View Full Version : Mat Acetate Source

19-Jun-2011, 05:55
Does anyone use this material and this technique for dodging and burning their contact prints?

If so, can you tell me where you source this from and perhaps some tips on how to do this successfully?



Robert A. Zeichner
19-Jun-2011, 06:19
What you are referring to is sometimes known as dodging and burning masks or pencil masks. I have that material and got mine either from a college book store in Ann Arbor or Utrecht art supply. I can't remember which. It's actually .003" polyester high performance drafting film made by Grafix which is somewhere in Ohio. There have been a number of articles written on this topic that have appeared in ViewCamera and PhotoTechniques. They are sometimes referred to as Alan Ross masks since he wrote one of the articles. I've used the technique quite extensively and it works very well. The trick is to make some kind of a registration system so you can align all the pieces in the enlarger. I have several negatives that I simply could not print to my satisfaction without the use of those masks.

19-Jun-2011, 06:28
Thanx for the good info Robert. Have you ever dne this on LF contact prints?

Robert A. Zeichner
19-Jun-2011, 08:04
Thanx for the good info Robert. Have you ever dne this on LF contact prints?

No, as I rarely make contacts from 4x5 or 5x7 negs. There's no reason why you should have any problem doing so. In fact, this technique should make it easier to do any dodging and burning as that's always a bit trickier when you are not projecting the image. You will be able to dodge and burn with the same mask as well as add multiple masks to do more complex dodging. I have one negative with 3 d/b masks associated with it. It enabled me to cope with an absolutely wild density range on the neg.

Ben Calwell
19-Jun-2011, 16:03
I think I've used the technique you're referring to. A few years back, I bought some acetate at an art supply store to use on an 8x10 neg that was difficult to contact print. The scene is a tree with a brightly lit field in the background. Even with compensating development in HC110, the background was a little too hot to print without losing detail in the tree.
So I bought a sheet of acetate and got a red marker and made a dodging mask for the tree, just roughly "coloring in" the area that would cover the tree branches and trunk.
I didn't do the registration thing, but simply put the mask over the contact printing glass and kept it moving gently so as not to create an obvious "burn in" mark where the mask was.
This might not have been the smartest way to do it, but it worked pretty well. I was able to print down the background, while keeping detail in the tree.

19-Jun-2011, 16:37
Ben, I think you're talking about what I'm thinking about doing.

Drew Wiley
19-Jun-2011, 16:47
Any serious art store should have it. I prefer frosted mylar (polyester) to acetate
because it's more durable and is dimensionally stable, making it essential for
maintaining precise reigester if you choose to you a punch or intend to resurrect
the same mask at a future date.

19-Jun-2011, 17:01
If you want to mark it with a pencil or ink the correct material is drafting film.


If you use VC paper then colored markers can be used as contrast modifying dodgers


You can also use a very fine paint brush and use spotone grey and crocein/cochineal/carmine retouching colors.

19-Jun-2011, 19:20
Actually, this is what you want: http://www.dickblick.com/products/dura-lar-matte/