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Thread: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

  1. #1

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    "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    I once tried out split filter grade printing (meaning two exposures using a #1 and a #5 filter) to get a print with a sort of "creamy" white and purplish blacks look to it -- which is what was supposed to happen - sort of like the colors in the foam of a glass of rootbeer. This was in a school photography course.

    Now, I just can't reproduce that at my home darkroom. Not sure why. I end up with a perfectly fine print. What gives? Same paper & everything.

  2. #2

    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus
    I once tried out split filter grade printing (meaning two exposures using a #1 and a #5 filter) to get a print with a sort of "creamy" white and purplish blacks look to it -- which is what was supposed to happen - sort of like the colors in the foam of a glass of rootbeer. This was in a school photography course.

    Now, I just can't reproduce that at my home darkroom. Not sure why. I end up with a perfectly fine print. What gives? Same paper & everything.
    A straight split-grade exposure (meaning two exposures using a #1 and a #5 filter) is no different from a a straight exposure using filters, VC heads or color heads. The benefit from split-grade comes from dodging or burning differently during one or both exposures. There are no 'creamy' whites or 'purply' black, which can possibly be credited to split-grade printing. They must have done something else in your school photography course. Actually, it sound like lith printing to me.

  3. #3
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    Splitfiltering depends on the time of exposure using the different filters. I suggest you e.g. make a test strip of different exposure times using say only filter 1 to find the time for which the highlights gets that 'creamy look'. Once that's made expose paper with filter1 using this time and make a test strip with filter 5 onto this to find the time for which this filter gives you the 'blacks' you are after. Then you have the two splitfiltering exposures you are looking for.

    I am assuming you use a multigrade paper and that your enlarger is capable of producing the 'right' light for the filters to work.

    Note: there are different ideas of which order the filters should be used depending on the effect you want to achieve.
    Last edited by Patrik Roseen; 21-Jul-2006 at 14:37.

  4. #4

    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    This doesn't explain why it worked at his school and not at home. Why do you think the sequence of the exposures make a difference?

  5. #5

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    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    There is nothing magic about split filtering. VC paper have a low contrast emulsion primarily sensitive to green light and a hard contrast emulsion primarily sensitive to blue light. So, the ulimate contrast you get is purely a function of the amount of blue and green light that hits the paper. Now, it does not matter how that light hits the paper - whether it is through one filter that lets a certain ratio of blue and green light or wether it is through two filters, one letting in only blue light and one letting in only green light (since you get the same ratio as the first filter by controlling the amount of exposure through each filter). How could it matter? The paper does not know whether the blue and green light came in one burst or two or ten (ignoring reciprocity or intermittency effects). In other words, there is no exposure you can get through split filtering that you cannot get through exposure through an appropriate filter. You can get prints to look different by dodging and burning with different filters which therefore alters the local contrast in different parts of the image but again, those mechanisms are quite well understood. Now, one method could be easier for someone and allow one to arrive at a fine print faster using one method rather than the other. Also, a split filtering approach may let you reach contrast grades between the available filter but given that the available filters are in half step grades, I seriously doubt this is what people are talking about because I doubt peoples' ability to reliably tell differences of such small differences in contrast grades. As I said, I've never seen split filtering (if that is defined as exposure through two differnet filters) produce any results that could not be duplicated through an exposure through one filter. So, I doubt what you saw was anything special about split printing. Maybe it was lith printing, maybe it was someone demonstarting how easy it was to obtain a good print (if that is one with creamy etc) usinf split filtering etc. Some more details might help.

    Cheers, DJ

  6. #6
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph W. Lambrecht
    This doesn't explain why it worked at his school and not at home. Why do you think the sequence of the exposures make a difference?
    I thought I would remind cyrus of the process in case it was forgotten.

    As for the sequence I have seen many threads and discussions in which people claim there is a difference in result depending on the sequence of filters. Maybe it is all up to the human evaluation of the highlights and shadows using the different sequences and therefor different results.

    Hopefully there are others who could elaborate on this, specifically when not using the extreme filters 0 and 5 but say 1.5 and 4 where both the green and blue reactors gets a shot of the light by the two exposures...
    Last edited by Patrik Roseen; 21-Jul-2006 at 15:55.

  7. #7
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    IMO, there *is* something magic about split grade filtering: the ability to control the contrast as precisely as you control exposure. When I have control within 5% on both the grade 00 and grade 6 exposures in split printing, it's like having a set of VC filters gradated in tenths of a grade, if not finer (not even to mention the ability to dodge or burn in with either filter, so as to obtain local contrast control as well as local exposure control). Of course, the exact same thing can be done with a stepless color or VC dichroic head -- but IMO it's easier to make a gridded test print and select both exposure and contrast off the one print than it is to fiddle with contrast settings and make possible half a dozen or more test strips chasing both exposure and contrast.

    No, there's no difference between a split grade print and a conventional VC print with *exactly* the right contrast -- it's just a lot easier to get the contrast *exactly* right with split grade (based on my relatively limited experience, that is).
    Last edited by Donald Qualls; 21-Jul-2006 at 16:41.
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  8. #8

    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    DJ

    You are absolutely right as far as straight split-grade printing is concerned, but complex split-grade printing (dodging during just one exposure for example) does create effects, which cannot be duplicated otherwise. Nevertheless, I also think that cyrus is talking about the lith-printing in his first post.

  9. #9

    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Qualls
    ... (not even to mention the ability to dodge or burn in with either filter, so as to obtain local contrast control as well as local exposure control) ...
    Sorry for the snip Don, but that and nothing else makes the 'magic' of split-grade printing. Everything else is just like fine contrast control and can be had with any color head or many VC heads.

  10. #10

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    Re: "Creamy" look of split grade printing

    " . . . not even to mention the ability to dodge or burn in with either filter . . . "

    How do you dodge with a filter?

    That aside, I thought Phil Davis effectively put to rest the idea that there was some special benefit to "split filter" printing (meaning the making of two separate exposures using two different filters, not the use of different filters to adjust local contrast) in his article that appeared years ago (1994 I believe) in Photo Techniques magazine.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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