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  1. #1

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    Masks for Dodging and Multi-Contrast Printing

    This is about ANALOG printing with a digitally-made printing aid.

    Just curious... and sorry if this has already been discussed. Has anyone used dodging masks digitally created and printed on clear media to place between the enlarger light source and the negative? It would necessarily be placed a few mm away from the film to keep it slightly out of focus and it might need to be re-sized a tiny bit since it's farther from the lens than the film. Placing it on a thin piece of glass would keep it flat. If done on a color printer one could combine dodging with contrast filtration to take advantage of split-contrast printing too. One could add a simple registration system to make repeatability easy. None of this should affect image quality since nothing is in the image path. I'd think one could extrapolate and modify dodging mask layers that already exist.


    I'm talking about analog printing with a digitally created helper mask. Imagine the ease/speed/repeatability/consistency... just pull the dodging/multi-contrast mask from the file stored with the neg and print (other variables absent).

  2. #2
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Yes, I have done this. Alan Ross has described his methods in Photo Techniques in the last year or two.

    It's basically as you describe, but put a thin piece of milk plexiglass between the negative and the mask.

    Still for the most part I find it easier to make pencil masks. But for complex dodging operations the digitally created ones are easier.

  3. #3
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    Ah, if only one could do it for 35mm... (Well, I'm sure one could, but somehow life is too short. Maybe if I was younger [and foolish enough to do it {considering the things I found time for when I was younger Vs the things I should have been doing}]).

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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    Ah, if only one could do it for 35mm... (Well, I'm sure one could, but somehow life is too short. Maybe if I was younger [and foolish enough to do it {considering the things I found time for when I was younger Vs the things I should have been doing}]).

    Youth is wasted on the young. Wisdom is wasted on the old.
    I don't see why you couldn't do it for 135 format. You just couldn't be "quite" as precise with it.

    And what's the fun of being young and wise... wisdom puts a real damper on sewing those wild oats.

    EDIT: I've been searching and there's quite a bit of information regarding masking above the film but I haven't yet seen anything about using color to take advantage of multi-contrast paper to adjust local contrast, e.g. add more contrast to the sky. I know that contact masking with registration pins has been around for many decades as a way to improve acutance but that's a royal PITA.
    Last edited by Old-N-Feeble; 11-20-2012 at 10:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    Ah, if only one could do it for 35mm... (Well, I'm sure one could, but somehow life is too short. Maybe if I was younger [and foolish enough to do it {considering the things I found time for when I was younger Vs the things I should have been doing}]).

    Youth is wasted on the young. Wisdom is wasted on the old.
    Hey it's not so hard. Well, I don't make inkjet masks for 35mm but I do make silver masks. Doesn't take longer than making a 4x5 mask. I don't use them for sharpness enhancement though, just to help burn/dodge when it would be impossible to do it by hand.

    To old and feeble: google Alan Ross Selective Masking. He begins with explanations on pencil shading masks and then moves on to how to make inkjet masks with colors for contrast adjustment - exactly the thing you are describing.

    He uses layered pencil shading masks and inkjet masks to help him churn out all the reproduction prints of Ansel Adams's negatives for the Ansel Adams Gallery.

  6. #6

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    Michael, I guess I skimmed too quickly through the Alan Ross information I looked at. I'll have another look.

    The story of my life. I'm always too late with any useful ideas. BTW, as a sixteen-year-old boy I dreamed up slit-scan photographer... had been around since I was a baby. Oh well...

  7. #7

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    There are all kinds of ways it can be done. You can also just trim lighting gels and make some sort of
    precision in/out registration device for that. 35mm is no big deal, but it is also possible simply to make an enlarged duplicate neg and work from that.

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I have a darkroom book from the late 60's that talks about contour mapping with tissue over the negative stage to lighten areas.
    Basic concept with contact printing frames for headshots before digital.
    you could go to your local lab and make duratrans , dura clears, or inkjet masks as easy.
    I like the idea of a colour material .. my thinking by making areas magenta or yelllow, or blue , green you could not only lighten darken but control contrast in areas.

    Using the Lambda and making silver and colour prints via PS is where I am at these days.

  9. #9
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    I think it was Elliot Erwitt that would make contrast reduction masks by layering pieces of translucent scotch tape on the negative. The more effect he wanted, the more tape he put on the film.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    Ah, if only one could do it for 35mm... (Well, I'm sure one could, but somehow life is too short. Maybe if I was younger [and foolish enough to do it {considering the things I found time for when I was younger Vs the things I should have been doing}]).

    Youth is wasted on the young. Wisdom is wasted on the old.
    Nicholas,

    I am in awe of your use of parentheses/brackets/braces... what erudition... and a scream as well

    Best,

    Doremus

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