"Retouching" B/W negs with a Crayon

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by bmac, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Hi,

    Someone mentioned over on photo.net that you can fill scratches on negs with red crayola crayon. This seams odd to me. Wouldn't it just make a larger white mark on the print?

    Brian
     
  2. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    A white spot on a print is better than a dark spot.

    Retouching negatives is always tricky, and I wouldn't do it with a crayon, but it used to be a very common practice to retouch with crocein scarlet. In fact, this material was used for extensive manipulation of tonal qualities (see Lootens on Photographic Enlarging and Print Quality). I would think a crayon would be terribly inexact, but who knows?
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I would think you would have more control over tonality with spotone.
     
  4. steve

    steve Member

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    Actually, the best thing to use is a retouching pencil. Ohhh, my gawd I hate retouching negatives. I had a retouching class, 2 hours once a week for a year.

    Bleeechhh... you really have to have a "touch" for it. I never did get very good at it. Prints? Oh, yeah can do that one easily - color or black and white. Film?? Did someone say - Film??

    The best way to do it is to get retouching fluid and retouch on the back side using the retouching pencil. The fluid will give the slippery surface some "tooth" to grab the graphite from the retouching pencil. The retouching pencils are some special formulation (I have no idea what they add to the graphite) that is gooey enough to stick to the film surface.

    From my experience, (poor as it is) - you need to "stipple" the area in question with little dots and NOT try to fully fill in the scratch. There is an upside / downside to working on the backing side (hmmm...almost a limerick in there somewhere).

    The upside is it the retouching is easily removed if needed, and acts somewhat like an unsharp mask in softening the transition between your retouched area and the surrounding image.

    The down side is you have to not quite fill to the very edge of the area to prevent a halo being formed around the retouched area because of diffusion through the film base. Oh, yeah that's easy to calculate...that's the "touch" part.

    That statement is predicated on the idea that you're skilled enough to have matched the density of the area closely in the first place (haaaaa....haaaaa...haaaa - in my case).

    If it's a really important shot - pay a professional film retoucher. That's what I do.
     
  5. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    Well in the past I've used pencil. But after reading the thread on Photo.net, where someone suggested trying a red sharpie felt tip, I gave it a shot. But first I located a water soluable one, just in case I didnt like the results.

    I had a hole in the neg, of course smack dab in the middle ofthe sky. I touched it with the red felt tip and printed. Sure you end up with a small white fleck, but that is easily spotted using spotone. Overall, it's a method word dabbling in. ;-)
     
  6. steve

    steve Member

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    Yeah, I can see using the felt-tip for a spot. It would be kind of like using retouching opaque and a fine (0000) brush. A light touch to the spot on the film, and then retouch the print.

    I'm just not sure how the felt tip would work for a scratch...hmmmmm... how would you get the tip fine enough like you can with a pencil by pointing it on 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper?

    They taught us to expose the graphite back about 3/4-inch or so, and then holding the pencil at an angle, to scrape it in a rolling motion to get a nice long tapered point about 1/2-inch long. I actually mastered that part! Unfortunately - they didn't grade for pencil pointing...

    The tricky part then was to come down at a 90-degree angle at the correct pressure to leave a dot of the density required. I have also seen people who are really good (like the professional I use), who can fill a scratch with little strokes so that you can't see it unless you're right up on the print and looking for imperfections.
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    How much does your guy charge for retouching? Just curious, thanks
     
  8. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    So Steve, from your previous posts I guess you are old enough to know about the Adams retouching machines, are they any good? I never get scratches since I process one by one, and I am blessed by the gods and for some reason dont get hairs or dust in my holders, but sometimes I find I would like to retouch soemthing on the negative and was curious if these machines are worth the effort. Or should I just live with the light cables in the print? I know, I know easier to do it in PS, but bear with. me.... [​IMG]
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Being a portrait photographer who only shoots B&W now, I retouch every negative I print. I use an Adams Retouching Machine ( a new one- yes they still make them) but it is not necessary. You could use a light table. Also I don't believe many retouchers use pencils and retouching fluid anymore. Some retouchers use spotone but most pros I know use Veronica Cass retouching dyes(www.veronicacass.com). You use the same wet/dry brush method that you use on prints and you apply it on the front of the neg not the emulsion side.

    Michael McBlane
     
  10. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  11. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Hello,
    I have a box of pencils in my desk here at work that I use to write on
    drafting mylar and clear film. Actually, printed on the side of the pencil is "writes on: glass, plastic, film, lacquer, metal, paper,wood, etc.
    You can get them through any office supply store that special orders.
    And they are: "KOH-I-NOR" KOH-IN-ALL No. 1555
    They're very soft and with the aid of some fine grit sandpaper, here in the drafting trade we call it a sanding block, you can get a very fine point. They remind me of my wifes eye brow pencil.
    I've got a dozen here in my desk. If you're serious about retouching and would like to try one of these pencils, I'd be happy to send you one. Send me a separate email. You have to promise to give a report back.

    Rick
     
  12. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Rick was kind in sending one of the pencils, that he mentioned in his post, to me. I had the opportunity to try it this afternoon and I must say that it fills a need which I had experienced in using the two retouch dyes made by Retouch Methods. The dyes are very effective in adding density to large areas of the negative, but are limited in controlling density in small areas. This pencil is most effective in that usage. I particularly appreciated the softness of the graphite. I would highly recommend this product to all who are engaged in negative retouching.

    Regards,
    Donald Miller