As an analog practitioner it is not something I would do. I have no interest in sitting at a computer to do any of my photographic work. I do silver and selective masking when required, but it's all analog.
I brought up Alan Ross because he's got to make thousands (literally) of identical silver gelatin prints of Adams's negatives for sale and other uses. So any tool whatsoever that can improve efficiency and/or lessen drudgery is on the table. In several cases he's combined many layers of non-digital selective burning/dodging masks into one set so that he can essentially make each print in one exposure with all the burning/dodging incorporated into the mask layers. In this way not only is there less labour, but every print is identical.
Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac
Nothing is cheating. The end result is all that matters.
Nobody will reward you with Nobel Photography Award. If he does accomplish a great print , it is done. As Romans says Finish rewards the job.
but it's all analog
Well, yes, obviously the end result is what matters, but presumably we're on APUG for a reason. We prefer the analog process from end to end, at least most of us. It isn't about the quality of the end product unless we're deluding ourselves.
I think many here have interests in both digital and analog techniques, and not one exclusively over the other.
Anyway, if anybody asks technically how a digital mask is done, I'd be upset with the disrespect for the forum.
But if someone asks whether it's cheating or not, I think it's applicable. Virtually the same results can be made using darkroom ways. But it'll take longer, and some (like me) would take more pleasure from it.
It's easy to get on the bandwagon of taking the easy way out. My goal is to be satisfied with my efforts, and often 'easy' doesn't apply - only how good I feel about the print.
Some tools are great an new. This being one. That, and my lord digi-negs are nice!
In the Lustrum Press "Darkroom" book, Emmet Gowin shows how he uses an acetate mask to do much the same thing you are describing.
I think any tool you can use to make your art more effective is almost mandatory. We all have limited time on the planet, and even less time to devote to our art.
As Rush sang in "The Spirit of Radio":
All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open-hearted.
Not so coldly charted, it's really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah, your honesty.
And, if I'm being honest, I think DigiNegs should be just another forum on APUG, not banished to it's own poorly trafficked website. Seriously, what has done more to revive platinum and alt-processes than digital negatives?
Neil can make some great lyrics.
I have the Darkroom2 book where EG shows quite clearly the way to do this,, having a large negative helps.
Originally Posted by ParkerSmithPhoto
Well said. The transparency material is one of the highest selling items on our shelves. I bet a lot of people on here have great Alt. Process stuff that they can't show. I know I have tons and new stuff we're working on all the time, but we can't go there.
Originally Posted by ParkerSmithPhoto
Anyways, back on topic.
I once used a transparency and a sharpy and hand drew some dodge areas that were very fine and difficult and it worked great! Use what you got. If I have learned anything from watching the art market here in town, it's that %90 of people could give two craps less about how you got there in the image, but rather that the image is great to begin with.
It's not cheating, but it is beyond the scope of this site. If everyone who complained about APUG's digital policies would go to the hybrid site, it would become more vibrant. This is the last bastion for the entirely analog workflow. Any deviation would start it down a slippery slope.