I rather like grain

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by xtolsniffer, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    I managed to find a second-hand copy of Stephen Dalton's book 'Secret Lives'. This was published in 1988 and the quality of reproduction is really rather good - I have no idea how they got an image from a transparency into print in the late 1980's but perhaps someone could fill me in on this. Anyway, most of the prints come from 35mm Kodachrome 25 or 64 and are printed up to about 8"x11" or so for a full page print. The thing is, yes you can see the grain but it is actually really rather beautiful, especially in the out of focus areas of solid colour. The way that the tones change with the small dots is very painterly and very pretty. I used to hate grain in colour (I tend to love it in monochrome, especially Delta 3200), but I have now come to really quite value it. I think I shall take more in 35mm transparency and try to exploit this quality.
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The transparency was drum-scanned and three colour separations were made to form the printing plates.
     
  3. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I like grain, too. It gives film a character and it's one of the reasons I shoot film.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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  5. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Me 3:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    You might like some of the work by Harry Gruyaert, he used to shoot Kodachrome 200 pushed.
     
  7. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    The CEPS (Color Electronic Prepress Systems) like Scitex and Crossfield generally output 4-color separation negatives (CMYK). A lot of art was involved in the creating K separation; things like GCR (gray component replacement) and undercolor removal. In addition, there were a lot of fancy algorithms involved in creating the size and shape of the half-tone dots.

    Scitex started computerizing things very early in the '80s.
     
  8. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    I've just been looking at the Colour [oops Color] book in the Time-Life Photography series-beautiful! That newfangled C22 process sounds quite longwinded though.
     
  9. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I'm not aware of any current color film that gives nice grain, at least to my eye. There used to be an Agfachrome 1000 which was simply
    wonderful, and a slow speed pre-E6 Agfachrome before that, avail even in sheet film, which was compelling, and I can think of a couple other
    extinct species. Of course, antique Autochromes, with their dyed potato starch grain, can be quite lovely. Doing it digitally just seems to be
    a wannabee approach, without the same finesse.
     
  10. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I'm not sure where the 'finesse' was because the photographer had no control over the grain structure. :wink:
     
  11. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    It can be printed with offset or rotogravure. Offset has no dot depth and printing surface is flat but rotogravure is like carbon print and every dot have a different depth and width. If your dots are square , it could be offset but if they are elliptical they are rotogravure or tiffdruck in german . If anyone interested in the beauty of screening interplay , find national geographic magazine from 86 to 89. They are all ektachrome and kodachrome shots and dai nippon drum scanner work. The other thing for rotogravure , the cylinders are copper and they dont wear with 1 million of prints. Offset always change the print quality with short run because cylinders are aluminum.

    All the food packaging to wall papers are still done with rotogravure.

    Offset ink is in tonal control during print with water additive. Water lower the ink quality and rotogravure uses alcohol as additive.

    Alcohol evaporates very fast and leave a clearer dot.

    At 70s or that era , tiffdruck done with coating copper with gelatin and uv shot with film. It leaves a three dimensional relief on gelatin and acid react to thickness of gelatin. Its a metal carbon print with screening.

    I have a article at articles section.

    The tonal depth of rotogravure and ink density is times more than offset.

    Last gelatin rotogravure is at india AFAIK. Now they dont use copper plate and directly engrave on cylinder with laser or hammer and it increases the prices. Rotogravure technique is the pinacle of printing and ink research is massive.

    These guys dont use film separations also and you dont need a laser on film screener. If you find a loupe and dive in to national geographic 86-89 issues , its better than sex.
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Somehow I mistakenly thought this was APUG ... but whatever.... I don't personally classify halftone effects as "grain". Yet if you want to see perhaps the ultimate in "gritty" analog reproduction due to the printing process itself, take a look at color Fresson.
     
  13. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Fantastically detailed answer Mustafa, thanks for that!
     
  14. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    What the OP is describing almost sounds like dye transfer, but I don't think dye transfer prints were easily made from slide film.

    I saw Mark Cohen's True Color exhibition a few years back and his dye transfer prints were beautiful. The prints had a rich and fully saturated fine grain to them -- a nice contrast/complement to the squalid subject matter.
     
  15. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    I agree with the OP. Fine grain in Slide film can look great, especially in the OOF areas. I only project them or see them with reflected sunlight (makeshift lightbox).
    But, This week I'm gonna pass a lab and have a Kodachrome slide (hybrid) printed.

    Generally, I like rather fine grain in colour. Overly exaggerate isn't very pretty.
     
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    What you might have seen in the dye transfer prints was the grain of the separation negatives, not the original transparency film, though
    it could be a cumulative effect too. The dyes bleed to some extent, so this is not the best medium for rendering original fine detail. But I obviously do not know the specifics in this case, since so many variables can be involved in this particular printing process.
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    To me the film grain gives a picture substance. I like that, which is why I enjoy making prints from 35mm negatives.
    Tri-X 400 grain from 35mm looks very good.

    But then again, it isn't that important either. It always starts with a good picture, in my opinion; there is nothing more dull than a photograph that gives me no emotional reaction, and that is printed to perfection. But a jewel of a print is one where I really get into the story, and the grain and all that becomes immaterial, far beyond the point where I care.

    But to harmonize with the OP's post, I rather take a print with visible grain than one without. I think it's something subconscious at work.
     
  18. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  19. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    I have fond memories of the likes of 3M 640T and Agfachrome 1000...great for the right subject.
     
  20. f/16

    f/16 Member

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    Yes I like a little bit of grain. Those modern images from digital cameras that are totally grain/noise free just look too perfect. I like an image to look like it was taken with a camera and lens, not a PERFECT image of reality. My DSLR is an older one. Many whine about that model being super noisy above ISO 1600. Yes, if you blow it up to 100% on the monitor and pixel peep, sure it's noisy. But I have an 8X12 from that camera that was shot at ISO 2500 and it's not bad.