PDA

View Full Version : Digital negatives for contact printing "are you experienced"



David Brunell
7-Apr-2012, 21:42
I have been doing a little research into the digital negative realm and would like to hear some thoughts and opinions from experienced users. Specifically from those who have created a digital negative and obtained a favorable outcome contact printing with platinum/palladium. For what it is worth the source of my originals would be 6x6 and 4x5 wet scanned on a V700 flatbed. A digital negative sounds great in theory due to the adjustments that can be made before it is enlarged; everything from dodging and burning to contrast control. Now I have never done a wet print in my life and will not have the space available for a dedicated darkroom; Pt/Pd sounds like it may be a beautiful solution to my otherwise boring inkjets.

What do you say?

Zaitz
8-Apr-2012, 02:04
Can't come close to calling my self experienced but I pretty much do what you are thinking of. I scan 4x5 and 8x10 on an Epson 4990 and print with an Epson 2200 and stock inks on Pictorico OHP. I've also used dslr files and they've worked equally well for small prints like 8x10. I definitely enjoy everything that Photoshop offers in regards to control and its non-destructive nature. The hardest part for me has been fine tuning the digital negative file. Sometimes the curve I use will get me in the ballpark but other times it doesn't really come close. So I have put most of my time into modifying each negative file. It would take many iterations for a perfect negative but I have stopped when I am decently satisfied since it has all been just a bit of practice on small prints. But I have had a few that I am happy with.

I also don't have a darkroom. Definitely don't need one, imo. Even though the room I do this in is fairly dark it certainly is no darkroom with a window and thick curtains. I've had sensitized scrap pieces laying out in my trash for a week and tried developing them to no effect. I do all my work under regular incandescent lamps and it has had no effect either. I use black lightbulbs but if you might take this seriously an HID grow light or equivalent seems the best route. Not too expensive really either.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7025/6601357183_a08b4a01f0_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zboumeester/6601357183/in/set-72157626457305442)

I have switched to toned Kallitypes just because I went through the Palladium quickly with all the negatives I did and re-did. Technically though Palladium is easier I think since there are less steps and less chemicals involved. Not that Kallitypes are hard. I think the processes are fun and they give quite a different look to prints than inkjet or lightjet prints.

jonreid
8-Apr-2012, 02:18
I've done quite a few, but not for 4 years or so since I got my 5x7 camera.

I followed Dan Burkeholder's book. Let me be clear. I did not print my own negs. I had them output by a digital bureau at 3600dpi through an imagesetter.

I used Dan's curves and thought they were quite good. Normal pt/pd contrast controls can still be used.

Biggest I went was 12in long print off 35mm scan. Most were scanned from Type 655 negs and printed around 8x8in.

David Brunell
8-Apr-2012, 08:31
Excellent to hear (and see) gentleman...I assume the most difficult and time-consuming step of the process is creating a negative that prints well with the medium. I recently switched to pyrocat-hd in order to maximize the negatives potential for scanning. I am going to order Dan Burkeholder's book, thank you for the resource.

Good lookin' pup to Zaitz!

Roger Thoms
8-Apr-2012, 08:55
Another method to check out is Mark Nelsons PDN system. A friend of mine is getting very nice results using Marks system. I have also seen Marks platinum and polymer plate prints and they are excellent.

Roger

bob carnie
8-Apr-2012, 08:58
I think Ron Reeder and the QTR is the way to go, I have seen Ron works first hand and my staff think he is the bomb.

Really a good teacher, nice guy and straight to the point... makes it look easy peasy

UlbabraB
8-Apr-2012, 09:18
Another point for Ron Reeder and QTR from me, I started this year making digital negatives for Kallitypes following his method using QTR and I'm quite pleased (though I still prefer the results from my 8x10 in-camera "tailored" negatives)

D. Bryant
8-Apr-2012, 09:50
Excellent to hear (and see) gentleman...I assume the most difficult and time-consuming step of the process is creating a negative that prints well with the medium. I recently switched to pyrocat-hd in order to maximize the negatives potential for scanning. I am going to order Dan Burkeholder's book, thank you for the resource.

Good lookin' pup to Zaitz!

I wouldn't order Burkeholder's book now, it's way out of date. Try Mark Nelson's PDN system or bone up on using QTR. The advantages of using PDN is that it isn't printer specific (can be used with non Epson printers) while QTR only supports Epson printers.

Visit Clay Harmon's website for insightful information re: QTR and digital negatives.

http://www.clayharmon.com/techne/?p=596

http://www.clayharmon.com/techne/?page_id=2

David Brunell
8-Apr-2012, 10:42
All great resources...I will have some reading to do this week. I am currently printing with Jon Cone's K6 piezography inkset and Harrington's QTR; I doubt this can be adapted to the digital negative but I will contact him anyway. Thank you all, this is looking like a very reasonable and pleasing alternative process.

sanking
8-Apr-2012, 11:07
All great resources...I will have some reading to do this week. I am currently printing with Jon Cone's K6 piezography inkset, I doubt this can be adapted to the digital negative but I will contact him anyway. Thank you all, this is looking like a very reasonable and pleasing alternative process.

There are Piezography digital negative ink sets for several Epson printers.

http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/new-products/piezography-digital-negative-kit/

Depending on the printer and methodology Piezography ink sets are available for different density ranges appropriate for various printing processes. Some discussion of this has taken place at the Piezography forum on Yahoo. http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/piezography3000/

Sandy King

David Brunell
8-Apr-2012, 11:22
There are Piezography digital negative ink sets for several Epson printers.

http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/new-products/piezography-digital-negative-kit/

Depending on the printer and methodology Piezography ink sets are available for different density ranges appropriate for various printing processes. Some discussion of this has taken place at the Piezography forum on Yahoo. http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/piezography3000/

Sandy King

Perfect, thank you for pointing that out Sandy. I have not been to Jon's blog or website in some time; looks like I have some catching up to do.

From the blog:

" The beauty of Piezography Digital Film is that it already produces a linearized grayscale. That work has been done for you. Use it as is to make great prints. Then, simply respond to the print as you would in the darkroom and apply your dodging and burning in Photoshop."

Sounds like this may save me some time and frustration.

Jeff Graves
10-Apr-2012, 06:35
Hi David,

If your interested I'm teaching a workshop next month based on digital negatives & platinum/palladium printing using QTR and Photoshop. You can check out the details here http://www.cpvw.net/the-modern-platinum-palladium-print-from-start-to-finish/

Jeff Graves

David Brunell
10-Apr-2012, 06:57
Hi David,

If your interested I'm teaching a workshop next month based on digital negatives & platinum/palladium printing using QTR and Photoshop. You can check out the details here http://www.cpvw.net/the-modern-platinum-palladium-print-from-start-to-finish/

Jeff Graves

Thank you Jeff.

I would be very interested in that workshop if it were in Michigan; can't make the trip however.

J. Fada
10-Apr-2012, 14:28
I won't touch on the different methods of making negs. As long as the print is good how you made it doesn't really matter. I made some prints in the mid 90's with negs from a crappy Epson that were decent.

The purpose of my post is to encourage you to start with another process besides platinum since you don't have any experience with wet prints. I would suggest to do some Cyanotypes first to get your feet wet. They are really easy to do. Then maybe move to Kallitypes for a bit before doing Platinum prints. The other processes will help you refine your methods before you start bleeding money doing the Platinum prints. Besides, you will have fun doing them. Cyanotypes are a blast to do because they are so easy and super cheap.

David Brunell
10-Apr-2012, 14:50
I won't touch on the different methods of making negs. As long as the print is good how you made it doesn't really matter. I made some prints in the mid 90's with negs from a crappy Epson that were decent.

The purpose of my post is to encourage you to start with another process besides platinum since you don't have any experience with wet prints. I would suggest to do some Cyanotypes first to get your feet wet. They are really easy to do. Then maybe move to Kallitypes for a bit before doing Platinum prints. The other processes will help you refine your methods before you start bleeding money doing the Platinum prints. Besides, you will have fun doing them. Cyanotypes are a blast to do because they are so easy and super cheap.

That is excellent advice. I have spent a good portion of the last 48 hours researching various methods and completely agree. A better starting point for my taste would be the toned Van Dyke print (cart is loaded at Bostick & Sullivan) From there I will move to Kallitypes and if time and money permit, on to platinum/palladium.

I have also invested in a Calumet C-1 green monster. I am going to expose some fp4 in pyrocat-hd to use with the processes before I jump into digital negatives head first; seems like the most logical progression.

Thank you all for sharing your knowledge & resources as well as your advice.

sanking
12-Apr-2012, 19:59
That is excellent advice. I have spent a good portion of the last 48 hours researching various methods and completely agree. A better starting point for my taste would be the toned Van Dyke print (cart is loaded at Bostick & Sullivan) From there I will move to Kallitypes and if time and money permit, on to platinum/palladium.

I have also invested in a Calumet C-1 green monster. I am going to expose some fp4 in pyrocat-hd to use with the processes before I jump into digital negatives head first; seems like the most logical progression.

Thank you all for sharing your knowledge & resources as well as your advice.

David,

It is a good idea IMO to get some experience with continuous tone in-camera negatives before moving on to digital negatives. I would also strongly recommend that you acquire and work with a 21 or 31 continuous tone transmission step wedge to learn about how the process works. You can buy these in several sizes at http://www.stouffer.net/TransPage.htm

A small amount of testing with a step wedge can save you an enormous amount of time if you learn how to use it. I make extensive use of step wedges in testing new materials in printing with alternative processes, both in initial testing and as a control in fine adjustments.

Working with a new process and digital negatives is something of a rabbit hole since you have no idea what to expect from either.

Sandy

David Brunell
12-Apr-2012, 20:08
David,

It is a good idea IMO to get some experience with continuous tone in-camera negatives before moving on to digital negatives. I would also strongly recommend that you acquire and work with a 21 or 31 continuous tone transmission step wedge to learn about how the process works. You can buy these in several sizes at http://www.stouffer.net/TransPage.htm

A small amount of testing with a step wedge can save you an enormous amount of time if you learn how to use it. I make extensive use of step wedges in testing new materials in printing with alternative processes, both in initial testing and as a control in fine adjustments.

Working with a new process and digital negatives is something of a rabbit hole since you have no idea what to expect from either.

Sandy

Yes, thank you Sandy. I ordered the Van Dyke Brown kit as well as the gold toner and non-calibrated step wedge from Bostick & Sullivan yesterday. I am using your pyrocat-hd tomorrow morning on some 4x5 negatives. I exposed fp4 rated @ 100 and plan on extending the suggested development by 25% to start. I suspect it is a good place to start since I will not be able to control my contrast with the VDB process. I have spent alot of time reading your articles over the last few days. Again, thank you.

sara_criss
11-May-2012, 11:13
I was sailing along with the instructions on making a digital negative UNTIL it said to use “overhead projection film to print the negative on. Where does one get Overhead projection film?

mdm
11-May-2012, 11:48
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/544997-REG/Pictorico_PICT35009_TPU_100_Premium_OHP_Transparency.html

Andrew O'Neill
11-May-2012, 12:10
Hi David,

Over the past few years, I've incorporated digital negatives into my carbon transfer printing. I have been quite happy with them. It's great being able to build in your dodge/burns, etc into the negative. I've also been able to print my smaller negatives this way, too. I use QTR. There are several people who make platinum/palladium prints this way, too. As far as ink goes, I just use cheap ink from a local supplier... made in China. I can't justify paying $1000 for 8 cartridges of ink.

Jim Fitzgerald
11-May-2012, 18:27
Here is something I've wondered about for some time. I've heard the praises of digital negatives and I'm wondering what is the total cost to get set up with something like this. I mean a ball park from scratch. What is the learning curve and material costs to produce consistent negatives for alternative processes. I'm assuming one has to have a fairly recent computer, software, printer,ink, film etc. Thanks.

mdm
12-May-2012, 00:22
Quite a lot. The advantage is you dont have to buy, feed and carry the big camera. You have more control of the tonal relationships in a print. But they have limits. I have been trying to print some grainy 35mm negative scans since christmas and am still failing dismally. Carbon seems to accentuate the grain so I have given up and started printing them as inkjets with epson K3 black on hand sized paper made for carbon, they are so spectacularly better I wont be going back. You need a smooth file to start with, and its got to be good for a big print so that means paying for it. Exposures are twice as long for the same dmax as most camera negatives. Ink and pictorico is expensive and you waste some getting it dialed. Its frustrating sometimes. I made a new profile yesterday for my new tissue made with better gelatine, it is quick and easy when you have it sorted, but you need to be able to repeat the print process exactly next time with very little variation, and thats where I have trouble because I printed in slightly cooler weather today, exposure was quicker and contrast higher so the shadows were blocked up, so there is still skill left in using a digital negative. Every one of the 10 carbons I made for the print exchange, frome 4 identical digital negatives, was slightly different to the others. The joy of a camera negative is hard to beat, but more people have printers, software and computers already than have ULF cameras. Even building a ULF camera costs mega bucks, not to mention 3 of them. A simple computer and second hand printer is plenty adequate, and big printers are available relativly inexpensivly secondhand. They allow you to make big inkjets too, which should not be sneezed at. Fair to say digital negatives are as much of a black hole as ULF cameras. Expecting my new bellows on Monday and I will be dabbling in both, though I expect I will always love the 5x7 contact, however its made, the most. They are just something that needs to be mastered if you want to have control over ceratin things.

Jess C
12-May-2012, 07:18
FWIW, I have been expirimenting ( more like playing) with the VDB process and have been making digital negatives on Pictorico OHP. I was doing some VDB's back in the 80's from 4x5 negs and since I bought an Epson 3880 over a year ago I thought I would try my hand at making some digital negatives. I use ChartThrob to plot the adjustment curve for the VDB process. I have had some very good results so far. I use an iMac 27", Epson 3880, CS5, and Lightroom 3. The initial hardware and software expense wasn't cheap but I already had made the investment before I decided to delve into making digital negatives.

The great thing is you can make ULF negatives without the extra expense of mortgaging the house on ULF equipment and supplies. So if you have a decent computer and an inkjet printer and photoshop you should be good to go.

Jim Fitzgerald
12-May-2012, 07:38
Thanks for the replies. Since I have built my cameras over time and never found the digital work flow to my liking I'll stick with the traditional method. My ULF's did not cost me a fortune because I found some great deals on the expensive parts. I think my traditional in camera carbon prints for the negatives that I produce will ho;d up to anyone's prints. But then we all think this! The reason for my question is there may come a time when I can't carry the beasts and one has to consider the options at some point. Still, it is not a problem and it would take a considerable investment because my computer is old and photoshop and a good printer are something I do not own.

Andrew O'Neill
12-May-2012, 12:40
The learning curve is steep. Very steep. But I'm glad I made the investment. I use an old epson 4000 and cheap ink from China. Cheap, real cheap compared to what Epson charges... and it's been no problem. The film is from a local silkscreen supplier. Not called pictorico, but it probably is the same stuff. I use QTR system to lay down the ink. Chartthrob to make the profile. Nice to have both worlds now.

David Aimone
23-May-2012, 11:11
I'm going to be delving into digital negatives from 4x5" film, printed on an Epson 4900. I have some Pictorico OHP Film, but apparently Pictorico has no profile for the 4900. Does anyone have a suggestion on what alternative profile/approach I may try?

mdm
23-May-2012, 11:36
Precision Digital Negatives by Mark Nelson or Ron Reeders QTR ebook.

zenny
24-May-2012, 03:17
The learning curve is steep. Very steep. But I'm glad I made the investment. I use an old epson 4000 and cheap ink from China. Cheap, real cheap compared to what Epson charges... and it's been no problem. The film is from a local silkscreen supplier. Not called pictorico, but it probably is the same stuff. I use QTR system to lay down the ink. Chartthrob to make the profile. Nice to have both worlds now.

Thanks Andrew for sharing about the alternative cheap materials you used. Could you tell a bit more about from where you ordered and the supplier? Would be helpful if you post links to the item numbers for inks and the OHP transparency?

/z

Jay DeFehr
24-May-2012, 08:49
Thanks for the replies. Since I have built my cameras over time and never found the digital work flow to my liking I'll stick with the traditional method. My ULF's did not cost me a fortune because I found some great deals on the expensive parts. I think my traditional in camera carbon prints for the negatives that I produce will ho;d up to anyone's prints. But then we all think this! The reason for my question is there may come a time when I can't carry the beasts and one has to consider the options at some point. Still, it is not a problem and it would take a considerable investment because my computer is old and photoshop and a good printer are something I do not own.

There is a third option -- optically enlarged negatives. For someone already invested in a darkroom, this workflow offers some advantages over both working with a large camera, and making digital negatives.

Curt
25-May-2012, 18:56
It appears the the big ticket prices are the computer, Photoshop, and printer, and scanner.

I personally would need a new computer. Which one and how much?
Photoshop, I have a very old version, which one and how much?
A printer, I need a new one. Which one and how much?
I have an Epson scanner so I don't need that.

Consumables aside, can someone give me some high and low suggestions? I'm sure others would be interested also in a roadmap to the digital process.

Like a good, better, best.

Thanks
Curt

mdm
25-May-2012, 20:29
If you ditch photoshop you dont need a fancy computer. I used Picture Window Pro, its a true 16 bit editor and very fast and easy on rescources comapared to photoshop. What is good in photoshop are some plugins like PK sharpener, also layer masks, the healing brush, history brush etc. You can do without all those things but they are nice. How big do you want to print? Thats the printer you need, search on ebay for a 2nd hand one. You dont have to have the best of everything to do good work, just the will. Just the same as cameras and lenses, make the best of what you have already. The stuff you need can be had for much less than a 7x17 Korona, lens and holders. What you need most of all is beginners mind, and that cant be bought at any price. Its really good to learn something new but I suppose its hard to put the good results aside from an already purchased ULF camera and take the plunge into that cold water. To be a complete printer and printing teacher in this modern world its something that needs to be done.

Andrew O'Neill
26-May-2012, 21:41
I'm going to be delving into digital negatives from 4x5" film, printed on an Epson 4900. I have some Pictorico OHP Film, but apparently Pictorico has no profile for the 4900. Does anyone have a suggestion on what alternative profile/approach I may try?

David, I use QTR. Has worked well for me.



Thanks Andrew for sharing about the alternative cheap materials you used. Could you tell a bit more about from where you ordered and the supplier? Would be helpful if you post links to the item numbers for inks and the OHP transparency?


Zenny, where are you located? If you are in the States you can get it at Freestyle:
http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_search.php?rfnc=3008
They also carry Arista OHP, which is more reasonably priced.

I get the inks at www.123inkcartridges.ca When I run out of the batch that I have, I'm going to invest in refillable cartridges.


andrew

zenny
3-Jun-2012, 04:06
David, I use QTR. Has worked well for me.




Zenny, where are you located? If you are in the States you can get it at Freestyle:
http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_search.php?rfnc=3008
They also carry Arista OHP, which is more reasonably priced.

I get the inks at www.123inkcartridges.ca When I run out of the batch that I have, I'm going to invest in refillable cartridges.


andrew

Thanks for the info. I am actually based in Northern Europe.

However, you mentioned about a Chinese supplied earlier in the post if I remember right. Is there a link to that supplier so that I can directly order from? And could you specify which non-brand Chinese OHP (at par with pictorico in quality) that you used from a screen printer? That would be very helpful to know.

Cheeres,
/zenny

D. Bryant
3-Jun-2012, 08:00
Thanks for the info. I am actually based in Northern Europe.

However, you mentioned about a Chinese supplied earlier in the post if I remember right. Is there a link to that supplier so that I can directly order from? And could you specify which non-brand Chinese OHP (at par with pictorico in quality) that you used from a screen printer? That would be very helpful to know.

Cheeres,
/zenny

Andrew was referring to Chinese manufactured ink not OHP.

zenny
4-Jun-2012, 01:38
Andrew was referring to Chinese manufactured ink not OHP.

Yep, but he seems to have been referring to something which is not pictorico, but similar to it which he got from the local screen printer. Any clue to that specific OHP film would be useful, I guess.

D. Bryant
4-Jun-2012, 06:50
Yep, but he seems to have been referring to something which is not pictorico, but similar to it which he got from the local screen printer. Any clue to that specific OHP film would be useful, I guess.

The answer lies here:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?89416-Digital-negatives-for-contact-printing-quot-are-you-experienced-quot&p=891934#post891934