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ECassandra's avatar

What criteria are most important when shopping for a light box?

Asked by ECassandra (146 points ) October 28th, 2009

I am a media arts student in need of a light box for my supply kit. The supply list reads, “Light Box (for 2D animation)” and offers no other specifications, but I’ve found that light boxes vary greatly in terms of cost, dimensions, number of bulbs, wattage of bulbs, degree that work surface tilts, etc. Thin-panel light boxes seem more convenient to transport and store, but they are also much less expensive than standard light boxes, which makes me question their functionality.

Any current art students (or practicing artists, art teachers, art supply enthusiasts, etc.) with knowledge on the subject?

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3 Answers

virtualist's avatar

Important criteria would be : size; spatial uniformity of light intensity; spatial neutrality of light emission frequencies; sturdiness – to – weight ratio is high.

Achieving all of those criteria at a high level would be the expensive end . It’s your job to sort out , for the ‘level’ of work you are currently doing (student versus a professional) , what the most acceptable combination of parameters are and at the least expensive end; and then shopping for that one brand and model on the web for the best price.

joshmormann's avatar

In my opinion, when choosing any “tools of the trade” shopping from the web is only wise when you already know what exactly what works for you. I think it’s always best to test drive one’s tools, in advance, but be prepared to learn more of what you want, and what works best for you, over time. Be prepared to sell off or trade a lot of your tools along the way to your perfect set up.

For now, on your light box, I would be going for light intensity, size (length x width), and price point, in that order.

Ultra portability (x depth) would be nice, but not if it’s going to be at the expense of brightness, (or cost you too much money). Some light boxes are meant to be used for viewing slides with a loupe, not for looking through layers of paper (which I have to assume is what you are hoping to do). So I’d visit a really well stocked supply shop, and test drive as many as you can.

Porta-Trace is a reasonable standby, for most of their boxes.

I know I’m linking to B&H, but please visit a supplier, in person, with your paper and pencils and test drive! (oh, and call ahead and make sure they’ll let you)

YARNLADY's avatar

Discuss this with your instructor, and look for used from former students.

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