Monday, July 30, 2012

Lightbox Setup

Well, I am back, and for the end of the month I will talk about my setup for photography *gasps*

So what's the point in having a light tent/box?

      I explain the idea as being able to isolate the subject, in this case the model kit, to make the best possible closed environment for taking pictures.  They are often used for taking shots of products.  Of course I'm not trying to market any of my model kits but I do want to get some good pictures of my finished works.

tldr; for better pictures

The best part is that you can DIY light box with just a few components.  Here's my shoddy one created with a few spare pieces of cardboard sheets and cotton shirts.  There are plenty of guides online on how to make one yourself.  I mean, mine's pretty much a cut-up, taped-together, cardboard box.

Materials used:

  • cardboard box/cardboard sheets + tape
  • 2x unwanted white (and thin) cotton shirts (caution: fire hazard)
  • large sheet of construction paper for background
  • something to cut the cardboard with (box cutter, scissors)
  • light sources (including higher temperature bulbs or LEDs)
  • OPTIONAL: Glass/Hi-gloss acrylic base for that cool bottom reflection

The materials were basically found around the house unwanted so I helped myself.  The light sources, however, will cost you.  It's best to simulate actual daylight, using bulbs that are 4,000 or higher in lumens/brightness to simulate 'pure white' daylight.  Look at a lightbulb lately?  That's pretty yellow/orange if you ask me.

A pack of 4 bulbs (15watts) cost me about $8 at my local Home Depot.  Here I use 2x 5,300 lumens bulbs and a single 3,500 lumens because my results seemed too 'white'.  (Conversely, you can play around with your camera to offset yellow/white.  I might get back to that later if anyone is interested in fiddling with camera settings)  You can find similar at your local hardware store.  I use lamps I already have for this instead of buying them specifically for this purpose.  BE CAREFUL because these brighter bulbs run hot so check your lamp's max wattage allowance and don't place the bulbs too close to your tent or you might start an indoor barbeque . . . lawl

I'm currently debating if I should use a glass base . . . here is an idea:

with glass base

without glass base

ok, well ignoring the the balance of yellow lighting, which looks better?  That I can't decide for myself yet.  While we're at it, you can also see the difference choices of lighting can make here.  In the first picture I'm using higher temperatures; in the second I added a single bulb @ 4300 lumens

Future Upgrades?  I would love to use a hi-gloss acrylic sheet instead of plain glass for display base when taking pictures.   They are pretty pricey to order, unless someone knows of a bargain vendor?

UPDATE: 2017 -- I've done it!  Upgraded to 1/2" PVC piping frame and found a cheap (albeit small) clear acrylic sheet.  In the future I may purchase a few 'clear acrylic bricks' to help prop up the base a bit.   

I hope this was helpful to all you fellow gunpla-meisters, now back to my kits.

Here are some other users' setups I've been inspired by!

Gunpla Inochi

Layman's Guide