What to use to retouch negatives?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by BetterSense, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have a 35mm negative that needs extensive manipulation to print. I was going to make a 4x5 positive from it, do some retouching on that, and contact print that positive to a working 4x5 negative.

    I was wondering what material to use both for more subtle retouching, and for completely erasing an element. I have a bright light pole standing against a black background, and I want to completely erase it. This amounts to basically painting the item out on the interpositve...I've thought about using black fingernail polish. What about red crayon? I could almost just use electrical tape, but I don't want the added thickness in the sandwich. For more subtle retouching in the highlights, does pencil work ok?
     
  2. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    First of. Dupe the neg larger then retouch the dupe. Or print the neg then retouch the print then copy the print with bw film. There's always the digital method using Photoshop make a film recorder output. I know I'll get hell from the last suggestion.
     
  3. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    there is a dye from winsor and newton called photo opaque, you can try with spotone (if you can find it) or maybe inkjet inks
     
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Yes, use to do this for customers. Make a large print, 8x10 or 11x14, or larger. Retouch the print. Then recopy the print back to negative, which could be 35mm or roll film, or 4x5, and print all that you need.
     
  5. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    Or print on matt RC, retouch with graphite pencils against a light box then make a paper contact negative and reprint. You can also retouch the paper negative.
    For examples see - http://www.andrewsanderson.com/categories.php?category=0

    Slightly less sharp but easier and cheaper than copying to film.
    Mr Sanderson is a proud Yorkshireman.

    Regards
    Jerry
     
  6. thanos

    thanos Member

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    I tried RC paper (pearl) for retouching and I found the hard way that very few painting materials stick to it. Esp. wax based (pencils, crayons etc) are a no go. Even preparing the surface with an adhesive is problematic.
    The best you can do retouching neutral b/w prints is using water-diluted black indian ink for the various shades. Works pretty well and on pearl paper the retouching, when done right, is not visible even when viewing from an angle. You can find bottles in art shops.

    Greetings
     
  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I wasn't interested in retouching the print, rather an internegative, or interpositive.
     
  8. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I cannot say for sure, however, I think it takes more skill to work on a negative. I recall reading that using an airbrush was common. The larger the negative, the easier it is to get good results.

    Now, we usually only had a photo to work from, no negative. On a really difficult project, I would make a 4x5 copy negative, print a 16x20 or 20x24, then my artist wife would work her magic, recopy onto another negative, and make the final print, which always looked nearly perfect.

    I don't know all the different methods so will be curious to hear about your results. Good Luck.
     
  9. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Make your enlarged negative. Then take another sheet of film, fix it out, wash and dry. Then, place the negative emulsion side down on a light box, and tape the clear sheet of film over it. Now, do your retouching on the clear sheet - if you find you don't like the results, you can throw away the clear sheet and still have the enlarged negative to try again. Also, because your retouching will be separated from the actual negative by two thicknesses of film, the retouching will be slightly out of focus when projected onto the enlarging paper.

    For retouching, you can use pencils, Spotone (if you have any), Marshall's Spotting Dyes, Veronica Cass dyes, etc - whatever floats your boat.

    One suggestion - try using Dr. Martin's transparent watercolors. You can use these dyes just like Spotone (ie, let a bit dry on a plastic palate, and then use a slightly damp brush to pick up dye to apply to the negative. Using a magenta color causes your spotting to have a higher contrast if you print on variable contrast paper - that's actually ideal because it gives you better control over your spotting when you are working on details. Using a yellow dye results in lower contrast - that may be helpful if you need to apply a wash to a large area.
     
  10. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    agfa also sold a dye with the sole purpose of retouching negatives called neococcine, or something like that, it´s a red dye that made the negative more opaque in the enlarger
     
  11. Jan Pietrzak

    Jan Pietrzak Member

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    If you can find it,
    Crocein Scarlet aka New Coccine (Kodaks name)
    Mix 1 part dry to 16 parts water (stock solution) dilute it down for working this is the stuff us old timers used and still use. A small amount goes a long way. Oh and be careful is will stain every thing it get on. Kodak sold it in 1 or 2oz bottles which should last 10 life times.

    You might look at e-bay for some it is some times used in ceramics

    Jan Pietrzak