Hello everyone. First let me apologize if any of my questions have already been answered. I have been reading up on digital negative production for several days now and I've read so much that it's all getting cluttered in my mind. I've decided that PDN is probably going to be the system that works best for me but I still have some questions that aren't entirely clear to me. I'm hoping that some PDN users can answer these questions.
First as a primer on the equipment I have, I will be using scanned 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 in camera negatives as well as 6x9 paper negatives and RAW files from a DSLR for my image files. Using Photoshop CS4 on a MAC running OSX. Printer is an Epson 4800 with Ultrachrome K3 inks (currently set up with PK but I have MK on standby if I need to swap it out). Right now I just have an economy Canon all in one scanner but if this system works I'll be picking up an Epson V700 or V750 (the only reason I'm waiting on this is because I want to know that it'll get good use and to know that I need confirmation that PDN will work for me). I will be printing on InkPress Transparency Film and I would also like to print on Vellum for paper negatives.
I know my way around CS4 fairly well but I am a darkroom whore so I really am looking for the process that lets me produce the highest quality negative possible (I am obsessed with film and I am eager to see if this system can rival a print made from one of my 8x10 in camera negatives) with the least amount of fuss in front of the computer screen. QTR turned me off with all of the script and parameter writing and all of that. I understand that I will need to test to accurately nail my prints but I am not interested in taking up a career in computer processing if you catch my drift.
I am primarily interested in printing on Silver Gel paper (I use Ilford Warmtone Glossy and Semi-Matte FB) and Platinum and Palladium. Less frequently Albuman and Cyanotype. Silver is my primary concern because my darkroom is set up for it and I print the other processes much less frequently. So that is the root of my first and most critical question. I understand that PDN works well with Platinum and Palladium and other processes but can someone confirm that it will work for producing Silver-gel contact prints (this is something that I've had a hard time confirming)? How difficult is it to extrapolate additional curves for other process (I understand the calculator does something like this I think)? Can PDN be used to produce paper negatives or does it only work for transparency film? Realistically, how much time should it take to test and get the information I need to start printing negatives? Likewise how much time is spent in Photoshop between scanning the negative or opening the RAW image file and printing the final negative (assuming the minimal amount of creative editing - I'm talking baseline here)?
To break things down as clearly as possible here is a numerical review of the questions:
- Does PDN work for producing Silver prints using commercial multigrade paper such as Ilford Warmtone Glossy and Semi-Matte fiber papers?
- What amount of time should I expect to spend with the testing involved and can you please offer a brief explanation of the testing steps?
- How difficult is it to extrapolate or develop additional curves? Does the Calculator II software do this for you?
- Can PDN be used to produce paper negatives? Specifically on Vellum? (I use a 68lb semi-transparent artist vellum)
- Assuming no creative editing takes place, what is the average time it takes to go from a freshly scanned negative to a printed digital negative? (Imagine that you were just trying to enlarge a 4x5 neg to 8x10 without adjusting anything. I'm just trying to get a general idea of the workflow.)
Thank you all for your help! I very much appreciate it!