View Full Version : Inverting a digital image to make a negative?

26-Nov-2014, 06:18
I have been reading some on the digital negative thing and have a real newbie type question.
Why could you not take a digital image that you had processed in PS, Invert it and the print it on a clear film and use it as a negative in your enlarger???

26-Nov-2014, 06:21
That's exactly what you do, but you add a correction curve to suit the printing process that' be used. You can use a scan of a negative or print or an image taken with a digital camera.


26-Nov-2014, 06:26
That works - sort of. But you'll run into complications as soon as you start to optimize the image quality. Chemical printing processes turn out to be very non-linear (so you find yourself applying all sorts of complicated curves), different inks have different light-blocking properties (so you'll be testing several combinations of color inks just to get a negative that prints nicely in B&W) and it may turn out to be difficult to match the full contrast of your printing media using a digital negative, which generally is a little less dense than a silver negative (and you may find yourself investing in a dedicated printer with piezography inks that block more light). In addition, there may be issues with negative flatness since inkjet transparency film tends to be a bit more flimsy than actual film (particularly sheet film). Every aspect can be overcome, as the many people working with alternative processes and digital negatives for contact printing illustrate. But if it's worth it for enlargers, with the additional issue of inkjet printing resolution prohibiting anything more than 2 or 3 times enlargement, I don't know. YMMV.

bob carnie
26-Nov-2014, 07:38
Ink jet negs will not work in an enlarger with any predictable success... Also on silver gelatin the inkjet negative does not have enough blocking power to make exhibition quality prints.
We make inkjet negs all the time for alt prints , lith prints , solarizations , most times on matt surface papers... And always Contact Prints.

If you want a negative that goes into an enlarger you need to get a LVT negative or positive made and there people here that do this.

I have made enlarged Contact film on Rollie ortho using my lambda and these negatives have extremely high blocking power and one can make contact prints that are indentical to enlarger prints of the same negative on any
silver paper.
I am ramping up to offer this as a service... but once again this negative will not be appropriate for and enlargger.

Andrew O'Neill
26-Nov-2014, 10:27
Make a large inkjet negative and contact print it.

David A. Goldfarb
26-Nov-2014, 12:11
I've contact printed inkjet negs usually because I want to make some correction that's significantly easier to do digitally than traditionally (like cloning out a long scratch) or to make a traditional print from a digital original.

Inkjet doesn't have enough resolution for enlargement, I've found.

27-Nov-2014, 06:46
Way too much trouble for me. Thanks for helping me realize whatis involved.