Thursday, July 9, 2015

Articles and Tips for Artists - Creating a Light Booth

This light box is made from pvc pipe and can be taken apart for storage or travel. It is cheap (around $75-85 including the lights), strong, and easy to build. I'll be working with 3/4" pipe because it is strong and will support the weight of my sculptures.

This light box can be any size you want. The most important thing is that you have:
  1. 4 pipes of the same length for height
  2. 4 pipes of the same length for width
  3. 4 pipes of the same length for depth
  4. 4 elbows
  5. 12 t-junctions
  6. 8 small 1.5" pipes for connecting larger pieces
  7. Optional - 4 pipes of the same length to raise the height of the light box (if you are using a tripod to take pictures, this will raise the light box to any height that you require to take the pictures straight on so your pictures will not be skewed).

Image 1
The sizes I'll be working with are:
  1. (8) 30" pipes for height and width
  2. (4) 24" pipes for depth
  3. (8) 1.5" connecting pipes
  4. (4) 12" pipes to raise the height of the light box
  5. (4) elbows
  6. (12) t-junctions
Step 1 - Cut all of the pieces you will need to size.



Image 2
Step 2 - Once you have the pieces cut to size, take (1) pipe cut for height and (2) t-junctions, and put a t-junction on each side of the pipe. Take (2) 1.5" connecting pipes and put a t-juction on one, and an elbow on the other. Now attach these connecting pipes to the ends of the first (height) pipe. Do this step 4 times and you should have something that looks like image 2.



Image 3
Step 3 - Get 2 of the sections you've just made. Take (2) pipes cut for depth, and (2) pipes cut to raise the height of the light box (optional). Connect your 2 sections with the depth pipes, one at the top (using the elbows) and one on a t-junction (you'll want to use the upper-most t-junction). Optional - connect your last 2 pipes at the bottom of the t-junctions. You should end up with something that looks like image 3.

Step 4 - Repeat step 3 so that you have 2 sections that look like image 3. Connect the two sections together by placing the (4) width-sized pipes into the t-junctions on each section. You should end up with a box of pvc pipes on stilts (see image 4 below).



Image 4
Step 5 - Next is the fabric. You need a white, translucent fabric that will diffuse light. The back fabric will be attached in a manner so that it is easily removed when the light box is disassembled. The two side pieces of fabric will remain attached when the light box is disassembled. The fabric on the side should be cut so that it is approximately 4-5" larger than the width of the side opening and 6 or more inches larger than the height of the opening.



Image 5
I'm going to attach the fabric using masking tape. It's easily removed and not at all permanent, just in case you need to change the fabric or completely disassemble the light box. Tape the fabric to the top side. Be sure to stretch the fabic and keep it smooth.



Image 6
Once the fabric is taped to the pipe, wrap the fabric around the pipe once to secure it. Tape the sides of the fabric to the pipe (make sure to stretch/smooth the fabric). Don't tape the bottom of the fabric. For the back piece of fabric, tape it to the top, but let it hang loose from the sides and the bottom. This piece should be long enough to pull forward and over the base that you'll be making in step 6.



Image 7
Step 6 - Next you'll need a base so that your artworks will have a place to sit (image 4). I used (2) 2"x10" boards cut to 34" (the pipes are 32.5" apart). With this configuration, you can put bases on two different planes (image 7), creating the opportunity for different layers for your artworks (image 8).



Image 8
Image 8 shows the entire setup, with lights and artworks on 2 different levels. The two light fixtures on the sides are 500w Halogen worklamps, which you can pickup at any hardware store for $10-$15 each (you can also find them on amazon.com). These lights shine through the fabric for a diffused effect. I used a 65W Reveal Full-Spectrum Floodlight to spotlight the sculptures from the front. You can see my camera height/placement from the location of the tripod.


Image 9
Silver Grace | Blaze
Image 9 shows the finished picture. Using a digital camera, I set the White Balance to Flourescent+1 (image 8 was taken with auto white balance). I also Photoshop (or Gimp) my images to adjust the exposure, remove noise, crop the image, and optimize the image for my website. On images that have only one artwork, I normally use the dodge tool to lighten the background to a solid white. I'm leaving some of the shadows in this picture, because the sculpture placement wouldn't make any sense with two different planes without the shadows.

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