Any practical way to do dye-transfer printing these days?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by holmburgers, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Hi,

    So, in the pursuit of analog perfection, it seems that nothing comes closer than dye-transfer printing, at least with respect to stable color prints. It's fortunately very easy to obtain archive-worthy b&w prints, but color not so much, and thus is my interest in this process.

    However, I'm well aware that the Kodak materials for dye-transfer printing were discontinued when I was 11. Therefore, my question is, are there any ways to realistically create dye-transfer prints today, or a comparable process?

    What exactly is discontinued that was unique to D-T printing? Could these materials be "easily" synthesized or substituted? ("easily" being relative, of course)

    There are some cool resources on the web, and I've looked at them, but you can't ask a website a question, so here I am.

    How about carbro? How do they differ?

    I'm learning more daily, but I'd love to know what you know.

    I don't intend to go out and start doing this tomorrow, but I'm wondering if at any point in my life I can try my hand at this process.

    Thanks!
     
  2. hrst

    hrst Member

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    1. They promise that current Endura papers have at least 100 years of dye stability. These papers have evolved much.
    2. If this is not enough, you can consider Ilfochrome.
    3. Look at http://www.dyetransfer.org/ . They make dye transfer prints. There's a pdf manual about manufacturing the materials.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Both Jim Browning and Ctein make and sell dye transfer prints. Jim's web site shows you how to reproduce the entire process from start to finish.

    PE
     
  4. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thank you, I have been to that website, and it's awesome no doubt. Maybe when I'm retired, I'll follow the instructions and make my own materials (I'm 24). I got a friendly PM from another member talking about the archival stability of current papers & I'm familiar with Ilfochrome. It's good to know that modern C-type prints are becoming more archive stable.

    Still, the allure of the visual quality is what, I guess, ultimately appeals to me. Plus the process itself is beautifully fundamental. A pure expression of subtractive color synthesis!

    I'd like to know specifically what materials were discontinued that are unique to this process.

    Thanks for the reply!
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I just came across Jim Browning's site and I've printed it out. Thanks for the recommendation Photo Engineer!
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Matrix Film and Pan Matrix Film are the primary materials used to make the print and they are no longer made. They dyes have been discontinued as has the Dye Transfer Paper. The process chemistry is rather easy to reproduce.

    In addition, the maskiing films and separation films no longer exist. So, you have to make do.

    PE
     
  7. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I looked into this, as well, out of interest. The E-6 film to start is still made, as is B&W film for separation negatives. The developers for the separation negatives and matrices are pretty standard and easy to mix. The print paper can be made from unexposed and fixed/washed B&W paper, if I read correctly, but can be homemade. The dyes are no longer available, but can be mixed from scratch. It's mostly the Matrix film that is no longer available. Jim Browning has an emulsion formula for it, and Efke made some a few years ago, but there are no plans to make more as far as I know.
     
  8. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I asked Ctein and he said that if you can acquire materials he will teach you in a weekend. He doesn't want to teach people who will never be able to do the process themselves however.

    If you want alternative color processes you might try gum or "selectacolor." I found it on rockland colloid and it looked very interesting.

    http://www.rockaloid.com/products.html#selectacolor
     
  9. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    tiberiustibz, I will definitely look into this process you speak of, my interest is peaked!

    Ctein, yes, he seems to be the guru. That's good to know he'd be willing to teach however.

    I'm actually in the Yahoo! group now, and am in correspondence with Jim Browning. We'll see, it seems like such an awesome process, and despite the difficulty, surely there are some compromises that could be made to still produce SOMETHING that resembles a dye-transfer print.

    Thanks so much guys, it's been helpful!
     
  10. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    You need melenex base, some coating method, chemistry, dyes, paper, and the mordant/mordant coater (I think this is one of the more difficult issues.) If you have the time and money it can be done--it's a very simple process. Pin registration too...
     
  11. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    The mordant is mildly radioactive (thorium nitrate), but in J. Browning's pdf, he says that a plain fixed FB paper can be used, but sharpness will be affected IIRC. Making the film is by far the biggest problem.
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/dyetransfer/


    And special receptive papers are offered/made by different manufacturres.
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    (AgX, I just joined! thanks!)
     
  14. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    here's a video on youtube of the process.

    be aware: its old. and not very good quality, but gives you an idea of the actual printing process. NOT making matrices

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ktz4D13dHtw

    -Dan
     
  15. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    That print "example" looks nice. Well, it should be seen in person, but it seems different to most gum print scans I've seen; Hasn't got the paint character and looks colourful.
    I did a quick search about opinions and found one in another forum, doesn't sound as easy as it's written in their site.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    There are many alternatives to DT and the materials are still available. This includes Carbro and Bromoil. The procedures are very similar but use more conventional materials. The results are less spectacular when compared to a real DT. A DT print uses dyes very similar to Ilfochrome, but with far more control and resultant brilliance. Carbro and Bromoil are more muted.

    PE
     
  17. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    A really well done Dye Transfer print is something to behold, in my opinion it's the highest photography process. It's not something to pick up when you are retired as a hobby, it's complex and takes a long time to master, done alone you have a multitude of failures and work ahead. Even with the materials at hand it is not a simple one, two, three process. Without the materials that were used, matrix film, dyes, film, chemicals, it would take a great amount of time to produce a print.

    CJ
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Once you have a set of Mats though, you can whip out duplicate prints at a very high rate and this is also true to some extent with Carbro and Bromoil.

    PE
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i agree curt

    my uncle used to do dye transfers in the 60s, he was a master.

    i can't imagine figuring you are going to learn it in a weekend
    and rattling a few off soon after that, especially when the materials
    are not so easily found, and it is making things from scratch ...
     
  20. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    PE,

    What is the current situation with regard to availability of dyes for dye transfer?

    Tom
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You would have to contact Jim Browning for accurate up-to-date information.

    Sorry.

    PE