Light tables are a vital component needed in many fields, and perhaps yours as well. Their purpose is to make it easier for the artist or person in general to view an image or series of images on top of a bright light. Whether you are an engineer, a professor, animator, or simply an enthusiast, utilizing a light table can help expedite your project at hand. There are different types of light tables that cater to the different needs of different professions. Accordingly, choosing the correct one is vital to expedite the project at hand.
*In a classroom setting: Many high schools and universities employ the use of light tables to teach the arts. Animation is one of the biggest programs that utilize light tables in a classroom setting. They are wonderful resources to use when first creating simple animations, allowing the students to build their drawings in a fluent manner from one frame to the next. If you are looking utilize these in your classroom, it is best to acquire rudimentary ones such as those that are mass produced and commercially available. They provide enough of a diameter where the student can use standard sizes of paper for their work, and can be tilted to their needs.
*Photography aid: Photographers use of light tables is a bit of a misnomer. Although some are traditional tables that have an illuminating light below a heavy glass sheet standing on four legs, the most common ones are more like studio lighting, with white lights and umbrellas. The traditional ones are used to help photography students learn shadows in a classroom setting.
*Drafting: Drafting is the art of making blueprints or graphical illustration of buildings, devices, etc. Although computer programs are widely used today for drafting, it is still vital for the drafter to be able to manually make the blueprints. For this reason, a really good light table is needed. Those that are commercially available are not cheap, and it is recommended to either invest in a good one for yourself or your company. What is nice about the commercially available ones are that the tops can be rotated, and height adjusted. However, it is possible to build your own. Professional drafters have had great success building a table to suit their needs, placing short fluorescent bulbs close together and painting the interior with reflective paint. The glass that is needed for the D.I.Y is entirely up to you, but people have had success with a clear glass top.
*In the medical field: Light tables are essential in a medical setting for viewing images such as X-rays and MRI. A lot of the bigger hospitals have suppliers that provide their light tables, but for smaller clinics it is best to purchase light tables with LED lighting. The LED lighting allows for the X-ray or MRI to greatly contrast from the negative that is produced when taking the X-ray image, making it sharp and clear. Depending on the setting, it may not be best to have a traditional, four-legged table, but an upright light table. Dentists opt for these in their clinics, as well as most hospitals.
There should be considerable thought when choosing a light table. Whether you are drawing up plans for a building, viewing X-rays at a hospital, or animating things on paper, choosing an appropriate light table is absolutely necessary.