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  1. #11
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    There were two dye transfer processes.

    One use Matrix Film which was blue sensitive only and required a set of separation negatives made from an original transparency. It also required contrast and color correction masks in many cases. This is the process re-created by Jim Browning, which is excellent BTW.

    The second uses Pan Matrix Film which is pancrhomatic and which prepares the mats directly from color negatives in one step. This is the process used by Ctein.

    Both Jim and Ctein are great creative artists and masters of analog color printing.

    PE

  2. #12

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    falotico - there's tons of chatter about this subject over on the DT forum. It isn't really the sharpest process out there, by any means, but
    prolonged transfer times just slow down the entire printing session and allow excess dye bleeding. Some people even ferrotyped them right
    after the last transfer to quickly dry them. The idea is to let all the dye transfer off the matrix. This can differ a little from dye to dye; but once it occurs, you then move on to the next color of the transfer. How much dye the respective matrices absorb is determined by the acidity of the baths and numerous other tricks which make the process so flexible. To my knowledge, Ctein worked exclusively in the pan matrix process. I haven't visited him for awhile, but even the look of those prints is somewhat different than those made by the conventional blue-sensitive process, which is to be expected, because the starting point is itself so different (chromes vs negs), and the controls in between are likewise different. But even the dyes involved can be specially tailored for specific subject matter - the ultimate example of this
    is how different dye sets would be chosen for particular Technicolor movies, then they would match the decor all filming, and whole set design to coordinate with it. ... sometimes I get totally distracted from the whole plot line of some classic old Technicolor movie just by
    observing the skill of the filming. Some dye transfer printers like Ctein stuck strictly with official Kodak dyes. Others fiddled around quite a
    bit. This potentially affected archival considerations, but that's a relatively contentious subject in its own right.

  3. #13

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    Minor corrections

    Hi, John!

    I want to correct a couple of minor technical points, just so no one gets confused as to what I'm doing/have done.

    I'm not doing “laser prints,” these days; I'm doing inkjet prints. So, the two kind of prints I offer are dye transfer prints from my existing inventory (with no new ones being made) and inkjet prints on an ongoing basis.

    Regarding matrix exposure, I didn't just increase the exposure time for one matrix when necessary, it was for all three. With long exposures, they all need to receive equal exposures or else reciprocity failure can cause color crossover (true for both Pan and Ortho Matrix Film).

    Regarding the discontinuance of dye transfer supplies, it wasn't all the supplies that I was buying the majority of towards the end, it was only Pan Matrix Film, which was discontinued several years before the rest of the dye transfer supplies.


    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    -- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    -- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
    ======================================

  4. #14

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    Dear Drew,

    I think we may be into a bit of semantic confusion. It depends on what you call “excessive.” With Kodak materials, I don't find any difference in print sharpness between the minimum time it takes the die to fully transfer from the matrix to the paper and twice that time. None whatsoever. So it really is insensitive to transfer times once it goes to completion. The process is very sensitive to the pH of the dye baths, but not so much in the transfer stage. Conversely, temperature seems to have no effect in the dye bath stage, but colder easels make it harder to transfer the die to the print. Again, though, temperature tolerances are pretty wide; at least 10 or 20°. Compared to other darkroom processes, this is ridiculously forgiving.

    By the way, I actually found someone within driving distance who wanted to buy my enlarging equipment! I'm amazed. That gets rid of most of the heavy, pain-to-ship stuff. Still got lots of small stuff to dispose of , not to mention quite a few boxes of Pan Matrix Film and jugs of Kodak dye… But gradually the darkroom is disappearing. Yay!


    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    -- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    -- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
    ======================================

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ctein View Post
    Hi, John!

    I want to correct a couple of minor technical points, just so no one gets confused as to what I'm doing/have done.

    I'm not doing “laser prints,” these days; I'm doing inkjet prints. So, the two kind of prints I offer are dye transfer prints from my existing inventory (with no new ones being made) and inkjet prints on an ongoing basis.
    Are you finding the results of your digital process to be any more or less satisfying than the work you've done with dye transfer? I ask because after seeing the Eggleston retrospective I was most blown away by the inkjet prints which appeared to have an even more lovely color rendition than the dye transfers.

  6. #16

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    I personally thought Eggleston's work lost all its charm and "authenticity" once it went inkjet or even big. It was very off-the-cuff and needed something small and intimate. Assembly processes in general are never particularly sharp compared to conventional options, though I guess it's all relative, and a DT print might look sharp compared to a gum print, for example. The power of dye transfer is really in the richness and transparency of the dyes, and not ultimate detail, which never existed to much extent in Eggleston's work anyway. I find the transparency lacking in inkjet, which are obviously opaque inks composed of both dyes (lakes) and pigments. But to each his own. Dye transfer varied wildly in quality, depending on the practitioner. A lot of the clock-in/clock-out commercial examples were pretty disappointing. Eggleston himself is not a printmaker, so it's hard to know what his personal expectations were.

  7. #17

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    A related note is how all hell broke loose once some of Eggleston's images were reissued in inkjet, which certainly appeared to be a marketing
    decision trying to squeeze more juice out of the lemon by getting around the "limited edition" stipulations of the previous DT portfolios. Since
    much of his work is currently considered "collectible", previous collectors were infuriated. Dye transfer is itself geared to serial prints, but certainly not at the ease or inexpensiveness of inkjet. This is more an ethical issue than a technical one. But the fact that DT's are much more costly to produce, hence inherently rarer, gives them a perceived value in the eyes of some collectors much higher than a common inkjet. That's why some of us don't even mess around in that realm. I print all my own work, and simply don't have time to mass produce any single image, even if I had the inclination to do so. People foolish enough to collect for "investment" take their chances.

  8. #18

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    Ctein - please remember you were working with official Kodak papers. Those of us mordanting our own paper have somewhat different parameters. I certainly don't have enough track record yet to pin down all the relevant variables, but the dyes don't seem to "anchor" to hand mordanted papers in quite the same way. Even the time between mordanting and actual printing seems to be an important factor, just as is was in the early days when things like M-1 alum mordanting was common. I have no idea what is specifically being done with the current German transfer paper, but I'm pretty certain that the actual manner in which Kodak installed the thorium nitrate into their commercial paper had a lot to do with its storage properties for convenient use. Adding uranyl nitrate right at the time of mordanting seems to help, but it certainly isn't the same thing.

  9. #19

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    transfer time: DT transfers to "completion" -- if you roll the mat down, count to 3, then pull it back up, you will have a mottle -- not to 'completion.'

    Kodak DT paper was two layered. there were two mordants in the paper. it also has a noticeable color cast to it. one reason folks back in the day, used other paper (BW fixed out). Several small labs had internal preferences, but the retouchers weren't happy since those papers didn't respond the same to their magic wands...

  10. #20

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    The yellowishness might have been due to the type of gelatin used, not just the mordant present. Tranfer times are typically in the range of
    several minutes per dye, not seconds. There are some ongoing hypotheses about gelatin too, even among those of us using fixed-out paper, regarding what is best. Jillions of variables, really. The one key variable I can't pin down yet is simply enough free time to do this kind of printing! But I find it appealing from the tactile standpoint.

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