Masks for Dodging and Multi-Contrast Printing

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Old-N-Feeble, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    This is about ANALOG printing with a digitally-made printing aid.:smile:

    Just curious... and sorry if this has already been discussed. Has anyone used dodging masks digitally created and printed on clear media to place between the enlarger light source and the negative? It would necessarily be placed a few mm away from the film to keep it slightly out of focus and it might need to be re-sized a tiny bit since it's farther from the lens than the film. Placing it on a thin piece of glass would keep it flat. If done on a color printer one could combine dodging with contrast filtration to take advantage of split-contrast printing too. One could add a simple registration system to make repeatability easy. None of this should affect image quality since nothing is in the image path. I'd think one could extrapolate and modify dodging mask layers that already exist.


    I'm talking about analog printing with a digitally created helper mask. Imagine the ease/speed/repeatability/consistency... just pull the dodging/multi-contrast mask from the file stored with the neg and print (other variables absent).
     
  2. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Yes, I have done this. Alan Ross has described his methods in Photo Techniques in the last year or two.

    It's basically as you describe, but put a thin piece of milk plexiglass between the negative and the mask.

    Still for the most part I find it easier to make pencil masks. But for complex dodging operations the digitally created ones are easier.
     
  3. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Ah, if only one could do it for 35mm... (Well, I'm sure one could, but somehow life is too short. Maybe if I was younger [and foolish enough to do it {considering the things I found time for when I was younger Vs the things I should have been doing}]).

    Youth is wasted on the young. Wisdom is wasted on the old.
     
  4. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    I don't see why you couldn't do it for 135 format. You just couldn't be "quite" as precise with it.

    And what's the fun of being young and wise... wisdom puts a real damper on sewing those wild oats.

    EDIT: I've been searching and there's quite a bit of information regarding masking above the film but I haven't yet seen anything about using color to take advantage of multi-contrast paper to adjust local contrast, e.g. add more contrast to the sky. I know that contact masking with registration pins has been around for many decades as a way to improve acutance but that's a royal PITA.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2012
  5. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Hey it's not so hard. Well, I don't make inkjet masks for 35mm but I do make silver masks. Doesn't take longer than making a 4x5 mask. I don't use them for sharpness enhancement though, just to help burn/dodge when it would be impossible to do it by hand.

    To old and feeble: google Alan Ross Selective Masking. He begins with explanations on pencil shading masks and then moves on to how to make inkjet masks with colors for contrast adjustment - exactly the thing you are describing.

    He uses layered pencil shading masks and inkjet masks to help him churn out all the reproduction prints of Ansel Adams's negatives for the Ansel Adams Gallery.
     
  6. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    Michael, I guess I skimmed too quickly through the Alan Ross information I looked at. I'll have another look.

    The story of my life. I'm always too late with any useful ideas. BTW, as a sixteen-year-old boy I dreamed up slit-scan photographer... had been around since I was a baby. Oh well...
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    There are all kinds of ways it can be done. You can also just trim lighting gels and make some sort of
    precision in/out registration device for that. 35mm is no big deal, but it is also possible simply to make an enlarged duplicate neg and work from that.
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have a darkroom book from the late 60's that talks about contour mapping with tissue over the negative stage to lighten areas.
    Basic concept with contact printing frames for headshots before digital.
    you could go to your local lab and make duratrans , dura clears, or inkjet masks as easy.
    I like the idea of a colour material .. my thinking by making areas magenta or yelllow, or blue , green you could not only lighten darken but control contrast in areas.

    Using the Lambda and making silver and colour prints via PS is where I am at these days.
     
  9. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I think it was Elliot Erwitt that would make contrast reduction masks by layering pieces of translucent scotch tape on the negative. The more effect he wanted, the more tape he put on the film.
     
  10. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Nicholas,

    I am in awe of your use of parentheses/brackets/braces... what erudition... and a scream as well :laugh:

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  11. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    The yellow/magenta thing is what Alan Ross is doing (in addition to the layered contour mapping you mentioned and pencil/dye shading) to essentially get straight prints out of Ansel's negatives (all burning and dodging and multiple contrasts built into the various layers of mylar and inkjet transparencies). For pencil shading and contours he uses Dura-lar, with a sheet of diffusing plexi.

    You mentioned Duratrans. This is probably the best diffusing paper I've ever seen in terms of uniformity. I was wondering where you can currently buy this stuff. I bought a few sheets from Lynn Radeka recently because I ran out, but if you have a real source for this I'd be grateful to know. Does Kodak still make actual Duratrans?
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I can buy fuji trans in rolls .. just expensive let me know your pain level, I am not sure what widths it comes in but can find out if you are interested.
     
  13. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I think I've got enough for now but will let you know when I run out. Maybe if it comes in huge rolls or is really expensive I can split it with some other APUG-ers interested in masking. It's a great material even to just use for diffusion over the sandwich when making silver masks.

    Thanks
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Any serious art store should have diffusion sheet. I prefer 3-mil and 5-mil mylar frosted on both sides. The sheets are about two by three feet or so. After I get them to the lab I inspect them over
    a big light box, then cut things down into slightly oversize 4x5 or 8x10 film sizes. Totally blemish-free
    pieces are reserved for contact internegs or interpositives, masking textureless areas,etc, and the leftovers for more casual use, including alteration with pencil or spotting pen, creosin dye etc. 5-mil
    is a lot tougher than 3-mil and less likely to kink. I'd avoid frosted acetate - it is fragile and has a
    bit of a pattern to it which might reproduce in high-contrast work.