prefer more of a work area than a tiny box I have to hunch over.
That's pretty BIG! A good working size.
Radec
I don't meanto sound stupid again, but… what is a lightbox used for?
They're for tracing. :)
You put a drawing on it, then a pice of paper on top of that. The light shines through so you can see the drawing below, and that makes it easier to trace. You can also use one of the windows in your house.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
Radec at 10:04AM, Oct. 23, 2006
(online)
posts: 1,414
joined: 6-18-2006
you mean, as in tracing for use in animations?
<= dead and buried.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:58PM
ozoneocean at 10:30AM, Oct. 23, 2006
(online)
posts: 24,963
joined: 1-2-2004
Radec
you mean, as in tracing for use in animations?
If you want. They're also great for just doing a nice refined version of a rough skectch -without going through a digital stage.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
Ferretshark at 11:30AM, Oct. 23, 2006
(offline)
posts: 141
joined: 10-13-2006
As an animator and an illutrator, a lightbox- or light table as it is commonly called in our field- we use it to trace off, or clean up, a rough drawing into a nice, crisp drawing for eventual scanning and post-editing later.

However, it is fast becoming the norm for us to do away with our light tables in preference of either scanning our roughs directly into our computer, or (as is the case with me most times now), drawing directly in our software program(s) using an electronic, wireless pen and tablet (Wacom being the common name brand being used for us). We like to draw right in Flash where we can trace off our scanned roughs or sketch the drawings right in there and clean it up on a separate layer. No paper being used at all. These can either then be coloured in Flash or in Photoshop or other post-compositing software application, depending upon your comfort level with any program of choice.

Now, I have a light table as well as a portable one that I have made, one that is piano-hinged and has a handle for easy transport. I buy those $15-dollar fluorescent tubes of light that snap onto anchors behind the glass, the kind that have the built-in rolling switch located along the wiring. My two lights have lasted me almost 10 full years now without replacing. You DO NOT want to use regular light bulbs as your light source due to the excessive heat it gives off, which can also warp your glass.



Ferretshark
Animator/published illustrator
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:28PM
skoolmunkee at 7:28AM, Nov. 13, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This just in, I should get my lightbox finished tonight! I got the glass today so I just need to put some screws in, do a bit of sanding, some quick varnish, and pop the lights in. :)

Haha, it's been almost a month since I said I was going to make one… I don't have tools though, so I had to wait at various points until I could get hold of them (or in one case, get someone to make the diagonal cut for the slanting sides for me).

It's going to be a beautiful thing. ^________^ I will take pictures!
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
ozoneocean at 8:25AM, Nov. 13, 2006
(online)
posts: 24,963
joined: 1-2-2004
YAY! I was wondering what was going on with that. It'll be great to finally see the finnished product!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
skoolmunkee at 12:56PM, Nov. 13, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006




It doesn't look like anything special in the pictures. Maybe ‘cos our dining room is so crummy. But trust me it is very special! Our unused (for dining anyway) table is in that last pic so you can sort of tell how lovely big it is.

The white bits under the glass in the last picture are strips of that grippy foamy stuff. I figured that would be a better way for the glass to sit on the frame than straight on the wood, plus it wouldn’t slip around (although it's quite heavy glass and wouldn't move much anyway). They sort of ruin the look a bit, but I don't want my stuff breaking. :)
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
Knuckles at 1:06PM, Nov. 13, 2006
(offline)
posts: 436
joined: 2-15-2006
wow very nice! :) Do you have directions on how to make one of those from scratch?

Myth Xaran (manga) - http://www.drunkduck.com/Myth_Xaran
Exodus Studios (Games & More) - http://www.exodus-studio.com
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:19PM
skoolmunkee at 2:23PM, Nov. 13, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Knuckles
wow very nice! :) Do you have directions on how to make one of those from scratch?

haha, no, I just sort of planned it out in my head and did it. :) I can write some up and draw some pictures if anyone is interested though!
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
deletedbyrequest03 at 2:30PM, Nov. 13, 2006
(offline)
posts: 815
joined: 8-13-2006
Wow, that's extremely nifty!! Great idea, making one! That'll save money~

This year, school's full of BS!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
skoolmunkee at 2:46PM, Nov. 13, 2006
(online)
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Actually it was kind of expensive… T_T Though, much much cheaper than buying an equivalent one, so I suppose maybe I did save money. :)
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
deletedbyrequest03 at 4:52PM, Nov. 13, 2006
(offline)
posts: 815
joined: 8-13-2006
Yay for saving money!

This year, school's full of BS!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
ozoneocean at 12:08AM, Nov. 14, 2006
(online)
posts: 24,963
joined: 1-2-2004
Fantastic Skool!
Now that's artistry. :)
Not only creating, but making the tools you create with!
That thing is pretty big, the double flouro lights are going to make it brilliantly bright too.
Great job there, I'd hazzard that it'd be hard to buy a lightbox quite that good looking (all that nice wood), that sturdy, and that powerful.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
Knuckles at 8:06AM, Nov. 14, 2006
(offline)
posts: 436
joined: 2-15-2006
I'm certainly not good with my hands :P

Myth Xaran (manga) - http://www.drunkduck.com/Myth_Xaran
Exodus Studios (Games & More) - http://www.exodus-studio.com
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:19PM
magicalmisfits at 12:13PM, Jan. 23, 2007
(online)
posts: 44
joined: 1-20-2006
That is cool! Though She-who-must-be-obeyed will never let me have that much space. I need something I can stash away when not in use! When I grow up I'm going to have a studio with inspireing views and a mess that I made all by myself. (sigh)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
Tim Wellman at 7:32AM, Jan. 24, 2007
(online)
posts: 164
joined: 1-14-2007
that is very nice, skoolmunkee…

What I did, since I don't use a lightbox much, but do occasionally HAVE to use one, I just went to Goodwill and bought a 5 dollar 8.5x14 scanner, ripped the insides out and put a flourescent light inside. Instant lightbox, weighs a pound, and works as it should (I got the light at goodwill too, for like a dollar, but even if you have to buy one new, it should be under 10 dollars for a double 10-12 inch light).

If you're not handy with tools, the Porta-Trace lightboxes are cheap and solidly made
http://www.save-on-crafts.com/ligboxbypor.html
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
CharleyHorse at 3:23PM, Jan. 25, 2007
(offline)
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
I've arrived late to this discussion. I built a light box about twenty five years ago, and although I've seldom used it as often as I should it's definitely made life easier. A word of advice for the people building their own box, however. Consider linning the interior of the box with aluminum foil to help bounce the light upwards. Between aluminum foil backing and the frosted glass facing - or frosted plastic facing - you get maximum illumination.

I've only experienced three drawbacks with my homemade light box:

1.] First, I didn't really know anything about light fixtures and so I installed a fluorescent tube with ballast but no proper pre-heating unit. That's probably the wrong name for the thing, but it is what is going on when you start up a fluorescent light and it takes a few seconds for it to decide to come alive. Mine still lights up, but I actually have to rub the tube with my hand in order to ‘stroke up the electrons’. I'm serious here. It's probably a non-issue nowadays, but I thought I'd warn the do-it-yourselfers about this minor problem.

2.] I've got a household full of large cats and they love to recline on top of a lighted table. One hefty fellow decided to drop down on the box from a fair height. A replacement glass isn't a big pain for me as I live within walking distance of a distributor. CRACK! But still . . .

3.] I've got a household full of cats and they REALLY like the box . . . meaning that I have to keep removing them or shut them out of the art room whenever I am using the box.

These caveats aside, do-it-yourself light table construction is simple, saves you money, and allows you to pick and choose as far as size and illumination value goes.

Oh yeah, I read somewhere recently that, indeed, the gutting of an old scanner does work just fine. The only problem there is that you are limited to the original size of the old scanner itself.

Hmmmmm . . . Someone mentioned a size issue problem, in that the spouse is limiting art supplies/equipment usage. I don't know if this is a viable solution, but it occurs to me that a light box could be mounted on one of those sliding computer keyboard carriages or - if a chest of drawers is handy, put inside one of those until needed. Okay . . . I really got nothing here.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
magicalmisfits at 4:42AM, Feb. 1, 2007
(online)
posts: 44
joined: 1-20-2006
Thank You for this topic! After reading it I decided to do a little investigating. Now I don't really get to draw near my computer so tablets as neat as they are don't do me any good. Any drawing equipment I use must be portable. A light Table would be so nice saving me time with clean up etc when I do finally get to scan. Anyway I found a small portable Light Box. Its called the “Light Tracer” by Artograph. It has a 10x12 lighted surface. The whole rig is about 12x12. I purchased mine on-line from Amazon.com. Its a neat light easy to carry light table that I can carry with me. I love it! Cost? about $30. So if your like me who gets chased away from the computer or draws in remote places(with an AC outlet) this might be your answer.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved