Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the lightbox. Some artists starting out may not fully realize the benefits of using a lightbox. It’s a really simple tool and it makes tracing over/reworking your art a lot easier. How simple is it? There’s a number of blogs online about how to make one yourself on a budget.
Using tupperware boxes and a lightbulb
Homemade animation table including registration pegboard out of tupperware, light, and ruler
Slightly more industrial version
Glass picture frame, bulb, cardboard box
Converting an old suitcase into a portable lightbox
Recycling an old scanner into a lightbox
Simple diagrams and instructions are easy to find online, even video tutorials.
You can buy lightboxes in stores but expect to pay more unless you’re getting one used or from a wholesaler.
Animation desks are slightly more involved in design as the require a way to register the drawings in place with each other and usually facilitate turning the drawing. Here’s an online gallery full of reference for people looking to buy or build their own. Other animators have posted build logs online of their desks being put together.
This Disney Studios animation desk went for $8,200 on ebay. I like to think I’m responsible with my money but if I’d had the 8 grand damn right I would have bought it. Actually I should mention I bought my animation desk from AnimationDesks.com in Canada where Colin Johnson assembles them at a very competitive price. He builds the desks with adjustable heights, includes an animation disc with pegbar and backlight, and ships it all for what you’d probably spend on materials and labor.