3D Lab Manual

From Help Wiki

3D Animation Lab Manual


The 3D lab is set up for stop motion animation with a DSLR camera and the Dragonframe software.


  • Canon Rebel 5Ti
  • iMac with Dragonframe
  • Multiple lenses
  • Variety of Tungsten lights
  • 4 LED lights with DMX control
  • Lighting grid
  • Variety of light stands and accessories.
  • Black Curtain

Basic Policies

Log Book

  • Every time you enter the lab, please sign in and record the following information:
    • Your name
    • Materials used (puppets, clay, paper, etc....)
    • Equipment used (table, computer, lights, grip cart, camera, etc...)
    • Record any technical problems (so we can fix it)
    • Status of the lab: clean, messy, anything missing or broken?
  • This is the main form of communication between you and the staff who maintains and audits the space weekly. Failure to sign in to the Log Book will result in a loss of access privileges.
  • If there is an immediate issue, please contact call the Multimedia Lab at x5455 or email animationsupport@evergreen.edu


  • Schedule time at Media Loan
  • You must always have time reserved when using the labs. Only use your scheduled time.
  • It is your responsibility to confirm your reservation time, day and that you are in the correct room by asking for a receipt.
  • If you need a substantial amount of time, contact animation staff for scheduling.
  • You may lose your scheduled time if you are more than 15 minutes late, and whenever possible, please cancel any time that you will not use.
  • Repeated lateness and no-shows will result in a loss of privileges.


  • Checkout a key from Media Loan prior to your reservation and return it promptly afterwards.
  • Do not use keys to gain access outside of your scheduled time.
  • You are financially responsible for the room and its contents.
  • Do not share your keys to others that are not in the schedule to use the space.
  • Lost or stolen keys must be reported immediately to both Media Loan and Animation staff.


  • Need Help?
    • Please do not attempt to unplug or re-wire anything, especially if you think you know what you are doing.
    • Check the Troubleshooting Guide and see if you can find your answers there.
    • Flip through the Log Book to see if anyone else has experienced the same problem and if a solution was found.
  • If that fails, contact one of the following offices:
    • Multimedia Lab, L1404, 360-867-5455
    • Aaron Kruse, L1520, 360-867-6842
    • email animationsupport@evergreen.edu

First Aid Kit

  • There is a first aid kit located on the counter by the sink.

Ladder Safety

There is a ladder in the lab for use when working with the lighting grid.

  • Only use the ladder when there is another person in the room.
  • Do not step on the top two steps.
  • Always inspect the ladder before use.
  • Make sure the the spreader bars are locked.
  • Make sure feet are not excessively worn or damaged.
  • Move the ladder into a safe position for where you are trying to reach.
  • Do not lean away from the ladder.
  • Never move the ladder when anyone is on the ladder.
  • Make sure that the ladder is stable on the floor.
  • Only one person on a ladder at a time.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up and down.
  • If the ladder falls over do not use the ladder until it can be inspected by staff.
    • Notify staff if ladder is damaged.
  • Do not stand on the table, chairs etc.
    • If you need a second ladder contact staff.

Messy Materials

  • If you are using clay or any kind of messy materials, you are required to discuss your project with animation staff and get approval BEFORE using the lab.
  • Always cover the Keyboard and keypad with Saran Wrap, which are located on the cleaning supplies bin. Leftover clay should be recycled in the Design Lab.

Cleaning Supplies

  • There are paper towels, spray, a broom, and a dust pan located to the left of the door, of which you are expected to use at the end of each and every session.
  • If the lab is left messy, you will lose your access privileges.

Set Construction

  • The construction of sets is NOT allowed within the 3D Lab space.
  • The design lab can be used for set construction.
  • Sets and other materials are NOT to be stored in the lab areas.

In The Lab

Default Set Up

  • The bash light LED grid should be on the ceiling grid and facing the table.
  • The 4 LED spot lights should be on c-stands at the 4 corners of the table
  • All 5 lights should have power and DMX cables connected.
  • All tools and other supplies should be put away.
  • The 50mm lens should be on the camera and the other two lenses should be in lens bags in the cabinet.


  • Basic tools are provided in the 3D lab space and must always be returned to their designated storage area.
  • Additional tools such as dremels, drills, and tool kits are available for checkout from animation staff.
  • Each tool is to be treated with caution and care, but should never be removed from the 3D room.

Lighting Grid

  • There is a lighting grid on the ceiling for hanging lights and other accessories
  • Anything attached to the grid need to be secured with the proper attachment and a safety cable.
  • Always use a ladder and follow the ladder safety procedures.


  • The 3D Lab DMX Manual has more detail on the DMX set up.
  • There is one LED grid light set up as a "bash". It will turn on in-between shots to be used as a work light and turn off during the high-res shot.
  • There are 4 LED spot lights that can be controlled from Dragonframe with DMX.
  • There is one 4 channel DMX dimmer to control incandescent lights with Dragonframe.
  • There are Tiny and mini Molefay lights and Arri lights in one of the shelfs.
  • The Scene Master light board can be used to dim incandescent lights. Do not use LED lights with it.
  • To prevent from hurting yourself, others, or the equipment when using the lights, please remember to:
    • inspect the equipment before use; confirming that there are no broken pieces, frayed cables, loose parts, burn marks, or missing ground pins.
    • Confirm that the power switch is turned off before plugging it into an outlet or power source.
    • To prevent the bulb from exploding: do not touch bulbs with your bare hands, shake/move the lights while they are hot, or continuously flick the power switch’s on/off button.
    • If a bulb explodes, replace it with the extras provided in the room, clean up any broken glass, and then alert the animation staff.
    • Incandescent lights lights get REALLY HOT: use gaffer gloves around them, keep them away from materials that are flammable or melt-able, and wait for the equipment to cool down before putting it away.

Grip Cart

  • The grip cart is where most of the lights and stands are stored.
  • Follow the pictures made for putting away c-stands and make sure to tighten (but not over-tighten) any locks so that they do not expand accidentally and crunch your fingers.
  • Be gentle with the fabric flags, and do not rip, stain, or keep them too close to any hot lights.
  • Make sure to let the lights cool down before putting them in their cubbies, and take notes on the logbook for any missing pieces, broken items, etc.

Animation Table

  • The animation table is not to be painted or modified in any significant way.
  • If you drill into the table, you must remove all of your tie-down screws. Be careful, as the table top is not secured to the legs.


  • The camera is mounted to a tripod with a bolt screw that should never be overtightened or removed from the tripod. Double check if the camera is not loose when mounted on the tripod.
  • Do not use excessive force when tightening screws.
  • Do not arrange the tripod so that it is easily tipped over.
  • Make sure that everything is locked down when the tripod is not in use.
  • Weigh down the base with sandbags for extra stability in order to maintain registration while shooting.


  • All the menu and camera settings are formatted for use with Dragonframe; do not attempt to adjust any settings
  • You must turn the camera dial to ON when you need to use it, and set the dial to OFF when you are done.
  • Do not shut off power to the camera without properly turning the camera off first.
  • Make sure to not pinch, stretch, or squish the camera cables with the tripod or any other equipment.
  • It is recommended that you disconnect the cables while setting up the camera.


  • The lab has 3 lenses. A 35mm, 50mm and 105mm lens
  • Each lens has a UV filter.
  • Polarizing filters are stored in a bin in the cabinet
  • The lenses should be on the camera or in a lens bag in the cabinet.
    • DO NOT leave lenses sitting on the table or tool boxes where they can get knocked over.
    • Always check for all 3 lenses when starting your lab time.
  • You can check out additional lenses from Media Loan.
  • NEVER EVER touch the lens with anything or attempt to clean it with any cloths – get a Lab Aide to clean it for you.


  • When using Dragonframe, always save and work on the computer Desktop.
  • Save all your files in a folder labeled with your name on the Storage drive.
  • When you are done with your session, backup your files to a server or personal hard drive.
  • Do not work directly off of the server - only copy to or from it and then disconnect from the server while working.

General Use Expectations

  • There are absolutely no food or drinks of any kind allowed in the labs. Leave them stored outside the door.
  • Take care of yourself and remember to take a break once in a while.
  • Please recycle your paper scraps in the corresponding bins. Garbage cans are located down the hall.
  • Clean up after yourself. Cleaning supplies are provided next to the door. If you run out of time for cleaning up you are expected to come back later to clean.
  • Do not delete other peoples' files or mess with any settings, postings, in the lab or on the computer.
  • Do not unplug or remove anything from the space without asking - cables or registration pegs alike.
  • Be courteous and respectful to the lab aides, your fellow animators, and abide by the campus code of conduct. We are here to help you and make sure that everything is in working order, along with everyone having an equal access to these facilities.

  • When you are done
    • Clean up and restore the room back to normal
    • Log out of the logbook and record any notes. Please make sure to note any malfunctions, broken equipments, and/or if the space is in disarray.
    • Turn off the camera power, shut down the computer, lights, and equipment
    • Return keys promptly to Media Loan before the deadline.

About Dragonframe

  • Dragonframe is an animation capture application used and developed by professional animators.
  • It imports the high-resolution still images directly from the installed DSLR camera and stores them as sequence of images instead of as a single file.
  • These instructions cover the basic shooting procedures specific to the labs here on campus, but to learn more, please refer to the Dragonframe Manual in the Help section of the application.

Basic Steps for Shooting Animation

Miscellaneous Dragonframe Articles

Other Articles