A RARE GLIMPSE INTO THE ARTISTRY OF CUTTING RUBYLITH FILMS
The TARGET ALPHA Backglass Project  - by -  RAY LOCKHART, CPR Art Team

 

WHAT ARE RUBYLITH FILMS?

They simply look like big red sheets of plastic, but they were the backbone of pinball artwork preparation for decades!

A rubylith film has two layers: the red "ruby" layer on top, and a transparent backing layer. The artist cuts the ruby layer (with a blade) to peel away where ink is NOT to print. This leaves behind red artwork that represents where ink will be printed.

The "ruby" layer blocks UV light.  When making silkscreens, UV light is blocked by the ruby patterns when the screen is baked under UV light. UV hardens the screen where the film is clear, and opens the screen where the ruby blocks the UV.

You need a separate ruby film and screen for every color you are silkscreening.


Through CPR Artist David Fix (Doc Pinball), we were introduced to Ray Lockhart.  Ray took an interest in what CPR was doing,
and saw a challenge in producing an art package for a pinball reproduction project.  The chosen project in the end was
Gottlieb's TARGET ALPHA backglass.  The cool thing was - this wasn't going to be another one of us sitting at the
computer for months, vector-tracing a high resolution scan and preparing digital color separations.  Ray was going
to be doing this totally via traditional hand-cut rubylith films!  A career artist himself, Ray had worked with cutting ruby
in decades past, so this style of color separations was not foreign to him at all.  Nearly a lost art today, cutting rubylith
to create intricate artwork like for a pinball backglass would boggle the minds of most of us!  But remember, this is how art was
prepared for DECADES in pinball manufacturing - and we all see the results in every one of those machines we admire.

Here are a few photos of Ray in action.  Keep in mind, there is a rubylith film required for every layer/color in the backglass -
including the white backing and the grey-metallic lightblock layer on the backside.  The complete Target Alpha film pile ends
up becoming over a dozen sheets deep!  Wow. Here is a rare look at what cutting films looks like...



click to enlarge






OH...and did I forget to mention...Ray draws the BLACKLINE BY HAND !   See that pen?


click to enlarge


See examples of Ray Lockhart's paintings & sketches at his iFreelance site by clicking here.
You CAN commission him to do paintings - of your house, your car, your family, etc!



END OF PHOTO GALLERY


Our Gottlieb reproduction projects are respectfully licensed under formal agreement with Gottlieb Development LLC.