How To Make Animations with Light Table Easily And Faster

by Spotiance

When practicing traditional animation, a light table has many uses – but you’d be surprised how many people don’t quite know how to use one properly. The two primary uses are for creating in-between, and for creating clean line art both for frames and for illustrations. A light table’s primary function is to illuminate pages from beneath, rendering them semi-transparent and making it easier to use the pages under the top layer for reference – making it ideal for these two purposes.

Using a Light Table to Create Key frames

Your first key frame is generally rather easy, and you probably won’t even need a light table to draw it. All other key frames in a scene, though, still have to reference the first key frame to make sure key points in proportion, positioning, motion, and character or object detail match up.

The easiest way to do this is to layer the clean sheet of paper for your second key frame atop your first key frame on the light table, and use the first key frame as a reference to draw your second. It’s not quite the same as in-between, as you’re not really interpolating anything. You’re just making sure everything matches up. For instances, if your character is only moving from the waist up, you want to make sure that you draw the feet lined up in both key frames.

Using a Light Table to Create In-Between

This is probably one of the most critical uses of a light table, as without it you’d have quite a bit of difficulty with creating breakdowns and in-between. In-between is the process of interpolating the frames in between key-frames by using those key frames as references to draw the moving character or object’s pose, position, etc.

at the point midway between the two key-frames (or midway between a key-frame or another in-between). To do this, layer the two key-frames on the light table, then add a fresh sheet of paper atop them for your in-between. You should be able to see the lines from the two key-frames through the paper, and can use those as a reference for sketching the in-between.

It helps to find key reference points and estimate the distance halfway between them on the two frames, then sketch lines connecting those halfway points. For example, a character’s shoulder and elbow could act as two key points. Find the halfway point between the shoulders in the key-frames and the halfway point between the elbows in the key-frames, and connect the two to create the outer line of the arm, making sure to follow any curves or details of muscle or clothing.

Using a Light Table to Create Clean Line Art

Once you’ve sketched a rough animation, next comes cleanup. This usually involves retracing the sketchy art on a clean sheet of paper, which just means putting the clean paper on top of the sketchy art and tracing it with clean lines, using the light table to make it easier to see. You also need to make sure that your clean art lines up in the same way your sketched art does, though, so as you work you’ll want to regularly layer the clean frames on the light table and tweak them as needed in case they don’t quite line up.

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A Few Tips To Better Use The Light Table

1- An Inspiring Drawing Experience

Thanks to decades of experience, we know that when it comes to animating, smooth drawing is very important. We have therefore optimized this down to the last detail. CLIP STUDIO PAINT is used in 2D animation studios worldwide as an essential part of the animation process.

2- Every Detail With Precision

With our powerful pen technology, you can draw any line completely intuitively and with absolute precision. CLIP STUDIO PAINT recognizes even the smallest change in your pen pressure and supports all 8192 pen pressure levels of Wacom tablets.

3- Intelligent Functions For Smooth Animation

Flip flap was yesterday! Use the light table and onion skin functions to display neighboring frames and create even smoother animations.

4- 3D Moving Figures Pose With AI

Position 3D drawing figures on your canvas to use as a template for your pictures. With adjustable body shapes and camera angles, they are a perfect drawing template for complex poses. Also try our brand new AI function to imitate poses from photos!

Digital Equivalents When working in 2D computer animation programs such as Flash, the processes for key framing, in-between, and retracing are a little different. For key framing, breakdowns, and in-between, you can turn on onion-skinning to duplicate the effects of a light table. For retracing line art, you generally use layers – though many prefer to complete their line art on paper or in another program, and then import into Flash or their program of choice.

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