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David Aimone
11-Jul-2011, 06:09
Anyone know the secret to doing this? I've been trying with less than desirable results using spot-all and retouching pens. Nothing seems to absorb/stick/blend well, but I do have to admit I'm sort of winging it. I haven't found a lot of specifics on the web for doing this.

Henry Ambrose
11-Jul-2011, 06:43
I've used a toothpick with the tiniest amount of spotting material I can get on it. Just dab on the spot to be covered.

Jim Jones
11-Jul-2011, 07:26
I use a very fine water color brush and Spotone or Dr. P. H. Martin's inks. A bit of dried Spotone on a saucer can be picked up with a damp brush and applied bit by bit. Work up to the required density. Don't try to get it right in one try: it's much more difficult to remove spotone than to build it up gradually.

David Aimone
11-Jul-2011, 11:06
You do this on RC prints? It seems to be easier for me on fiber prints, but the RC paper just seems to repel everything...

I'll try a slower, more repeated approach

Dcohio
11-Jul-2011, 12:44
I have a little artists dish I picked up at a craft store that I put my spotone liquid dyes in. I let them dry out and then use a really fine tipped paint brush lightly moistened to lift the dyes out. Basically exactly as Jim does. I have found matte to be the easiest to touch up as far as rc goes. Glossy is tougher to do but gets easier the more you do it. Like Jim said though start out light and work up to the density you need.

DanK
11-Jul-2011, 16:06
I also use the fine artist brushes (18/0) - and use spotone...with fiber I start with a bit of color and slowly build....

But with RC - I start with only water, wet just the spot or portion of the spot (very tiny drop) and let it sit there for a bit - rewet if needed - sometimes as long as a minute or so it'll sit, then I'll pick up a little color on the brush, and begin gradually adding color and building from there.....IME, starting with the water and letting the RC soften a bit lets it take color a little easier.

Dan

David Aimone
11-Jul-2011, 16:46
Thanks! I'll give this approach a try...



I also use the fine artist brushes (18/0) - and use spotone...with fiber I start with a bit of color and slowly build....

But with RC - I start with only water, wet just the spot or portion of the spot (very tiny drop) and let it sit there for a bit - rewet if needed - sometimes as long as a minute or so it'll sit, then I'll pick up a little color on the brush, and begin gradually adding color and building from there.....IME, starting with the water and letting the RC soften a bit lets it take color a little easier.

Dan

David Aimone
12-Jul-2011, 03:43
I'm getting there...


Use fibre based paper.

NO fine printer uses RC paper.


Ask Clyde Butcher about it. He is only one of many who have found the problems it can present.

Louie Powell
12-Jul-2011, 03:50
RC paper doesn't accept spotting as well as FB. That's one of the reasons it's not commonly used for fine art display prints.

The usual problem is that dyes tend to accumulate on the surface of the print rather than sink into the emulsion. Fortunately, that problem is most often associated with situations where there is a bright spot in a very dark field.

David Vestal argues against trying to spot to match the surrounding field so that the spot is no longer visible. Instead, he promotes the notion of spotting just enough to reduce local so the spot is no longer distracting. If you follow his advice, you won't be trying to put as much dye on the print, and you will have fewer problems.

Jim Michael
12-Jul-2011, 05:16
The best spotting brush on the planet is a Windsor & Newton Series 7, either a #2 or #3. #2 holds more dye, but requires a lighter touch.

Could the degree of hardening of the gelatin be affecting the absorption rate of the dye into the emulsion?

Henry Ambrose
12-Jul-2011, 06:54
RC paper doesn't accept spotting as well as FB. That's one of the reasons it's not commonly used for fine art display prints.

The usual problem is that dyes tend to accumulate on the surface of the print rather than sink into the emulsion. Fortunately, that problem is most often associated with situations where there is a bright spot in a very dark field.

David Vestal argues against trying to spot to match the surrounding field so that the spot is no longer visible. Instead, he promotes the notion of spotting just enough to reduce local so the spot is no longer distracting. If you follow his advice, you won't be trying to put as much dye on the print, and you will have fewer problems.

Its the above.

That's why I don't use a brush. A wood toothpick with only enough Spotone on it to barely make a faint mark on the print is what you want - otherwise you get a blob of Spotone sitting on top of the plastic coating of the RC paper. I sharpen the toothpick so its only a tiny sliver of fiber on the end and there is so little Spotone on it that it really does not count as even a "drop". The wood fiber is just damp with Spotone.

If your spots are much bigger than can be handled with the above technique, you need to clean our darkroom.

jnantz
12-Jul-2011, 07:41
i worked with someone who regularly spotted (rc) prints
with a tiny bit of watercolor paint. it worked
better than spot tone and was easier ...

Roger Cole
12-Jul-2011, 11:47
Use fibre based paper.

NO fine printer uses RC paper.


Ask Clyde Butcher about it. He is only one of many who have found the problems it can present.

Get out of the 1970s much?

Yes, I read the follow on post. Are people really still having problems with RC papers? Everything I've read and seen with my own prints indicate that these problems were solved by the 1980s. I'm willing to hear otherwise, but it has seemed to me that, for the last 20 years anyway, the insistence on FB was more from inertia and "we don't need no steenkin' plastic paper..." than it was on real problems that still existed, at least with look and longevity.

I totally agree that spotting RC prints is more difficult, however.


Its the above.

That's why I don't use a brush. A wood toothpick with only enough Spotone on it to barely make a faint mark on the print is what you want - otherwise you get a blob of Spotone sitting on top of the plastic coating of the RC paper. I sharpen the toothpick so its only a tiny sliver of fiber on the end and there is so little Spotone on it that it really does not count as even a "drop". The wood fiber is just damp with Spotone.

If your spots are much bigger than can be handled with the above technique, you need to clean our darkroom.

Hummm, I'd almost say that if your spots are so small they can be handled like that, you probably needn't bother with them. It sounds so small it would be invisible from a reasonable viewing distance. But then maybe I have a distorted idea of how large a spot such a technique can handle.

David Aimone
12-Jul-2011, 12:23
The various viewpoints here are wonderful! I've been planning on getting into Fiber Based papers, but being relatively new to printing I thought I'd stick with RC for a while, due to the relative cost and ease of handling. When I know the craft better, I'll try the Fiber direction.

In the meantime, I think I will try the drier, more minimalistic spotting techniques mentioned here. The spots usually aren't too large, and I actually don't mind them myself if they are limited in size and number, but I think there's a limit as to what's acceptable in the public eye these days. Though some people say the small imperfections are part of the art...they're outnumbered apparently by those expecting a pristine print.


Waiter: "Would monsieur care for another bottle of Chateau Latour?" Navin: "Ah yes, but no more 1966. Let's splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you've got - this year! No more of this old stuff." Waiter: "Oui monsieur." Navin: "He doesn't realise he's dealing with sophisticated people here."

Roger Cole
12-Jul-2011, 12:27
The various viewpoints here are wonderful! I've been planning on getting into Fiber Based papers, but being relatively new to printing I thought I'd stick with RC for a while, due to the relative cost and ease of handling. When I know the craft better, I'll try the Fiber direction.

In the meantime, I think I will try the drier, more minimalistic spotting techniques mentioned here. The spots usually aren't too large, and I actually don't mind them myself if they are limited in size and number, but I think there's a limit as to what's acceptable in the public eye these days. Though some people say the small imperfections are part of the art...they're outnumbered apparently by those expecting a pristine print.


Don't get me wrong, there's no reason to fear FB. It isn't particularly difficult, but it is clearly more trouble than RC paper, and modern RC papers can be extraordinarily good, at least in image quality. Everything I'd read had said that they lasted as long nowadays too, but I'm willing to be convinced differently.

I have both RC and FB in my fridge, BTW.

wallrat
14-Jul-2011, 16:16
I use a small watercolor brush and cut all of the hairs off the tip except about 3 or 4. I blend the liquid with water and test to get the proper color. On RC paper, if you paint the spot to be toned with a little water first and give it a minute or so to soften up, it will accept your toner better.

I won't go into the fiber / rc debate as I think it's pretty cut and dry, but try the wetting with water first and see what happens.

Oren Grad
14-Jul-2011, 19:49
Everything I'd read had said that they lasted as long nowadays too, but I'm willing to be convinced differently.

Read pages 155-167 in Ctein's book Post Exposure, now available for free download here (http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm).

The short version is, if you want to display your RC prints framed you need to tone them or treat them with Sistan. But do read Ctein's more detailed explanation and caveats.

FWIW, I stock both RC and FB but print mostly on RC these days. I tone every RC print I'm interested in keeping, for both esthetics and image stability.

Roger Cole
14-Jul-2011, 21:25
Read pages 155-167 in Ctein's book Post Exposure, now available for free download here (http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm).

The short version is, if you want to display your RC prints framed you need to tone them or treat them with Sistan. But do read Ctein's more detailed explanation and caveats.

FWIW, I stock both RC and FB but print mostly on RC these days. I tone every RC print I'm interested in keeping, for both esthetics and image stability.

I downloaded the book when it became available and will read that.

But I rather took toning for granted. The RC prints hanging on my wall, made in the late 80s, are selenium toned. (Lightly, 1+20 IIRC, just enough to cool the MG III a bit toward neutral from slightly greenish and for archival purposes.)

Scott Walker
15-Jul-2011, 06:56
Spotting RC prints is definitely more difficult than FB for me at least. I started out with RC printing only and changed to FB within a fairly short time, but I did however become fairly proficient at spotting RC prints. I use a jewellers magnifying visor and a 10/0 brush for the dye and a #1 or #2 for water. I also find that wetting the area to be spotted helps tremendously. I use 2 clear glass ashtrays, one for dye and the other with a small puddle of water. The ashtrays are nice because they have a built in brush holder.:) I allow the dye to mostly dry up before using it. once the tiny dab of water seems to have moistened the area I take my 10/0 brush and get it wet then mostly dry it off on a piece of rag board and pick up just a tiny amount of dye and start applying it very sparingly. I discovered that if I try to match the tone exactly I always seem to make a dark spot so I tended to leave the spot once it started getting close. It is a very slow process and if you try and rush or take shortcuts it just plain does not work. One thing that I always did with RC prints and still do with FB prints is to take a pile of test strips etc. wash & dry them so I always have something to practice spotting on before attempting to spot a print that I expect someone to purchase. I usually spot test strips for 10 or 15 minutes before attempting anything with a good print.

Scott Walker
15-Jul-2011, 08:05
One more thing I forgot to mention, by your brushes at a good artist supply store, buy the best brushes they have and inspect the brushes with a loupe before you buy them. Use the little plastic brush protector and always clean & put your brushes away properly. A damaged or poor quality brush will make spotting almost impossible.

Jim Michael
15-Jul-2011, 08:37
My technique is a little different from Scott's. I put a small dot of each dye on the back of an RC print (the finish has a lot of 'tooth' useful for blending and thinning) and then mix colors to get the right tone in a separate spot. Then dilute, creating a gradient of that color of varying density. Use the appropriate density dye to replicate the grain or dye pattern that's missing using a very dry brush. Finally steam the print with a vaporizer to get the print finish to even out.

David Aimone
15-Jul-2011, 11:54
Thanks for all the replies. There's a lot to work with here, whether RC or FB. Now I have to start toning as well, which I've been meaning to do for a while.

Mick Fagan
16-Jul-2011, 00:38
Iíve been using RC paper and spotting very successfully for over 35 years, with colour and B&W, not a problem.

With B&W I use Spotone, I have enough bottles to last me out. I use a Winsor & Newton 5 zero brush, that is, five 00000 in a row. Itís the perfect size, for virtually all fine spotting work.

With B&W I mix some spotone with a slightly too wet brush, then stroke the brush on the unexposed white part of the RC paper to get the colour and density match required.

When starting out just have the faintest grey and spot, wait 5 minutes and give it a poofteenth more, the white spot should look ever so slightly darker. One keeps doing this until you cannot see the difference, or in fact, even find the spot.

Practice will make you wonder why you worried about it, spotting isnít hard at all. I teach people by giving a very quick demonstration, then let them loose with reject prints. Generally speaking people are surprised at how easy it is to spot, technique is learnt very fast, quality of the procedure does take time, but all things do.

Today the paper from Ilford in the matt finish is really easy to spot, glossy surfaces of any kind do require very good technique, be they black and white non resin coated, black and white resin coated, or, colour resin coated.

To the best of my knowledge, virtually all photographic paper is fibre based paper. Resin coated paper has a plastic type coating on either side to stop water getting to the paper base, one side has the emulsion coated on top of the plastic. Generally, spotting dyes use water as a carrier.

When you place wet spotting dye onto the emulsion, the water has to go somewhere. With non resin coated papers, the carrier dries into the substrate. With resin coated paper, the carrier only has one place to go, air drying. This is the main reason for the longer time required in between actual spotting, on resin coated paper, compared to non resin coated paper being spotted. Just take your time.

Naturally, the best technique is to eliminate spots from your prints by having exceptionally clean negatives. With roll film the cleanliness of the developed film is usually higher than with sheet film, mainly due to handling issues with loading individual sheets in and out of film holders and sometimes dish developing.

I have found that when I can load sheet film in my darkroom, where I have access to compressed air, I can really reduce quite a lot of dust problems by blasting the film holders prior to loading.

Mick.

Terence Falk
18-Jul-2011, 14:44
As others have mentioned, use a very small brush, like a 15/0 or 20/0. Work with a strong worklight to one side. Maybe some binocuar magnifiers you can wear or the ones you can attach to your glasses if you wear them would also help. Always test the strength of the spotone or whatever your'e using on a scrap of the same paper the print is made on. Do the spotting incrementally and the spot will fade away- or at least become nearly un-noticeable.

Jim Michael
18-Jul-2011, 18:30
Duh - I mentioned Windsor & Newton #7 size 2 or 3 and meant 2-0 or 3-0 (00 or 000).