Selective masking techniques such as pencil shading typically don't require punch/pin registration, and they are usually used for "broader" adjustments which is why a thin sheet if diffusing plexi is often used. Registration is not as critical as with silver masking.
It's all relative, Michael. That's why old school portrait photographers liked 11x14 cameras - it was so easy to do the smudge or dye work
directly on the film itself. It's easy to do on 8x10 too. But try it on something like a little 645 neg, or even on an attached mylar sheet with
diffusion, and things get rather problematic. It can be done, but it's only a matter of time till the folks in the white coats haul you off to a
padded cell. What is unfortunate is that so many basic methods of work have simply been forgotten. If you browse used book stores, you
can sometimes come up with old Kodak darkroom or graphics arts manuals that show the traditional tricks. Masking can be either as simple or
as complex as one wishes, just like printing itself.
Agree, I'm assuming a minimum of 2 1/4" negatives when applying pencil shading processes at the negative plane. Clearly it is easier with bigger negatives unless the manipulations involve only large broad areas. But the paper plane option is still there - applicable to any format because it only depends on print size, and offers some pretty decent flexibility for creative manipulation. All these selective masking techniques are more simple and more low-tech than silver masking, so they can be interesting options.
To address some of the above posts, in my experience (which is two decades worth FWIW) there doesn't need to be any diffusion plexi used. I have always placed the mylar (or whatever else was available including paper) directly above the glass of the negative carrier. My current enlarger is a Saunders 4550 and the mixing box for 35mm is a combined diffusion/single condenser (similar to a Leitz V35). The technique works fine without adding any diffusion. The glass of the negative carrier provides enough space that whatever you put on top of it will be out of focus.
Nah, not relying on a computer in an age where everyone else does is what makes me happy, and if I am happy, I am going to make my best art, especially when selling prints is my career. I have a strict internal policy against digital and my darkroom, it just works.
Originally Posted by Mustafa Umut Sarac
I like seeing talent raw, not cooked.
The problem with placing something above the neg glass is that it does need to be stiff so it won't buckle with heat. Some neg carriers, like pro
Durst in particular, have built in registration pins. So you could use these for a piece of plexi or white polycarbonate with drilled alignment holes, and achieve approximate register. True register is a different subject, if you ever decide to get into lith highlight masks etc. Masking is a lot of
fun if you like hand-on darkroom work in general. There are soooo many ways of doing it, and various options to explore, even with a low
Anybody remember Minit Mask?
The flaw with Minit Mask was that was generic at best and couldn't be tailored by the color of light like panchromatic film. Another problem was that photochromic glass loses its efficiency over time. But the worst part is that the whole futzing part with the carrier had to be done in darkness, so avoiding dust was pretty difficult. I never invested in it, thank goodness. More sophisticated photochromic masking systems still exist for a limited number of industrial resist applications, but I'd be surprised if they ever catch on in general photography. It's just too easy to do better with pan sheet film, once you get past the more elementary techniques. Of course, many of these options can be used in combination, for those inclined to a challenge.
Hey Drew. Thanks! I guess the technology was over hyped. Older ways of masking are sometimes better.
Well ... I guess I forgot what was REALLLY worst with photochromic glass masks.... You had to flash expose it over and over, generally for every single print. You couldn't just make your master film mask and leave it taped in place year after year. And in your case you'd be doomed... your feline lab assistants would start seeing ghost mice floating around the room after awhile, coming back to haunt them!