Help! Lith printing 20x24 not working!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Rhea, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Rhea

    Rhea Member

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    Cheers!

    I am a student that has been learning about Lith printing this past semester. My school's department is not very encouraging of any aesthetic outside of their narrow focus of the medium, and have been teaching myself alternative processes for the past year. It's time for my Senior Show and I have been Lith printing my infrared negatives on small sized paper from Oriental and Foma. They've been coming out beautifully. For the show I was to go up to size 20x24 and ordered the same exact Oriental VC at that size. I also tried some old Kentmere, Ilford and Kodak Fine-art that was stored in the studio. None of them would Lith at that size. My negs don't work that big for traditionally printing and am being told to resort to digital prints. PLease Help if you know why Lith printing that big won't work or if you know a paper/chemistry combination that does! I'm using Arista Developer now. Thanks!

    Best,

    Rhea
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    It sounds like the move up in size is straining the set up you have.
    If you are using same paper , same chemicals, same negatives, making lith prints larger will certainly work, I am making 30 x40's tommorow from 2 1/4 negatives.
    I would imagine if your time for a small print was lets say 30 seconds.
    Your new time for a 20x24 could easily get up in the 2 minute or longer exposure.
    for that you will need glass carriers.

    but , it will work
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You can eliminate your paper as a source of your problems by cutting down one 20 x 24 sheet into 8 x 10s, and then trying to duplicate your earlier results on the 8 x 10s.
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Quicker exhaustion of chemicals due to larger print area? Just a random thought. Not knowing the process, I do not know if the weakening of the strength of the chemicals (locally or over-all) at any one or more steps would be significant.
     
  5. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Rhea,

    So just what is happening: no image coming up or coming up muddy and flat? Or other?

    Sometimes it's the age of the batch, so even if you've had success with spare Oriental VC in 8x10 in the past, you might need to recalibrate** for your fresher 20x24.

    Some of my best liths were the ones at high dilution that went real long in the tray. Another thing that helps sometimes is to bleach back a flat, thick lith print. Makes it look grittier and contrastier. You can mop or sponge bleach on such a large print for an extra creative element.



    **This means knowing exposure of a normal print, then making test exposures -- strip portions of the full size projection -- for 3, 4, & 5 stops over, then developing these strips all at the same time in the same batch of fresh mix+some old brown. Possibly repeating for a different dilution as indicated by the first set of strips.
     
  6. Rhea

    Rhea Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions everyone. When I say it will not Lith, I mean even after a few hours development in good developer the image comes up like it's underneath a film, until the actual paper just turns brown. Lith develops as "infectious development" as soon as the first black grains appear, but they never do.

    Lith Developer is supposed to be heavily diluted and I've tried dropping it down to almost full strength, as well as putting test strips under the enlarger for 5 minutes, in the case that the same paper bought at 11x14 turned jet black the 20x24 paper just didn't Lith.

    Mattking - I've considered printing on the smaller paper to make up the large image, but that would completely change my concept and presentation for the show. When the negative is enlarged it still prints fine on the smaller paper, its just that the paper ordered from the same store at the same time in the bigger dimension won't work. They must make a different emulsion for that size.
     
  7. Rhea

    Rhea Member

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    Oh and to David - I do like the bleached back look for Lith, at my smaller (11x14 paper cut in half) prints I would bleach them about halfway then put them in polysulfide toner to redevelop very brown. I was able to achieve some yellow halos with the Foma paper. If I ever get the large print to work I will definitely try some sponging. I actually emailed Tim Rudman on his website and he got back to me saying to try the second process lith, in which I slightly overexpose in traditional printing, then bleach and redevelop in Lith.
     
  8. David William White

    David William White Member

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    That would be unthinkable.
     
  9. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    I would think it unlikely that the paper would be the cause of this. Larger prints would need larger volumes of diluted developer. You could try to cut small pices of one of the larger sheets and try if this will lith. The temperature of the developer also has an effect of the outcome. Did you make sure the developer in the larger trays wasn,t simply to cold to properly function?
    Come to think of it, didn,t Oriental change its paper not to long ago? The Foma paper should work though....

    Jaap Jan
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It sounds like tremendous underexposure of the prints to me. Are you test stripping first, or just using the same times and apertures you were using for your tiny prints? You need to increase the time and/or aperture significantly with large prints. Add in the fact that lith exposures can already be long, and you are looking at some pretty long exposures at that size. Sometimes I need to expose 2 minutes just to get an 11x14 looking good. Extrapolate that up to 20x24 using the rule of thumb for making larger prints, and it would be 8 minutes of exposure, not factoring in reciprocity.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2011
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    My thoughts also.
     
  12. Rhea

    Rhea Member

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    Dear Everyone,

    I'm not a dumbass. I've mural printed on roll paper that was 3ft by 16ft long using various negatives. Those exposure times were about 3 1/2 minutes. I understand that I must account for a new exposure every time I move the enlarger. Thats part of the printing process, and of my traditional black and white prints I have had a few of them shown in local galleries. It is not a problem of underexposure.

    Enlarging the image to fit on the 20x24 paper I proceeded to test strip with a piece of Oriental VC 11x14 and Oriental VC 20x24. I exposed them side to side and developed them in the same tray at the same time. The 11x14 test would lith fine, the 20x24 would not. Even when I overexposed the image by many times, the 11x14 would turn black and the 20x24 would not behave the same way though hinting at an overexposed image rather than a correctly exposed image. I monitored the water temperature carefully with exposure times of 70seconds developing for 8-14 minutes in 80 degree water at the dilution of 1:9. The Arista developer recommends dilution of 1:24 but even at 1:15 development times would be 15-20 minutes, and much longer if the water dropped below 70, so I stuck with a strong dilution.

    Thank you all for your suggestions but please only reply if you have experience with the Lith process and might be able to share some trouble shooting experience with it. I really don't understand why the two papers are behaving differently and it caught me off guard so now I'm in a time crunch. They are both Oriental VC ordered from Freestyle at the same time. I'm looking forward to trying different paper and probably a different brand of developer so if anyone has printed with the Lith process at size 20x24, please let me know what materials you used!

    -Rhea
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Rhea:

    I must have been unclear.

    What I was suggesting to you is that you try printing an 8x10 portion of the 20x24 sheet using the same aperture, time and developer as you may have used for successful 8 x 10 lith prints. If that portion of the larger sheet worked fine, you would know that the problem arises because of the change in magnification (and light intensity?), rather than the paper itself.

    As I now understand that you were previously having success with 11 x 14 sheets, it may make more sense to try the experiment with 10 x 12 portions of the 20 x 24 sheets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2011
  14. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Well, if that is what you did, then you have already identified the problem. With simultaneous exposure and development, the 11x14 works, and the 20x24 does not. There is a difference in the two batches of paper. Are they of different ages?

    Have you tried making a standard print on both papers to see if you can get identical results? Perhaps one of the batches has experienced some heat damage.

    I would contact the manufacturer.
     
  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Quick question, what lith films are available at the moment?
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Any film can be used for lith printing, even color film.

    As for "litho" (graphic arts) films, there is some Arista and some Ultrafine, and perhaps others. The Arista and the Ultrafine could even possibly be the same stuff in a different package. I am not sure.

    But litho film has nothing to do with lith printing. Lith printing just uses regular photo paper in modified graphic arts halftone developer. That is, when used as designed (on litho film, not on photo paper), the developer is supposed to produce either maximum density or no density at all, since with halftones, the appearance of continuous tone is achieved through the use of dark dots on a light substrate, or vice versa.

    In lith printing, you dilute the developer to slow it down, and stop the print before the developer takes it too far. This is after you have baked the print with exposure enough that it would be pretty much be all dark if processed in a normal print developer. Because all of the detail in the original neg has thus been transferred to the latent image, the slooooowly working development in an inherently high contrast developer lets you use both exposure and development together time to control the amount of detail and contrast you get. It is actually very similar to working with the Zone System on a sheet of film.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2011
  17. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Wow, I honestly did not know that. Thank you for clarifying the distinction there.

    I've found some on Ultrafine's website, but can't find anything of the sort on Freestyle or B&H.
     
  18. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    The only help that I can offer is to relate an experience I had awhile back: I was getting lith prints on Fomatone 8x10 paper exactly as I wanted. I then printed the same negative on Fomatone 11x14 paper, but to accommodate the larger tray required I doubled the developer and water that I used for 8x10. The larger prints did not have the warm highlight tones, and I needed to adjust the developer strength.

    By the way, I doubt that anyone here thinks you are a dumb ass. Most of us have had enough things go sideways on us to not make that kind of judgment of others!
     
  19. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    My thoughts also. I never thougth Rhea was a dumb ass, but neither am I. I do have experience in lithprinting, but have also struggled with unwilling papers/developers. Next time I share my thoughts with someone, I'll ask for their I.Q. first. Wouldn,t want to insult someone.:whistling:

    There is more than one reference to be found on the web about Oriental VC FB not lithing, after a formulation change somewhere around 2008.

    Jaap Jan
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I thought the OP was referring to same paper , same chemical, just huge increase in magnification.

    If it is a different paper, well in my experience some papers just don't work as expected.
    I stopped using Oriental G4 in the 90's because of the emulsion change so I cannot comment on the current version of Oriental paper.

    But if it is the same paper then it is gross underexposure.
    Yesterday I was making lith prints. 30 x30 mural and 4 different 20 x24.
    Had one negative a bit heavier than the others on the smaller time, and with a concentrated solution, heavy flash I was still 7 minutes in exposure and a 2 minute burn , with hot dev to the side to sponge on.

    Sometimes its not easy.
     
  21. semeuse

    semeuse Member

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    Rhea -
    I've had good success lith printing with Slavich Unibrom at large sizes, but the times in developer are extremely long, so I would use the bleach and redevelop method. I also really like the way the Fotokemika papers respond, but they are inconsistent so I would avoid them in your time situation. The one time I tried Oriental it didn't do much of anything, but I must admit it was not a new box by any stretch of the imagination.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If a similar size paper, one piece from your batch of 11x14 and the other from your batch of 20x24, react differently to the same exposure and the same chemistry, temperature, everything - then you can confidently conclude that the two papers are different.

    Oriental seems to have gone through many changes with inconsistent results responding to lith. Even papers that respond very well batch to batch, for standard printing with standard chemistry, may be inconsistent batch to batch when lith printing. This has happened to me numerous times, and is frustrating beyond belief.
    The most consistent paper out there for lith printing is Ilford Warmtone. You will need to tone it afterward probably, since it takes on a fairly unpleasant green cast. But batch to batch it pretty much works every time, which is why it's the only paper I use for lith printing, except for some old boxes of long gone emulsions that I know will work.

    I hope that helps. Good luck with your project!

    - Thomas
     
  23. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    as Thomas B says, it seems pretty obvious you are dealing with two different papers which are labeled and sold as the same product. While it might not be to do with size, it could be that one size is newer stock than the other and so is a different formulation or paper altogether. I would get some Foma in the 20x24 size and forget trying to fix the paper that is not lithing.