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Willie
20-Oct-2016, 11:16
Starting with a 4x5 or 5x7 B&W negative and going to a 16x20 or thereabouts print size.

What is reality in comparing the final print when done with the scan and print digitizing compared to a normal high quality lens used for printing the image in your enlarger?

8x10 neg - can be a contact print compared to the scan & print.

I know many have gotten rid of their darkrooms for printing and go with the scan and print digitally while some also let someone else do the entire process.

Any direct comparisons of the two processes for higher end prints? Not smugmug or lousy printing of that quality on color papers but good B&W final images.

bob carnie
20-Oct-2016, 12:02
I do both, optically enlarge, and scan and digitally print onto silver paper and thus believe in a unique position to comment.

Years ago I did a 30 x40 test print on inkjet(bayrta) Ilford MG4 enlarger print, and silver gelatin print on the Galerie digital silver paper. Three sample murals in all.

I mounted them onto board and over a series of lectures and group settings had over 400 various level photographers decide 1. which one was which 2. which one was better.

from this testing I was surprised to find out that less than 5 % of the people involved could with defined reasons pick out which sample was on what media and printing method, and nobody could argue that one was better than the other.


I will say this though, if I was to pick a print from my digital silver galerie output vs a Ilford Warmtone enlarger print I would select the Ilford Warmtone each and every time, and its not just because the colour is warmer, but I think
that Ilford Warmtone is a special paper with a visual difference than other papers.

Alan9940
20-Oct-2016, 12:13
Like Bob, I do both. I don't typically make large prints, but if I want/need something like 16x20 or larger I will scan and print to those sizes digitally because the largest wet print I can make is max 16x20. That said, I much prefer wet darkroom prints on Ilford Warmtone or 8x10 contact prints on Adox Lupex or Lodima.

ic-racer
20-Oct-2016, 13:06
If you are referring to new work, it is easier to make the exposure in the digital domain in the first place. Going to the trouble of using large format film, and then scanning and making inkjet prints seems to defeat the purpose of using large film in the first place.

Drew Wiley
20-Oct-2016, 13:22
Just depends how committed you are, along with personal preferences regarding darkroom versus computer station work. I thinks it's extremely difficult to make an inkjet print that can retain the subtle tonality, sheer detail, and toning flexibility of traditional silver paper. But some people have gotten pretty darn good from a large format film drum scan and a limited range of output tone-wise. And folks making really big black and white prints have a logistical advantage versus developing very wide rolls of film. The folks I know making replica grade editioned prints by digital means have commercial gear investments stratospherically beyond ordinary inkjet. Color is a different issue. A really experienced and seriously equipped lab can generate a laser print from a scan that comes close enough to fool the man on the street, though I think true optical prints still hold a qualitative edge from large format film. A lot has to do with how you prefer to fine-tune the information: dodging/burning/masking etc versus PS control. I prefer tactile, hands-on, though don't enjoy the nasty smell of color chemistry. Black and white printing is relatively benign in the darkroom. I recently installed yet another 8x10 enlarger, so that kinda describes my preference.
And I don't have to worry about either software or hardware going obsolete.

EdSawyer
20-Oct-2016, 20:29
Optical is better , imnsho.

neil poulsen
20-Oct-2016, 21:29
For me, it's analog capture and optically print B&W. Both analog capture and scan, and digital capture color, and in either case, digitally print.

With that said, I'm looking forward experimenting with digitally capturing, and then using Quad Ton Rip to print B&W.

jose angel
21-Oct-2016, 04:00
I think the scan quality makes a difference here. If you`re willing to spend on quality scanning&printing, a hybrid process could be a good idea. (BTW, good "optical" printing is not as easy as it may look to unskilled eyes. Something that takes an hour on the wet darkroom could take less than a minute in photoshop).
Right now, I get better, usually faster -and much cheaper- results printing traditionally (in my own darkroom, I mean).

Jim Jones
21-Oct-2016, 05:51
I sell a few modestly priced prints in an unsophisticated area. The cachet of total analog workflow is less important than digital editing and almost effortless reprinting. Gone are those days of rejecting one difficult print after another. The skill and effort of those who continue the older traditions of photography is admirable, but not for me.

Bruce Watson
21-Oct-2016, 07:35
Starting with a 4x5 or 5x7 B&W negative and going to a 16x20 or thereabouts print size.

What is reality in comparing the final print when done with the scan and print digitizing compared to a normal high quality lens used for printing the image in your enlarger?

You're a tad bit late to this party. This was discussed, with not a little vehemence (line drawn in the sand, shouting, finger pointing, the whole lot) about a decade ago here. Search around, you'll find the threads.

My take on it now is still the same as it was then -- the two are different. Both have strengths, both have weaknesses. I've made both. I've bought both. I've got both hanging on my walls today.

That's the reality. But I think you're really asking about is the perception. Which is a completely different thing. And that's what gets you into religious wars. If that's where this is headed, I'm just not interested.

Ken Lee
21-Oct-2016, 08:02
What is reality in comparing the final print ... Any direct comparisons of the two processes for higher end prints?

Image quality ? Subjective

Permanence ? Complicated and controversial

Perceived market value ? Subjective, complicated and controversial

Kirk Gittings
21-Oct-2016, 08:11
If you are referring to new work, it is easier to make the exposure in the digital domain in the first place. Going to the trouble of using large format film, and then scanning and making inkjet prints seems to defeat the purpose of using large film in the first place.

Not at all. THere are tones and micro contrast that one can pull out of a scan of film that there is no way to do otherwise. Not every image needs that but.....Also why not just shoot digitally? Speaking about bw only, there are tonal relationships from film that can't be done with digital capture IMO. I have worked at this comparison diligently for over a decade now and i think scanned film for bw has a unique character flexibility. Though at times, when I only have digital with me I, can make it work.

Ted R
21-Oct-2016, 13:30
The way I see it the two methods are very different but the results may be similar if care is taken. One way we work in a darkroom with chemicals and wet paper and make something with our hands. The other way we work in daylight at a computer and nothing is handmade but machine-made. Both are complex processes with learning curves and significant financial outlay (several $000 to make high quality 16x20 images). Make a choice about the method that is suited to your personal preferences. Differences in technical image quality are secondary.

Digital image making can also do color (without tears), for some people that changes everything.

Drew Wiley
21-Oct-2016, 13:55
Permanence is an awfully complicated subject once you get past all the marketing BS. But when it comes to current high-end color printing technology, digital laser prints and the darkroom use exactly the same options of RA4 paper, so no difference in permanence. Cheapo photofinishing options are different. And inkjet?
All depends what is in the specific inks and how well they bond to the substrate over time. It's misleading when they're called "pigment" prints, cause they're not. They're complicated blends of fine pigment, dyes, and lakes (dyed inert pigment particles). And as far a time goes, who knows - much of this just hasn't been around long enough to tell. Extrapolations from accelerated aging tests simply can't factor all the relevant variables; and based on lots of past experience from analogous colorant industries, I take marketing claims with a grain of salt. Then you have worflow preferences. I hate computer work and love darkroom work. The subjective look? Thank goodness, we're not all the same in that respect or it would be a boring world indeed.

Jac@stafford.net
21-Oct-2016, 14:21
Quality, be it digital or analog is what you can get away with.

Kirk Gittings
21-Oct-2016, 14:38
Quality, be it digital or analog is what you can get away with.

What does that mean to you? Whether commercial or fine art, traditional or digital, I know that my standards are much higher than my clients. I could get by with much less.

DHodson
22-Oct-2016, 10:54
Last thing I want to do is add fuel to this. I currently do both and am looking into Jon Cone's inks for contact printing with Pictorico transparency film but this was on the VictoriaPhoto's web site a while back and I thought it was an interesting piece of work. I just tried to find the link but it unfortunately looks to be down so I've attached the article for you to have a look at.

Regards

Dave

sanking
22-Oct-2016, 16:25
I have to say that I don't agree that there are tonal relationships from film that can not be done with digital capture, and I too have been working with the two media now for over 15 years. Once you scan film and take it into the digital world the potential for the manipulation of tonal relationships becomes almost as great as it is with digital capture. As I work more and more with digital it has become increasingly aware to me that what we often see as an essential characteristic of a digital print in terms of tonal relationships is in fact only the specific nature of the processing done by the photographer, which is open to numerous interpretations.

At this time I am attending an internatinal symposium on alternative printmaking at the Nanjing Institute of Arts in China, and in about three hours am on the schedule to lead a discussion on the issuas Drew notese of digitizing of film. On one of the walls of the exhibition organized for the symposium I have ten carbon prints hanging, all about 16"X23" in size. Some were made from scans of 5X7" film, others from scans of medium format 6X7 cm film, and still others from more recent work with FF digital capture with Nikon D800 and Sony a7r. I processed all of the images files myself according to my understanding of the way I wanted to "craft" the final look, and to me there is no differene in tonal relationships that one can see between film and digital capture.

Sandy








Speaking about bw only, there are tonal relationships from film that can't be done with digital capture IMO. I have worked at this comparison diligently for over a decade now and i think scanned film for bw has a unique character flexibility. Though at times, when I only have digital with me I, can make it work.

Willie
22-Oct-2016, 16:35
You're a tad bit late to this party. This was discussed, with not a little vehemence (line drawn in the sand, shouting, finger pointing, the whole lot) about a decade ago here. Search around, you'll find the threads.

My take on it now is still the same as it was then -- the two are different. Both have strengths, both have weaknesses. I've made both. I've bought both. I've got both hanging on my walls today.

That's the reality. But I think you're really asking about is the perception. Which is a completely different thing. And that's what gets you into religious wars. If that's where this is headed, I'm just not interested.

Bruce, I DID do a search and came up with very little. Maybe wrong terms for a search? Who knows - but I did check.
These days digital printing is much better than a decade ago. It is not just perception but ultimate print quality. I think each generation removed from the negative loses a touch and 'recovery' through digital may not actually bring it back.
I have seen excellent work both ways as most of us have. Was wondering if some have done specific negatives both ways and can speak from experience.

Chester McCheeserton
22-Oct-2016, 19:48
For black-and-white, if the negative doesn't have something that the controls of Photoshop could do better, like for example, expanding the contrast of a slightly underexposed negative, or having a sharp distinct area that needs to be masked precisely, or hiding a nasty scratch in the sky with the fluid of a drum scan, I think an optical print looks better at very close range. (less than a 12 inches) Especially the surface of the paper, even more so if you can get a negative to to fit on paper with a particularly good surface, like graded Ilfobrom Galerie. In my experience the blacks are more satisfying, and even if you spray a well made inkjet on the best paper with something like printshield to get rid of the gloss differential in bright highlights, on really close inspection there just isn't the same sense of light bending and the image being inside the paper instead of resting on top of it.

All that being said, I've become addicted to the controls of photoshop from a well made scan and do more inkjetting these days. Curators and collectors increasingly don't care. Unless your caring is somehow visible in the work as a special quality.
As thousands of others have pointed out, the difference is less noticeable once the print is behind glass or plexi. I think Bob Carnie's post was pretty spot on.

I also think that the size you are mentioning, 16 x 20, is an important threshold. Going much larger and the digital output starts to win more frequently and going much smaller analog might. Although labs like Palm Press in Boston or Griffin in nyc can make optical murals that can roll with anyone.

Kirk Gittings
22-Oct-2016, 22:20
I have to say that I don't agree that there are tonal relationships from film that can not be done with digital capture, and I too have been working with the two media now for over 15 years. Once you scan film and take it into the digital world the potential for the manipulation of tonal relationships becomes almost as great as it is with digital capture. As I work more and more with digital it has become increasingly aware to me that what we often see as an essential characteristic of a digital print in terms of tonal relationships is in fact only the specific nature of the processing done by the photographer, which is open to numerous interpretations.

At this time I am attending an internatinal symposium on alternative printmaking at the Nanjing Institute of Arts in China, and in about three hours am on the schedule to lead a discussion on the issuas Drew notese of digitizing of film. On one of the walls of the exhibition organized for the symposium I have ten carbon prints hanging, all about 16"X23" in size. Some were made from scans of 5X7" film, others from scans of medium format 6X7 cm film, and still others from more recent work with FF digital capture with Nikon D800 and Sony a7r. I processed all of the images files myself according to my understanding of the way I wanted to "craft" the final look, and to me there is no differene in tonal relationships that one can see between film and digital capture.

Sandy

I'm not talking about your images but mine. If for some odd reason I have an image in both I would opt for the film negative scanned (unless I blew the filtration). Or (more common) given both capture systems available, at this point, I would always opt for film.

sanking
23-Oct-2016, 02:47
I understood your comment "Speaking about bw only, there are tonal relationships from film that can't be done with digital capture IMO" as a general opinion about B&W photography, not an opinion about tonal relationships only in your work. My response is also a general opinion about B&W photograhy, not just about my work, or yours.

In any event, the issue itself is highly subjective and one's opinion is bound to be influenced by the nature of their own work and that of others.

Sandy




I'm not talking about your images but mine. If for some odd reason I have an image in both I would opt for the film negative scanned (unless I blew the filtration). Or (more common) given both capture systems available, at this point, I would always opt for film.

Pere Casals
23-Oct-2016, 06:47
I understood your comment "Speaking about bw only, there are tonal relationships from film that can't be done with digital capture IMO" as a general opinion about B&W photography, not an opinion about tonal relationships only in your work. My response is also a general opinion about B&W photograhy, not just about my work, or yours.

In any event, the issue itself is highly subjective and one's opinion is bound to be influenced by the nature of their own work and that of others.

Sandy


Hello Sandy, Kirk.

I think that this debate has a clear physical explanation: SMI, Sensitive Metamerism Index.

The theory says that if colours can be discerned when the full spectrum is reduced to RGB, then it also can be discerned when reduced to grey levels. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamerism_(color)


My conclussions are these :

(after fighting that a lot with industrial video cameras, Q.C., spectrometer in had, to get those bad blobs, a nightmare :( )


Tonal relationships of gray subjects (architecture) can be well matched from digital to BW film, just adjust curves.

(RGB to gray conversion factors, are of less importance)



With tonal relationships of original color subjects the thing is more complicated !!!





If we place no filter on BW film camera:

then a digital RGB capture (also no filter) can match the film BW tone relationship if we adjust separatelly the R, G and B curve before adjusting the RGB conversion to gray, and then adjusting the gray curve, It can be done, but there is a lot of work to match the same, anyway the digital color image has an incredible margin of adjustment, first adjusting each color channel curve, and then the conversion to gray, and then the gray curve.


To match digital to bw film (no filter) mostly we'll have to reduce the green factor in the rgb to grey conversion, as green normally has more gain to match eye, while film is more flat in it's spectral response.


Of course we can shot with Velvia film, or Portra, and then we have an additional option in the spectral to RGB conversion stage. Not many people do it, but conversión from color film to BW is an option I like, I feel that with Portra to BW conversión unique skin textures can be obtained, a DSLR can't, because on pixel dyes do not separate skin colors well: SMI in that range !!! Also TMX is not able to render skin capillaries. Perhaps it can do it with some specific bandblock filter, emulating vintage films...






If we place a filter on the BW film camera:

With BW when we select the filter when we shot we get tied to a tonal relationship, then we only can adjust the grey curve.

It is possible that the digital image (without filter on lens) cannot be converted to same BW film tonality, because the BW film capture was made with a blocked spectral band, so only part of the spectrum was used, and then it can happen that the Spectral sensitivity on the RGB could not be converted to the Film tonality.


If we place the same Yellow filter both on the digital camera and to the film camera... then mostly it would be possible to match the DSLR conversion to grey with what film rendered.



Other:

Still negative film (BW/color) has a superior capability over sensors: highlight roll-of. Any film grain formulation has small grains of even perhaps ISO 1, perhaps even by accident, so glare is much better depicted, this very important for portrait (rim light)




Disclaimer:

I'm talking from a technical point of view, I realize that I'm not artistically good using all that... just pointing the physical facts...

Regards

Pere Casals
23-Oct-2016, 07:04
PD: When taking a digital (landscape) RGB image to be converted to BW... consider to also take a shot with the yellow filter (or other) as it was film.

Filtering the full spectrum is not the same than filtering it in PS, depending on the subject it can deliver a different result, that perhaps it cannot be well matched by PS edition: RGB spectral sensitivity curves overlap, and have shapes...

Anyway: TXP,TMX,HP5 4ever :)

bob carnie
23-Oct-2016, 07:20
For black-and-white, if the negative doesn't have something that the controls of Photoshop could do better, like for example, expanding the contrast of a slightly underexposed negative, or having a sharp distinct area that needs to be masked precisely, or hiding a nasty scratch in the sky with the fluid of a drum scan, I think an optical print looks better at very close range. (less than a 12 inches) Especially the surface of the paper, even more so if you can get a negative to to fit on paper with a particularly good surface, like graded Ilfobrom Galerie. In my experience the blacks are more satisfying, and even if you spray a well made inkjet on the best paper with something like printshield to get rid of the gloss differential in bright highlights, on really close inspection there just isn't the same sense of light bending and the image being inside the paper instead of resting on top of it.

All that being said, I've become addicted to the controls of photoshop from a well made scan and do more inkjetting these days. Curators and collectors increasingly don't care. Unless your caring is somehow visible in the work as a special quality.
As thousands of others have pointed out, the difference is less noticeable once the print is behind glass or plexi. I think Bob Carnie's post was pretty spot on.

I also think that the size you are mentioning, 16 x 20, is an important threshold. Going much larger and the digital output starts to win more frequently and going much smaller analog might. Although labs like Palm Press in Boston or Griffin in nyc can make optical murals that can roll with anyone.



Funny you mention Ilfobrom Galerie as a reference point as this is the paper that I put in the Lambda for digital printing, there for I can actually compare the same paper, Agfa Classic also works in the machine which again gave me the insight on how they compare.
so really I think what the bottom line is for me is how well the file is presented to me, After a few years I have learned how to prepare a file and how not to prepare a file and, with the excellent digital cameras out there today I think that both methods of printing are equal.

As said above I wish I could put Ilford Warmtone in my machine as I think it is a superior paper, I have received a roll of warm paper from one of my suppliers to try , I am really hoping it works.

In 2001 I tested fibre and Ciba paper in a Lambda unit , by driving 15km with my paper to a friendly lab, BGM Imaging here in Toronto then back to my darkroom to process. The sole intent at that time was to prove to myself that my enlarger prints were indeed better than any fancy digital printing device. We used Agfa Classic, and Ilford Cibachrome High Gloss for this test. To say the least I was absolutely stunned to find out that the digital prints were every bit
as good as my optical prints.... And yes Drew I know how to do fancy Highlight protection contrast masks for the enlarger prints , my background was a Repro Department Technician responsible for fancy smanshy masks..

This was a turning point in my career as a Lambda at that time was the same price as a house in Toronto, I bit the bullet and still use the unit.
Now I only use it for Lambda silver gelatin prints and silver gelatin enlarged negatives.

I have found that my inkjet process (IMO only now folks , is much better than RA4 cprint, better colour gamut, much better paper selections, as well the mere fact of repeatability is much more endearing to me. An RA4 process
drifts day to day and unless you are putting through great volumes of work it can be difficult doing precise matches, not so with Canon or Epson current machines. I love these new machines as they give immediate satisfaction with great results.

Today I am starting on a long journey where I am making four colour BW separation negatives of all my colour solarizations and colour work and for my black and white I am making a master negative, a highlight only negative,
mid tone negative and shadow negative.
I think I have a few hundred images I would like to retire with to print and this effort will be one of the sole reasons why I kept a Lamdba device going. This kind of relates to this whole topic, I want to continue working with wet prints for as long as I can put myself in front of a darkroom sink.

I also plan to set up my optical mural room so I can do 40 x50 inch silver gelatin prints , just need space and time.

Duolab123
23-Oct-2016, 09:27
Non Professional point of view. I've been doing darkroom work for 50+ years, started at my Dad's side with Dbl. wt. Medalist and a 1940's era Federal enlarger. The drum scanners and fancy printers are beyond my budget for photography. Over the years I've accumulated an incredible darkroom. When I can buy a 8 year old 4x5 Beseler with a colorhead and a 150 Rodagon for $300 (that makes number 4) this is a easy decision.
I picked up a nice Coolscan V for 100 bucks, I use it to scan my Dad's Kodachromes WOW what an amazing tool. 11x14's and larger fabulous! That's all I use it for.

My situation is I love to make prints B&W and color for me the easiest route is medium format film and a darkroom. I have an 8x10 Deardorff, it's a wonderful camera, I rarely use it. Contact prints on Fomalux are just amazing! 2X enlargement is 16x20 ;)

I will be retiring in another 2 years, this is what I plan to do. I sit in front of a computer at work. I will be standing at a sink in retirement:)
Best Mike

Kirk Gittings
23-Oct-2016, 10:47
I understood your comment "Speaking about bw only, there are tonal relationships from film that can't be done with digital capture IMO" as a general opinion about B&W photography, not an opinion about tonal relationships only in your work. My response is also a general opinion about B&W photograhy, not just about my work, or yours.

In any event, the issue itself is highly subjective and one's opinion is bound to be influenced by the nature of their own work and that of others.

Sandy

I was really only speaking for my work. I can make a digital capture work for a decent BW print but there is always something a little "less" maybe 5% less than optimal. I can't make it sing in the same way I can when the capture is film. That may sound illogical to some or contrary to your experience but I have gone back and forth with this for a decade. On the other hand I know and have worked with people like Don Usner who can absolutely make their digital capture BW sing but his subject matter is a bit different than mine too.

Chester McCheeserton
23-Oct-2016, 10:51
Funny you mention Ilfobrom Galerie as a reference point as this is the paper that I put in the Lambda for digital printing, there for I can actually compare the same paper, Agfa Classic also works in the machine which again gave me the insight on how they compare.
so really I think what the bottom line is for me is how well the file is presented to me, After a few years I have learned how to prepare a file and how not to prepare a file and, with the excellent digital cameras out there today I think that both methods of printing are equal.

As said above I wish I could put Ilford Warmtone in my machine as I think it is a superior paper, I have received a roll of warm paper from one of my suppliers to try , I am really hoping it works.

In 2001 I tested fibre and Ciba paper in a Lambda unit , by driving 15km with my paper to a friendly lab, BGM Imaging here in Toronto then back to my darkroom to process. The sole intent at that time was to prove to myself that my enlarger prints were indeed better than any fancy digital printing device. We used Agfa Classic, and Ilford Cibachrome High Gloss for this test. To say the least I was absolutely stunned to find out that the digital prints were every bit
as good as my optical prints....
It's true, using a Lightjet or Lambda to expose on gelatin based paper can mitigate the surface differences. I was always under the impression that Ilford's coating was slightly different on their Galerie Digital Silver rolls compared to their Ilfobrom Galerie sheets, like a slight extra shiny-ness and tiny bit more stipple but I just pulled some prints and examining the white border side by side, any difference I can see from 3 inches away could be due to variations in the processing and drying.

The rolls of Galerie Digital Silver are stuck on grade 4, which perhaps subtracts some of the ability to show off subtle mid-tones like you can from a good negative in a contact print or small enlargement. But the bigger issue preventing the vast majority of us from using this process is the insane cost and limited control, if one doesn't have one's own personal lambda! If one is making in-focus, - let's just say 'straight' style photography, and is going to the trouble of drum scanning a large format neg and working up the file properly, handing your file off to a lab takes away that ability to make 10 test prints, discarding 9 and keeping only the last. Labs have to be conscious that that roll of Galerie cost 650 bucks. Lambda and Lightjet software adds a whole additional host of variables beyond Epson Print in terms of which boxes to tick for sharpening on/off, etc. I feel that I was only able to get really good lambda black-and-whites, (and I agree with you, the best ones are just as good as optical) because I worked at a lab and could endlessly fine tune things like which aperture to use on the drum scanner, or could run another print for free because the first dried down 5% more than I was expecting.

To the original poster and for most of us I think being in control from start to finish, whether the output is inkjet, optical, or digital wet fiber, is pretty important.

bob carnie
23-Oct-2016, 11:21
It's true, using a Lightjet or Lambda to expose on gelatin based paper solves can mitigate the surface differences. I was always under the impression that Ilford's coating was slightly different on their Galerie Digital Silver rolls compared to their Ilfobrom Galerie sheets, like a slight extra shiny-ness and tiny bit more stipple but I just pulled some prints and examining the white border side by side, any difference I can see from 3 inches away could be due to variations in the processing and drying.

The rolls of Galerie Digital Silver are stuck on grade 4, which perhaps subtracts some of the ability to show off subtle mid-tones like you can from a good negative in a contact print or small enlargement. But the bigger issue preventing the vast majority of us from using this process is the insane cost and limited control, if one doesn't have one's own personal lambda! If one is making in-focus, - let's just say 'straight' style photography, and is going to the trouble of drum scanning a large format neg and working up the file properly, handing your file off to lab takes away that ability to make 10 test prints, discarding 9 and keeping only the last. Labs have to be conscious that that roll of Galerie cost 650 bucks. Lambda and Lightjet software adds a whole additional host of variables beyond Epson Print in terms of which boxes to tick for sharpening on/off, etc. I feel that I was only able to get really good lambda black-and-whites, (and I agree with you, the best ones are just as good as optical) because I worked at a lab and could endlessly fine tune things like which aperture to use on the drum scanner, or could run another print for free because the first dried down 5% more than I was expecting.

To the original poster and for most of us I think being in control from start to finish, whether the output is inkjet, optical, or digital wet fiber, is pretty important.



Ahh very good point about the grade 4, very few people pick up on this, but something funny happens that is not common knowledge and I am not sure if I am going to be able to present the idea on how the subtle midt ones can be held using a Grade 4 paper. Basically we adjust the light reaching the paper which in effect creates a profile that works . So the paper could be lower grade or higher grade it does not matter.


To make this work we do a 21 step tablet where the lasers adjust the tonalities from white to black, so from my personal experience I can tell you that we can lay down 94 tones plus white and black, at the end values LAB readings 99, 98 , and 97 all read paper white
96 reads as a slight , slight highlight tone.
LAB readings 1, 2, 3 read paper black - 4 reads slight tone in shadow regions.
So with this in mind we can place any tone we require between the end points .

So the Lambda adjust to the contrast of the paper and not the reverse, the same was true of Cibachrome when I was still doing it., We used the absolute highest contrast paper possible and allowed PS adjustments and
the Lambda densitometer to solve the paper contrast.
As I pointed out , Our lab was the first lab to do the Lambda fibres in mural size on Agfa Classic, which is not a grade 4 paper but a multigrade paper, other labs were doing Cibachrome via Lambda and RC black and white via Lambda well before us but not the silver gelatin fibre paper. When I presented this idea to a lab manager in another lab he laughed stating the fibres would clog up the machine and certainly would not work, but he was doing RC Classic which was the same emulsion so I kind of figured he was full of shit and moved my request to another lab.
I think you will be very impressed or interested in the super size negatives we are making, just think a 24 x36 silver neg from ones new Leica Monochrome. and being able to print it on any paper , any process in contact with the same resolution and print quality one would expect from and enlarger print..

Greg Davis
23-Oct-2016, 12:19
PD: When taking a digital (landscape) RGB image to be converted to BW... consider to also take a shot with the yellow filter (or other) as it was film.

Filtering the full spectrum is not the same than filtering it in PS, depending on the subject it can deliver a different result, that perhaps it cannot be well matched by PS edition: RGB spectral sensitivity curves overlap, and have shapes...

Anyway: TXP,TMX,HP5 4ever :)

I've tried this before. It doesn't work, especially with a strong filter like a 47b. An RGB sensor does not react the same way as film to filtration. B&W slider controls in Lightroom are a much better option for digital images.

Pere Casals
23-Oct-2016, 13:59
I've tried this before. It doesn't work, especially with a strong filter like a 47b. An RGB sensor does not react the same way as film to filtration. B&W slider controls in Lightroom are a much better option for digital images.

What it is clear is that if we used a filter in BW film perhaps it will be more difficult to match tonality form a digital RGB image.

The question is what filtration is required in the DSLR that allows (with PS controls) to match the BW film scan.

Specially if we filter the film image it can happen (not always) that its tonality relationship cannot be matched with a DSLR image+PS controls


In general filters that make a difference in color RGB separation are 1/4 of the tipical bandwitdh of usual BW filters.

47b blocks a too wide band for RGB, of course it could be useful with rare a monochrome sensors Like Lika M Monochrom

156580


If we apply it to a spectral sensitivity chart


156581


We can imagine how new curves will result, just lowering the curve for each channel at each wave length by the transmission factor the filter has there. Still 47b can help to separate colors in some situation, the curves tell when.


When filtering for rgb sensors most useful filters blocks 25nm to 50nm bandwitdh. As we have filters on pixels yet, we have to work on the curves that are on each channel to take advantage. And this is not very common filters.

A good way to see it is comparing the spectral sensitivity charts of ektar with the portra ones. Then we can guess what filter would help Ektar to separate flesh colors.

A Ektar image from a face can be edited to look like Portra, we can lower saturation and use a LUT to make match the flesh colors, but color variation on the face is lost, the difference is in the shape of the curve transmission of the dyes each color layer has, and sensitization.

Then the Ektar face once converted to gray has different texture than if it comes from Portra. This is what I've tested on my own.

Also I had been using color filtration for machine vision to inspect food, but today we have LEDs for every 10nm http://www.epitex.com/products/products_index.php

with very narrow band, so using illuminators of the right frequence for each channel delivers also good tone separation.

PD: in the last post I was talking about wide band filters, but I had a wrong concept.

RJ-
23-Oct-2016, 14:40
I have to say that I don't agree that there are tonal relationships from film that can not be done with digital capture, and I too have been working with the two media now for over 15 years. Once you scan film and take it into the digital world the potential for the manipulation of tonal relationships becomes almost as great as it is with digital capture ....

At this time I am attending an internatinal symposium on alternative printmaking at the Nanjing Institute of Arts in China, and in about three hours am on the schedule to lead a discussion on the issuas Drew notese of digitizing of film....

Sandy


Hi Sandy,

I hope your symposium was inspiring (as will be the re-print of your carbon printing book).

Film imaging has a particular Gestalt - more than tonal relationships which lends it to more potential for appreciation, even when humbled by printing film emulsion based images digitally. I appreciate what you are saying about digitised inkjets of film emulsion based images, offering no more than digital capture and printing in terms of tonal appreciation. Is digital there yet? I've been waiting however have since lost the micro-USB cable to my Polaroid 2 megapixel camera.

Ilfochrome, Cibachrome, R types and C types have commercially disappeared: film emulsion no longer offers alternative digitised printing competition to digitised printing, which is vastly limited compared to the art of lithographic printing or traditional craft of photogravure. It still shines when printed optically - as intended. Yet film emulsion is extremely versatile being the foundation and basic for many alternative processes and printing techniques, as you have already shown many years ago with carbon printing as well as adaptable to the contemporary digital printing fad.

Many of the photographers whom I respected when I was younger who produced seminal work of inspiration in traditional silver gelatin printing from film emulsion, converted to digital printing in their later life as digital capture increased. They are celebrated for their youthful and younger silver gelatin work and not their senescent digital evangelism about the superiority of digital printing.

Unfortunately as age and presbyopia takes a toll, we are not always able to evaluate our own work objectively, no matter how firm the conviction of our beliefs. Having worked in fine art and commercial photography for over 15 years, I surmise that digital sucks. This is why I bought the t-shirt.

As others point out with the logical argument of why digital should be better, this then is its flaw. The arguments are emotionless against the visceral Gestalt of film. My emotions do not count: which is why no one should take offence at my beliefs :)

I used to enjoy visiting this sub-forum which has always been free from the white noise of digital posturing. Although I don't come on very much, I'm saddening to see that in the Darkroom, Film Processing and Printing, such an inappropriate thread about optical vs digital printing and the parsimony typical of such discussions have made their way here.

All the best with your traditional work.

Kind regards,

RJ

Willie
23-Oct-2016, 15:53
RJ. I don't see this as " such an inappropriate thread" at all.

I use 5x7 and 8x10 most every week as well as digital in the form of Canon 1 Series gear and Sigma DP Merrill cameras. I prefer darkroom work for B&W for many reasons. Mainly personal preference if I get right down to it.

Seeing the work of many excellent photographers in both film and digital and not quite being able to get as good a B&W from my digital as with the darkroom has me asking. Many of our LF photographers are digitizing their negatives and printing with computer equipment. Hybrid workflow is here and it is nice to get input from those such as Bob Carnie and Sandy King and others.

I have seen Pt/Pd prints at 30 inch sizes from Fuji X-Pro1 cameras, from enlarged negatives both digitally and with duplicating direct positive film and big camera original negatives. Ny Uncle has some Sandy King carbon prints done from film, scanned and with a digital enlarged negative. All look good. Have wished for a home darkroom enlarger that would print directly from digital files to sit next to the 5x7 enlarger in the darkroom. Still don't have it.

We are years past the arguments of "which is better" and just looking for reality with our processes while knowing personal preference is more important than most of the opinions can ever be. Just as my Uncle clings to his 82 VW pickup for 50mpg while I have a big Ford 4x4 SuperCab - we all choose what we want for whatever reasons. Optical or digital - as long as the prints look the way we want, what does it really matter?

Pere Casals
23-Oct-2016, 16:35
We are years past the arguments of "which is better" ....




True, see Dan Mindel (StarWars 7 cinematographer, shot with film) here at minute 11:10 , praising technology crossover.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VZ7uXJGMok

This also ca be applied to hybrid photography.

Anyway optic prints still have a lot of sense, but for some negatives there is a lot of work involved, sometimes SCIM / CRM is mandatory when with PS it is done in 2 clicks.

We can value the way a result is obtained or not...

Drew Wiley
24-Oct-2016, 13:00
Willie - last I heard, actual digital enlargers aren't all that impressive. DeVere marketed them at high price, and most seem to have become mothballed because the print quality wasn't anywhere near in the league of either true optical enlargements from film, or either laser printing or inkjet from scans. Just seems like one
more redundant hoop to jump through, anyway. The less steps, the better.

Pere Casals
25-Oct-2016, 02:32
Willie - last I heard, actual digital enlargers aren't all that impressive. DeVere marketed them at high price, and most seem to have become mothballed because the print quality wasn't anywhere near in the league of either true optical enlargements from film, or either laser printing or inkjet from scans. Just seems like one
more redundant hoop to jump through, anyway. The less steps, the better.

Anybody can takeoff a plane, but a true pilot is required to land it.

Anybody can bend PS curves and send it to a lightjet/lambda, but a sound optical print requires a true darkroom printer.

I'm making the way back... I feel able to do what I want with PS+lightjet but I also realize the great challenge of mastering optical workflow. To me that brings on understanding photography.

¿Quality? I've inspected a 8x10 contact copy with a 60x microscope and image quality is way, way beyond what any eye can see.

A Lambda print has 400 ppi, pixels per inch, continous tone. This may be equivalent (400/25/2 pixel pairs per mm) to some USAF 1951 4 to 6 line pairs per mm lppmm, if the digital file is sharp enough at that enlargement, that will decrease as we enlarge beyond the file resolving power...

A 8x10 contact can deliver some 50 lppmm, that will decrease as we enlarge...

I found that both ways have resolving power enough at reading distance, and excess of it if print is large and it is seen farther.


A lot of digital enlargements lack quality because original resolution power was poor, because bad edition practice, bad monitor calibration, bad soft proofing... bad silver paper... bad ink...

So obtaining an acceptable lambda print is not difficult, but a first rate digital print also requires a large amount of skills and care. If Lambda printed on FB silver paper then selenium/gold toning also can be performed.

IMHO a very good digital print can be very good, but to me it looks a bit synthetic, in the way it's too perfect and the artist hand is not perceived in it. Still an excellent imaging media...


An very good optical print is something damn difficult to obtain (this is what I perceive as the learner I'm...) but it explains the artist intention, it's crafting footprint is part of the message and it shows the hands of the artist. Sadly this cannot be explained in numeric terms.

So it's not by chance that one of the AA handcrafted copies of moonrise is $700,000.


We can make a computer generate amazing music. Anna Netrebko also generates music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHHVK5wJ_DA

Pere Casals
25-Oct-2016, 04:00
What is reality in comparing the final print when done with the scan and print digitizing compared to a normal high quality lens used for printing the image in your enlarger?

8x10 neg - can be a contact print compared to the scan & print.




Imagine that you have a 8x10 negative with fine detail resolved at +50 lp/mm = Lppmm = line pairs per milimeter.

In practice this is a very careful shot, with a good lens. You can obtain even more.

A contact 8x10 copy will have that fine detail on paper at 50 Lp/mm, because paper is very, very fine grained, at 1 ISO, or perhaps 2 ISO, and film emulsion is in contact with paper emulsion.

You'll need a 30X magnifier to see the amount of detail the contact copy has, because this is way beyond what best human eye can see. With a 60x microscope you can see the resolving power resolution.

A human eye can see some 6 LP/mm on paper, in higher contrast test (glass slides, 1:1000) it can be seen a bit more. Paper has 1:100 contrast, but detail perhaps is depicted at 1:20 contrast because photopgraphs have tonality.


If you take a 8x10 enlarger and you make a 1:1 optical "enlargement" that copy perhaps can display a 20 Lp/mm resolving power, depending on enlarger lens.

A good digital print (Lambda) prints 400 pixels per inch, I say "pixels" and not "dots" because each point can have any gray level (reflective density) the paper is capable.

This is in practice equivalent to what eye can see at reading distance, some 6Lp/mm.


As you enlarge more (digital or optical) practical lp/mm decrease, but also the print is viewed farther...


Both digital an optical can be very good or very bad. Acceptable results are easier with digital.


I strongly encourage you to learn optic printing as much is possible, including SCIM and CRM masking. I encourage you because this is what I'm learning and I get a lot of fun, and this also give me another privileged point of view of what photography is.

Of course some jobs are better expedited by digital. But own photographs a film photographer love must be worked in the darkroom (IMHO) because an special relationship is developed with the image, one can touch the image with his own hands, and the hand of the photographer is in the result.

This is what I feel, I guess I cannot explain it very well, it is not that easy.

What I say is that (IMHO) the choice is not technical. You can expedite it digital or you can show your hand in the print interpretation.


Anyway if you want to know about resolving quality just buy a cheap USAF 1951 glass slide (offer $60) at the auction site, make a contact copy of it on film, and on paper. Take that film and make a contact print on paper, also enlarge it. Also scan that film and later print it digitally... then take a 30x magnifier and see.

This is not very useful in practice, but one has to do it once to know on his own.

PD: Don't expect most people will value the effort you make in a particular optical print, this is for personal joy and for own "spiritual evolution", IMHO.

bob carnie
25-Oct-2016, 07:10
Anybody can takeoff a plane, but a true pilot is required to land it.

Anybody can bend PS curves and send it to a lightet/lambda, but a sound optical print requires a true darkroom printer.

I'm making the way back... I feel able to do what I want with PS+light jet but I also realize the great challenge of mastering optical workflow. To me that brings on understanding photography.

¿Quality? I've inspected a 8x10 contact copy with a 60x microscope and image quality is way, way beyond what any eye can see.

A Lambda print has 400 ppi, pixels per inch, continous tone. This may be equivalent (400/25/2 pixel pairs per mm) to some USAF 1951 4 to 6 line pairs per mm lppmm, if the digital file is sharp enough at that enlargement, that will decrease as we enlarge beyond the file resolving power...

A 8x10 contact can deliver some 50 lppmm, that will decrease as we enlarge...

I found that both ways have resolving power enough at reading distance, and excess of it if print is large and it is seen farther.


A lot of digital enlargements lack quality because original resolution power was poor, because bad edition practice, bad monitor calibration, bad soft proofing... bad silver paper... bad ink...

So obtaining an acceptable lambda print is not difficult, but a first rate digital print also requires a large amount of skills and care. If Lambda printed on FB silver paper then selenium/gold toning also can be performed.

IMHO a very good digital print can be very good, but to me it looks a bit synthetic, in the way it's too perfect and the artist hand is not perceived in it. Still an excellent imaging media...


An very good optical print is something damn difficult to obtain (this is what I perceive as the learner I'm...) but it explains the artist intention, it's crafting footprint is part of the message and it shows the hands of the artist. Sadly this cannot be explained in numeric terms.

So it's not by chance that one of the AA handcrafted copies of moonrise is $700,000.


We can make a computer generate amazing music. Anna Netrebko also generates music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHHVK5wJ_DA




I am really have problems understanding what you are trying to say here.


My first post on this thread points out that I have a lambda and I print FB, there cannot be more than 20 of us world wide that do this, And yes in every one of these labs SOUND darkroom workers are using the equipment, I also do optical prints and there are many more worldwide that do this, but on a commercial Printer for Hire using enlargers
we are becoming an endangered species.

I can tell you first hand , that both systems of producing the prints require the same basic understanding of photography, I can only say that the laser light replaces tungsten enlarger light, Photoshop skills prep the image into place in place of prepping the print live under the enlarger. The same steps are
done either way. I am not sure what the hell you mean by Synthetic Print.
Every step in Photoshop is almost exactly the same steps I would make using Split Filter printing.



If you examine a Lambda print under 8 x magnification loupe, you see film grain of the original scanned film based not pixels- there lies the confusing part of all of this asI naively thought that I would see pixels, when I first did this
back in 2001 on Ciba prints we made with another labs Lambda. This was a revelation as I saw the grain pattern I would have expected if I used an enlarger.
With that said if you are working with small , poorly processed digital files you may see problems and a lot of us here do remember the first painful years of digital where this was indeed a problem, no longer.


I am a printer not a graph specialist or internet researcher, to the OP 's question I feel uniquely able to answer his or her question, The reality is they are both equal, in quality and look, I prefer to work in a darkroom with an enlarger because, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and I like the experience. Working on the Lambda is more
technical and straight forward, but when in front of a computer screen crafting an image using PS , this also makes me warm and fuzzy so there is a trade off so to speak.

Jeff Wall sells digital prints for over 1million so I do not see your point about Ansel Adams hand crafted prints. (speaking of his prints, I have heard that Alan Ross is using digitally crafted masks to help him in making prints - and I see a lot of logic in his methodology)

Michael R
25-Oct-2016, 07:51
Bob,

Alan Ross uses a variety of selective masking (as opposed to silver masking) techniques - including sometimes using digitally made selective dodge/burn masks. They are especially helpful to him in the production of the authorized Ansel Adams prints (traditional prints) since this is a "volume" exercise requiring consistency.

Not the same as making digital negatives or digital printing, of course, but a form of hybrid process.

Drew Wiley
25-Oct-2016, 08:31
Probably all that "automated masking" for those AA editions could be just as easily done with a master film mask or even dye or pencil on a registered piece of mylar. That's how it was done for decades, and how Alan still teaches it. No difference if someone uses a digitally printed 1:1 mask; just a different tool choice how to make it. I think registration is more reliable using a real punch system every step; but I'm not everybody, and admittedly hate PS work. Do what you like, what works for you. But I wouldn't really classify this kind of superficial silver image control as a hybrid process per se. Just a fancy dodge/burn card.

Pere Casals
25-Oct-2016, 08:42
I am really have problems understanding what you are trying to say here.


My first post on this thread points out that I have a lambda and I print FB, there cannot be more than 20 of us world wide that do this, And yes in every one of these labs SOUND darkroom workers are using the equipment, I also do optical prints and there are many more worldwide that do this, but on a commercial Printer for Hire using enlargers
we are becoming an endangered species.

I can tell you first hand , that both systems of producing the prints require the same basic understanding of photography, I can only say that the laser light replaces tungsten enlarger light, Photoshop skills prep the image into place in place of prepping the print live under the enlarger. The same steps are
done either way. I am not sure what the hell you mean by Synthetic Print.
Every step in Photoshop is almost exactly the same steps I would make using Split Filter printing.



If you examine a Lambda print under 8 x magnification loupe, you see film grain of the original scanned film based not pixels- there lies the confusing part of all of this asI naively thought that I would see pixels, when I first did this
back in 2001 on Ciba prints we made with another labs Lambda. This was a revelation as I saw the grain pattern I would have expected if I used an enlarger.
With that said if you are working with small , poorly processed digital files you may see problems and a lot of us here do remember the first painful years of digital where this was indeed a problem, no longer.


I am a printer not a graph specialist or internet researcher, to the OP 's question I feel uniquely able to answer his or her question, The reality is they are both equal, in quality and look, I prefer to work in a darkroom with an enlarger because, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and I like the experience. Working on the Lambda is more
technical and straight forward, but when in front of a computer screen crafting an image using PS , this also makes me warm and fuzzy so there is a trade off so to speak.

Jeff Wall sells digital prints for over 1million so I do not see your point about Ansel Adams hand crafted prints. (speaking of his prints, I have heard that Alan Ross is using digitally crafted masks to help him in making prints - and I see a lot of logic in his methodology)



Hello Bob,

First, I know about the high quality you deliver from FB+Lambda... it is a privilege to discuss that with you.


I know that printing FB if tricky and I don't know the tricks, just I know that there was practical problems like fibers detached from paper causing problems. I guess that those 20 labs had to solve such issues because those labs are appreciated by artist that appreciate FB. My informal tests (1951 contact print) measured FB delivers a bit lower resolution power than RC, absolutely not noticeable by eye, but FB is unique and also it is suitable for Se toning... this is what I understand...





"Synthetic Print"


Don't take it as a pejorative calification

What I mean is that an elaborated fine optical print has a handwork, dodging and burning, masks, etc that are not as perfect like if it was done with PS, and that can be perceived in the result, a bit (only a bit) like an sculpture or a painting can show every hit or stroke, making a fine print an special object.

With a fine optical print it is very difficult (I feel) to get the absolute tonal control that PS delivers. One thing is doing what we want with each pixel and a different one to use traditional tools to express a result.

So I see those little imperfections that handcrafting has as the human trace of the photographer, in this sense the PS digital perfection hides what job was done, like a molded part is different than one shaped with hands, this is what I wanted to mean.





If you examine a Lambda print under 8 x magnification loupe, you see film grain of the original scanned film based not pixels


I was not talking about "pixelization" as a defect, at all. Lambda is specified to have 400 PPI, (pixels per inch), equivalent to 4000 DPI (dots per inch). Just pointing the continuos tone nature of de PPI specification.





Jeff Wall sells digital prints for over 1million


I was aware of "Picture for Women" and "Mimic"... but I didn't know the $1 million price, I guess it may be a not long run of copies...

AA made 1200 (or so) moonrises, this is a lot of millions if all have same value, while a HQ moonrise digital print is $10.

I guess that (until now, perhaps with some exceptions) collectors only pay really big money for optical prints, as an art investment. Digital prints can be produced in large series, and all are molded identical, a bit is a different market, of course with exceptions...





I have heard that Alan Ross is using digitally crafted masks


Interesting... I was thinking to do that, by taking a 8x10 negative scan and printing resulting mask on 5mils frozen mylar, I don't know if size will match perfectly, and if optical alignment on lighttable could work, I was thinking in placing the printed side of mylar on the table glass, and the negative on it to align it... Also I was thinking to use a pattern to see the geometric mismatch. This is taking the patern, printing it and scaning the print, so soft can calibrate it, I use OpenCV c++ library to do that with industrial cameras, so that calibration it was an inmediate thought...

Just to save film, as an amateur I value a lot a sheet :) !

Michael R
25-Oct-2016, 08:51
Probably all that "automated masking" for those AA editions could be just as easily done with a master film mask or even dye or pencil on a registered piece of mylar. That's how it was done for decades, and how Alan still teaches it. No difference if someone uses a digitally printed 1:1 mask; just a different tool choice how to make it. I think registration is more reliable using a real punch system every step; but I'm not everybody, and admittedly hate PS work. Do what you like, what works for you. But I wouldn't really classify this kind of superficial silver image control as a hybrid process per se. Just a fancy dodge/burn card.

The purpose of selective masking (whether the mask is made by hand or on a computer) is precisely that - burning and dodging, and it is obviously a different process than creating silver masks.

Many of the masks Ross uses (for his own photography as well) consist of layers of mylar with manual cut-outs and/or shading. They are not precisely registered but simply aligned by eye with a piece of diffusing plexi in between the negative and the mylar "pack".

In other cases he creates the mask in Photoshop. I would still consider this a type of hybrid process in the sense a computer is involved in making the mask while the rest of the process is traditional darkroom.

bob carnie
25-Oct-2016, 08:54
Fibres detaching is a myth , process wouldn't work if fibres were dislodging and for the record I have never seen a fibre print break down that way.

There are many here, myself included that consider time spent on the computer making an image come to life as the same as doing it in the darkroom. Some have never spent time
working a darkroom print, to diminish the computer time they are doing as not as legit, is IMO wrong.
I do not consider myself a photo shop expert, but rather a person who has learned how to use photoshop to make prints that satisfy me as a printer.

I am not sure how I could explain this further other than I have made prints both ways of imaging , and they are both satisfying and both require skill that takes years to acquire.

bob carnie
25-Oct-2016, 08:59
The purpose of selective masking (whether the mask is made by hand or on a computer) is precisely that - burning and dodging, and it is obviously a different process than creating silver masks.

Many of the masks Ross uses (for his own photography as well) consist of layers of mylar with manual cut-outs and/or shading. They are not precisely registered but simply aligned by eye with a piece of diffusing plexi in between the negative and the mylar "pack".

In other cases he creates the mask in Photoshop. I would still consider this a type of hybrid process in the sense a computer is involved in making the mask while the rest of the process is traditional darkroom.

I have considered using pictorico for complicated images that require flash, by doing so you can only flash areas of concern rather than the whole image. I may make silver negatives for this purpose
as they will have better blocking power.
There is a job that I will do over time where complex methods like this will be of great benefit.

I was hung up for a time about making the negative match in print size and how that would work , but then reflection on past days doing choke and spread negs and pos , I realized that
I can eyeball the mask over the projected negative and move it around and it would work.
The negatives I would make would be size as the final print , rather than masking on top of the negative.

I did a lot of on top positive masking for Cibachromes and that too is another skill set of value.


I agree a hybrid process helping wet darkroom printing, what a good concept.

Michael R
25-Oct-2016, 09:15
Lots of different masking techniques from selective to silver, negative plane, paper plane, registered/non-registered, masked flashing etc. Many can be done analog or on the computer. All invented/perfected by Drew, by the way. But we can still use them.

bob carnie
25-Oct-2016, 09:26
Lots of different masking techniques from selective to silver, negative plane, paper plane, registered/non-registered, masked flashing etc. Many can be done analog or on the computer. All invented/perfected by Drew, by the way. But we can still use them.

Michael Drew invented photography, he and Bigfoot worked together on the research .

Pere Casals
25-Oct-2016, 09:52
I am not sure how I could explain this further other than I have made prints both ways of imaging , and they are both satisfying and both require skill that takes years to acquire.




This, we are privileged because we can use both.

I found that PS is easier to learn, bending a curve displays the effect in realtime... we can do/undo/redo...

IMHO, PS has two difficult things, first is having the aesthetical criterion to bring the image to what we want to communicate. Second is to learn to respect the original image itself, some times too much edition is only an unnecessary adulteration. This take years.

Darkroom requires a higher degree of technical effort, what it is done with an slider in PS it can be very hard to obtain in the darkroom...

Pere Casals
25-Oct-2016, 09:56
I would still consider this a type of hybrid process in the sense a computer is involved in making the mask while the rest of the process is traditional darkroom.

I'm also very interested in this approach... is there any information about practical implementation ?

Drew Wiley
25-Oct-2016, 09:58
The basic problem with an attached inkjet mask is that there is really no such thing as neutral black ink. So what might work for tonal control in a black and white print would be a miserable alternative in color printing. If the masks are generated on actual silver film, one can simply tweak the colorhead to print through any overall base and emulsion hue bias (unless you've used a staining developer). With ink application, the hue bias will be selectively uneven. Of course, you might do preliminary masks that way - but why? For one thing, real film is expensive and time-consuming to use, especially nowadays in big sheet sizes. Second, less and less people own serious punch and register gear, while many own some kind of desktop printing device. I still prefer the true tactile approach of real film darkroom work. At the start of each session I merely filter the hair of my assistant (Bigfoot) out of the developer.

Drew Wiley
25-Oct-2016, 10:00
...actually, Bigfoot is the nickname of my real assistant here at the office - and he is really tall, with really big feet!

Michael R
25-Oct-2016, 10:13
I'm also very interested in this approach... is there any information about practical implementation ?

Both Alan Ross's Selective Masking booklet and Lynn Radeka's Masking Kit booklet have sections on making inkjet masks for traditional printing. I can't share them here, but you can buy them from the authors. Ross's approach is part of the broader Selective Masking technique. Radeka's is an addendum to registered silver masking.

Note in both cases above these apply to black and white printing.

Kirk Gittings
25-Oct-2016, 10:23
Both Alan Ross's Selective Masking booklet and Lynn Radeka's Masking Kit booklet have sections on making inkjet masks for traditional printing. I can't share them here, but you can buy them from the authors. Ross's approach is part of the broader Selective Masking technique. Radeka's is an addendum to registered silver masking.

Note in both cases above these apply to black and white printing.

Alan is a master printer. I took my class a year or so ago to Alan's studio and he demonstrated these techniques-very impressive.

bob carnie
25-Oct-2016, 10:28
The basic problem with an attached inkjet mask is that there is really no such thing as neutral black ink. So what might work for tonal control in a black and white print would be a miserable alternative in color printing. If the masks are generated on actual silver film, one can simply tweak the colorhead to print through any overall base and emulsion hue bias (unless you've used a staining developer). With ink application, the hue bias will be selectively uneven. Of course, you might do preliminary masks that way - but why? For one thing, real film is expensive and time-consuming to use, especially nowadays in big sheet sizes. Second, less and less people own serious punch and register gear, while many own some kind of desktop printing device. I still prefer the true tactile approach of real film darkroom work. At the start of each session I merely filter the hair of my assistant (Bigfoot) out of the developer.

I am using silver for large negative printing masks for flashing because of the blocking power of silver vs inkjet, I am not doing this above the negative, Even if you are using inkjet neg for this purpose it is better than say flashing the whole paper to light to tame harsh spots, so either way would work for me.

Drew Wiley
25-Oct-2016, 11:27
Well, I've probably never done as complex comping with film as you have, Bob; but I have used up to eight sheets of various film to arrive at a master printing
dupe. Given what 8x10 film costs these days, I prefer to streamline things as much as possible. Even when I routinely printed Ciba, 90% of the time I could do
it with a single combined contrast and selective hue-control film mask. But that involved a helluva collection of specialty filters. With color neg I only need to mask around 30% of the time; for black and white printing, rarely - but when I do, there is a distinct reason for it. Nice to have a lot of tools in the toolbox, even if you need them only once in awhile. However, I've never cared for flashing. Muddies the shadows unless you're extremely careful. Once in awhile I use a warm-tinted flashing attachment to balance only the deep blue shadows of Ektar film under an open sky (versus a warming filter which affects the whole tonal range).

Alan Klein
25-Oct-2016, 12:11
Regardless of which looks better, you'll get more money from a chemical print. They're generally priced higher in the market.

Pere Casals
25-Oct-2016, 12:31
Both Alan Ross's Selective Masking booklet and Lynn Radeka's Masking Kit booklet have sections on making inkjet masks for traditional printing. I can't share them here, but you can buy them from the authors. Ross's approach is part of the broader Selective Masking technique. Radeka's is an addendum to registered silver masking.

Note in both cases above these apply to black and white printing.

Thanks !

Drew Wiley
25-Oct-2016, 12:56
Masking can be either as simple or as complicated as you wish. It's no coincidence that so many PS controls have been named after previous manual prepress
techniques.