Color masking with B&W film - what are people using?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Jin Grill, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Jin Grill

    Jin Grill Member

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    I am completely new to masking and have read up on it a considerate amount. A lot of the masking information out there on masking refers to B&W printing. The little info that I did manage to find on color negative masking unanimously agrees on using Kodak T-MAX as a replacement for Kodak's discontinued masking film. Ctein in "Post Exposure" recommends to use dangerous chemicals in raw states. As this is too dangerous for my liking, I am wondering if there is another way to achieve a neutral hue in my masks as I do not wish to have, as Ctein calls it, "color crossover", especially when printing with multiple masks. Ive read elsewhere that using t-max with T-MAX RS developer and TF-4 fixer will eliminate the color cast in the T-MAX neg. Is this process the standard for color negative printing with masks these days? Are there other ways to achieve a relatively neutral hue mask? Is the inherent "magenta" hue in T-MAX film dramatically problematic when used as a mask in color printing? Also, how are people developing their single frame masks, tray or dipping tank?

    thanks for your time,

    Jin
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    You can eliminate the magenta cast in T-max film just by using Permawash or Hypo Clearing Agent and washing adequately. In the B&W Film, Paper, and Chemicals forum there is now a sticky thread on this topic, combined from twenty previous threads--

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/33868-pink-magenta-cast-t-max-films.html

    People are developing T-max and other sheet films in various ways for all kinds of purposes--trays, tanks and hangers, daylight tanks, rotary processing, etc. All are capable of producing satisfactory results, so you can choose whatever suits your working methods.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think the OP needs to clarify a little David. There a lot of reference to using masking film, particularly colour masking film., then Tmax and colour negative masks.

    Maybe he's making B&W prints on RA-4 paper thats what he seems to be referring to. Perhaps he's taking B&W films to a minilab for printing, it's not obvious.

    Ian
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd read that as using B&W film to make masks, such as contrast masks, for color printing from color negs.

    I checked the developer that Ctein recommends, and it's not really that hazardous to mix. Just be careful with potassium hydroxide because it's caustic and follow the instructions, but if you can handle Drano (which is sodium hydroxide and bleach), you can handle potassium hydroxide. That said, it's just a soft working developer, and while I'm sure Ctein tested many options and chose something that does the job well, if you want a soft working developer without having to handle bulk chemicals, try something like Microdol-X or Perceptol.
     
  5. Jin Grill

    Jin Grill Member

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    David understands my point, sorry if I was not clear enough Ian. Thanks David for your expertise, the T-MAX link was very helpful.
     
  6. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    The colors of negatives' silver images vary significantly depending on developers used. This phenomenon isn't caused by dyes in the film, washed out or not. I have no experience making or using masks for color printing, but can confirm that the 8x10 TMY-2 test I performed earlier this year, developed in TMAX RS and fixed in TF-4, resulted in absolutely dead-neutral negatives. Try the same in Xtol or Microdol-X, for example, and there would be either a yellow cast in the dense areas or an overall brown tone respectively.

    Can't say whether the TMAX RS neutral results would extrapolate to TMX or other films. I also don't think the fixer has much to do with it.
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    litho film works well for me.

    I ocassionally make a mask for c-41, and yes, 100tmax is the answer. Last year in 'Photo Techniques' Howard Bond gave a good tutorial that ran over a couple of isues on this subject, using 100tmax.

    I have also had good success when the issue of the masking was for contrast control of a sky that is blown out. Here the litho, while only ortho sensitive, has worked for me. The nice thing is being able to develop it in red light and dilute b&w print developer. There is no trouble with the resolving power, and it is quite a bit nicer to be able to visually expose and judge density under safelight.