You can find some stuff about unsharp black and white masking, but anything related to color would be
basically obsolete because either the masking film or the output media itself are now gone. But it can
be worthwhile to study such things as a general background. I don't have time to publish anything, as
if that many people were still interested! I blame the web for having become the new standard of visual communication - in other words, the lowest common denominator of quality, and how most people simply have no concept of what a well done color print looks like. The other is the instant everything mentality of our culture (even though a simple mask might do things more efficiently than futzing around on a screen). Perhaps naively, I assume I'm in friendly surrounding on APUG, but without
going into a diatribe of pros and cons, I simply enjoy the tactile side of darkroom work, as well as the
relatively seamless look of true optical prints. For me at least, masking is fun.
Should add - while things like Pan Masking film (mentioned in all the old literature) are indeed obsolete, you can do an even better job with current films like FP4 or TMX if you know the right tricks.
Oh... and if you didn't appreciate my cowpie analogy, let me explain... Most color neg films in the past
were deliberately smudged to create the complex neutrals resulting in "pleasing skintones" under a wide
variety of lighting conditions. The engineers did a brilliant job of this, but then over time have tried to
figure out how to keep certain saturated color clean. But at this point in history, you still can't completely have your cake and eat it too. Chromes still rule for hue cleanliness, but not for exposure
range. Ektar is making roads into chrome territory in this respect. But it can become dirty ("cowpied")
through incorrect exposure or balancing. Once the dirt is in, it can be almost impossible to get out.
So much easier just to correctly filter to begin with.
Wrong thread... ooops, should have been per Ektar squabble, but heck, why not here too!
Here is a little info I found about the Type B papers mentioned earier. This is an excerpt written by Robert Chapman from an answer to a question about Type B papers and its process in Photographic Processes-The Chemistry of Photography Vol. II, from about 1987:
"Type B is the name given older papers based on Agfa technology. The color couplers in these papers are immobilized by adding long-chain chemical ballasts to the coupler molecules rather than by incorporating the couplers in oil droplets. Oil-droplet immobilization is used on all type A materials. To my knowledge, Kodak was the first to use this principle. Type A developers generally contain benzyl alcohol (but this has been changing in recent years) to assist developer permeation of the oil droplets."
He then goes on to give process formulas. The developing agents were CD-2 or CD-4.
Just to put another tweak on the original post, "Is this all there is?..." Maybe, but it's getting pretty
damn impressive if you know how to work the medium. Within this month I'm realistically expecting to
get better prints with color neg and RA4 paper than I did with Ciba. And I was a world-class Ciba printer. I hate the fumes of RA4 chem (hence I develop in drums outdoors), but the results are sooooo
encouraging. Couldn't have said that even a few years ago. It makes inkjet look like fingerpainting.
Originally Posted by noacronym
Well it's not. And thank Christ for that. ;)
Modern C41/RA4 is not that of yesterday. Most of the fading reputation actually comes, I think, from earlier EP2. My high school graduation photo from 1981, for example, is badly faded and looks like someone splattered it with light red/magenta dots. I scanned it and restored it tremendously with just a few clicks (far from a professional job but family is pleased) and printed an inkjet from it. My parents have the inkjet print hanging in the living room - basic consumer inkjet from an old Epson 640 at that. Modern materials certainly don't fade like that, though I don't know if they yet compare to Ciba.
I too am glad Koda/Cibachrome are not the only color left. I'd rather have what we have than that - but I'd love to have that combo again, or just Astia and Ciba. Ok, my moment for sighing has passed, I gladly move on from the wistful look back now.
Let's just be grateful that most of Aunt Maude's vacation pictures have faded into oblivion, and also let us hope that most of today's artsyfied inkjet abominations will also fade prompty. Ciba certainly fades if subjected to strong UV commercial lighting or direct sunlight. It seems to be very permanent in the dark. The current Crystal Archive II medium is allegedly a lot more display permanent than Ciba, but
will probably start to discolor within several decades due to residual couplers, regardless of conditions
(except perhaps hermetically frozen). It therefore represents a good value. We all "fade" too.