Spotting

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by kjsphoto, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Wht is te best way to spot. I am now using Oriental Segull paper which has a glossy surface. It is fiber base but it is hard to spot where the Forte semi mat was simple.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Kev
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Spotting is an easy skill to learn, and causes a dramatic improvement in the quality of prints.

    I use either Spottone (no longer made) or Marshall's dyes. Both come as liquid concentrates. My preferred approach is to place a few drops on a plastic "pallate", allow it to dry, and then use a barely damp brush to pick up a bit of the color for application to the print. I use a plastic makeup kit as a pallate - so I am able to use the same drops of dye for many months. My bottles of Spottone are more than 25 years old and this point and I expect them to last me many more years.

    By the way, an advantage of Marshalls over Spottone is that Marshall's comes in bottles with dropper caps, whereas you need to find a separate dropper for use with Spottone.

    Spottone comes in six colors, and you mix drops to achieve a color that is close to the final image tone of the paper. I was in a workshop many years ago with David Vestal who said that the important thing about spotting is to eliminate the local contrast of a bright white spot against a darker background - if that objective is met, it hardly matters that the color of the spotting dye doesn't match the print color exactly.

    I use distilled water mixed with just a bit of PhotoFlo to dampen my spotting brushes. The PhotoFlo eliminates surface tension so that the water doesn't form drops on the print.

    The objective in spotting is to lay down tiny dots of dye - don't try to brush the color on, but rather use a stippling motion to apply multiple dots. You can blend in additional water to reduce the intensity of the dye - and it's a good idea to use a dye that is slightly less initense than required, and build up intensity through multiple applications rather than trying to match the gray tone of the print in one application.

    You need a bright light for spotting, and preferably one that can be above and slightly behind the print - so that you see reflections of the brush on the surface of the print. If you have a very small spot to address, you can then see the brush AND its reflection - and bring them together at the spot.

    You will also need magnifiers for spotting. I use inexpensive drugstore reading glasses - another Vestal trick. I get them a diopter or so stronger than my reading bifocals.

    Finally, you need to practice - it's easier to do than to describe - something that becomes obvious as you do it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2005
  3. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I use essentially the same technique Monophoto described so thoroughly above.

    About the only thing he didn't mention is to check your brush under good magnification. Most likely, you'll see some jagged tips. If so, try passing the tip of the brush quickly through a candle (or lighter) flame while rolling the brush between thumb and index finger. That will round off the tips of the hairs, making the brush much easier to use.
     
  4. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Great information here guys, did not ask the question but appreciate the response none the less.
     
  5. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Awesome advice and thank you very much!

    Kev
     
  6. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    My understanding is that Retouch Methods, the manufacturer of Spotone went out of business in 2004.
     
  7. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    i believe the owner died, which lead to an early closing of the company
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Search APUG on "spotting" there are lots of good discussions on the topic.
     
  9. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    One more question on spotting. I noticed one of my negs had dust ( clear mark on neg ) so it leaves a black mark on print, ERR. Do I scrape the print with the exacto when it is wet or dry? Or is there another method of doing this? If wet do I soak the whole print all ever scrape that part then let dry again?

    What is the best way to fix this?

    I took a match to on of my brushes. I just realized the thing was made out of synthetic material like a plastic. LOL! I could have sworn is was a sable brush. Well saved it anyway, swoo that was close.

    Thanks again,

    Kev

    Thanks,

    Kev
     
  10. KenM

    KenM Member

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    You etch the print once it's been mounted, or if yo don't mount your prints, when you're ready to hinge-moun it. It most certainly has to be dry.

    You could also spot the negative, and instead of etching the mounted print, you spot the light spot created by spotting the neg.

    Etching is pretty easy, but you do have to be careful. Gentle is the key word, and make sure you take your time. Don't try to dig the spot out of the emulsion; rather, gently scrape the emulsion until you start to lighten the dark spot.
     
  11. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

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    I've heard that the guy made it in his basement.
    Sad to hear of anyone's passing (most anyone's) but I wouldn't have tried Marshall's if Spotone was still available. I like Marshall's better; besides the supplied eyedroppers, the colors are easier to blend and use. Dean
     
  12. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    There are at least three ways to fix this - maybe four.

    1. Knifing (etching) the print to remove some of the offending black area. This is done on a dry print. Knifing works as long as the area to be fixed is small. A major problem with it is that if you go too far, you have to then spot the etched area to match the surround - and because etching damages the surface of the print, it's hard to spot without being obvious that corrections have been made.

    2. Bleaching the print to reduce the density of the black. This is a bit tedious, but it does work. I use sharpened toothpicks (use sandpaper to make a really sharp point). Soak them in a ferrricyanide solution. Take the print out of the fix, blow on it to remove the surface moisture, and then touch the end of the toothpick to the offending black spot. After several applications, you will noticed the dot starting to lighten. When you have reduced it enough, put the print back into the fix and agitate vigorously, and then move it to the rinse tray. You may find that the spot lightens too much, but its possible to spot it back after the print dries.

    3. If you are working with a large negative, you can dye-dodge the negative. To do this, tape a fixed and washed sheet of film to the back (emulsion side) of the negative. Using a fine brush (your spotting brush works fine) apply spotting dye to this negative over the area of lower density that is the source of the black spot on the print. Actually, I find that it's helpful to use a colored dye for this, and have a bottle of Marshall's magenta retouching dye that I use for this purpose. The dye spot on the clear film acts as a localized dodging spot directly over the area that is too dark in the print. The reason for applying the dye to a separate sheet of film taped to the negative is to get a little physical separation between the image in the emulsion and the dye spot - that helps diffuse the edges of the dye spot. Also, if you make a mistake, you can simply remove the dyed film, rewash it to remove the dye and then start over.

    4. The fourth approach is one that I have never tried. These are solutions that you apply to the print with a brush that supposedly removes dark spots. I know that Retouch Methods (the makers of Spottone) used to offer something, and Marshalls may have something also.