Print Spotting

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by William Levitt, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    I'm still using Spottone dyes to spot my prints, and with good results I might add.
    I'm curious though if there are any other (better) products out there for print spotting. Where I live, the Tetenal spotting pens are becoming increasingly popular, but somehow I cannot image using an over glorified magic marker on one of my prints.
     
  2. paul owen

    paul owen Member

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    William, the glorified magic marker pens really do work!! It is very easy to build up density to match the area to be spotted and they are both quick and easy to use - no mixing!!
     
  3. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    get outta here Paul...really??? Are they water soluable? And to match tones (warm tones/cold tones), don't you have to build up the "color" by using different pens?

    My spot tone cost me a few bucks about 10 years ago, and if I don't loose 'em, I'll have them the rest of my workin' days. The pens seem awfully expensive...
    but you say they really work??
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    my students find the pens easier to work with when spotting RC paper. Fiber would appear to do better with Spotone.
     
  5. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Agreed Ann, the spotone is rather challenging with glossy RC paper. I spent many years avoiding the task myself until recently, I was "forced" to spot about a dozen 8X10 glossy RC prints. I was given a lesson by a master retoucher from the "old school" and with patience, I was finally able to work out a technique that is quite sucessful. By comparison, FB paper is a snap, as long as it wasn't dried on glazing plates.
     
  6. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I tested these pens for an English company long before Tetenal had them. Initially I quite liked them but found that after a couple of years they started to leak so I reverted to the tried and trusted Spotone. If it is of interest the spotting that I carried out with the pens show no signs of fading or deterioration after 5 years.
     
  7. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Hey William,

    Any spotone tips you could share with us?
     
  8. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Glad to!

    The first thing I learned from a master re-toucher was, get good red sable brushes. Then get a plastic water color palette, using an eye dropper or pipette, put about 1 ml of the approriate spot tone fluid (probably the neutral) into one of the "dimples". let it dry out like water color cakes.

    First trick. Wet the brush, mix a bit of the grey, starting WAY LIGHTER than you think, and then, before touching the print, the brush has to be, what you'll at first think is almost dry, void of dye. Then you can begin. The strokes must be feather light. I had always learned to use a stippling technique, but my bud Manfred does more of a light short stroke. Patience is the key and use only a lightly moist brush. Larger spots should be filled in starting at the perimeter and work your way to the middle. Here the key is only touching the spot, and not the surrounding field (especially in the case of a sky) which would then cause a dark ring to be created.

    For small black spots caused my dust in the film holder, you can carefully "flick" it off using the sharp point of an exacto knife, then spot as usual. For larger areas, you can use bleach to lighten and then re-darken using spot tone and re-fix using a q-tip or larger cotton swab. I'm not at this level yet, but I've watch in amazement as Manfred (a real old time pro) demonstrated his talents on some of my prints. Just for kicks, I watched him eliminate the jet stream from a passanger jet that ran through an otherwise cloudless sky. And you could NOT tell it was even there when he got done!

    As a side bar, Manfred use to retouch my color transparencies at work when necessary. That too was a treat to observe. It's too bad that a man with his talents is not really needed anymore, professionally speaking of course.
     
  9. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I use an old ice block tray for my Spotone. I let it dry as described above usually in different dilutions which I mix just using the brush itself. You only need tiny amounts. When I am going to do some prints, I put one drop of water in another dimple and use that with the brush to dampen the dried Spotone as needed. Once I'm finished, I dry the water dimple and put the tray back into a plastic bag. I used to put it in a box but it got covered in dust too easily.

    One thing I find is if you try to match the tones exactly, you're more likely to make a mess of it (I know people say you can wash it off but I've never had any success doing that... it doesn't seem to come off!). Usually, I just aim to knock the brightness of a spot down enough that I can't see it from a reasonable viewing distance. I creep up to the tone very slowly, letting it dry before deciding if it's right. I then get the quality control officer (my wife) to inspect.. if it passes her anaylsis it's pretty good [​IMG]

    However you do it.. unfortunately practice is the key. The cure of course is not to get them in the 1st place!!!!
     
  10. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Right you are Nige. Your description of "creeping up on it" is exactly right. I usually just use a tone 2 or 3 shades lighter than necessary, and build up to the right tone. Often it takes me "touching" the spot 10-15 times, each time, VERY lightly, until the spot just seems to vanish.
     
  11. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    I too wear cotton gloves, but when needed, I wipe the area being spotted with a cotton swab, which is on the other end of the brush. Let me explain.
    Take some ordinary cotton watting and pull it apart so that it is spread out much like an air filter would look. Then wind it onto the other end of your brush, sort of like cotton candy. It'll look like an over sized Q-tip. When done, give it a lick and smooth it out with your fingers. This will keep the cotton gloves clean. The quick reversal of the brush in the hand to wipe the spot will become second nature.

    I also use a lamp with a built in magnifier, you know one of those with a ring shaped flouresent tube. They are of great help providing bright, even lighting, and the lupe sure takes the strain of the old eyeballs. If you buy one of these babies, don't go with a cheapie. The lens will difract and the adjustable arm will not stay in the proper position. I know, I made this mistake once already.
     
  12. SLNestler

    SLNestler Member

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    You might try placing a piece of black mat board with a small hole over the print. This helps isolate the spot, allowing you to work on it without fingerprints all over the print, and helps eliminate glare when using a strong light, which really helps.

    Magnification is a good idea. I use an Optivisor, about $15 from an art supply store. If it looks good under magnification, it will really look good to the naked eye.

    Good luck
     
  13. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Good idea! I'll have to try the black mat board.
    Makes perfect sense.