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  1. #1

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    Diffuse or blur a small, deep scratch?

    I have a 4x5" negative with a small, but deep scratch on the emulsion side of the negative. It is in the sky portion, in which the sky will probably print as a light grey or maybe even close to white. However the defect on the emulsion will show up as a distracting black.

    My ideas for salvaging a nice 11x14" print are as follows:

    1) Retouch the negative. I've tried this, and it was a disaster! How on earth do you do it? I have Spotone and #000 brushes

    2) Somehow locally diffuse or blur the area? Any ideas here?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM1977
    1) Retouch the negative. I've tried this, and it was a disaster! How on earth do you do it? I have Spotone and #000 brushes
    Oops, I meant I tried this before on a different negative. The part I retouched turned into a huge white blob in the print.

  3. #3

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    There are only two ways that I am aware that will solve this problem for you. The first is to bleach back the black mark on the print. The second is to retouch the negative. Both will require retouching the print as the final step.

    I don't like bleaching out blemishes on prints. I prefer retouching negatives.

    I don't use Spotone print retouch dyes for retouching negatives. I prefer to use red cocein (sp?) the dye can be diluted and built up over several applications. I use a 4/0 brush on a light table with magnifying glass or an Adams retouch machine instead of the light table.

    The red cocein can be built up as I said earlier. It can also be washed out of the negative if the application is too heavy.

    You will end up with a lighter portion in the sky where you retouch the negative (if this is the method you decide upon). So be careful in retouching the negative because it will go a long way to eliminating work for yourself when it comes to spotting the print.

    Take time, work slowly, build up retouching in several applications...this can be learned and you can do it. Good luck.

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If it is a small mark, one of the old techniques was to use a sharp stylus or a needle perpendicular to the negative to stipple the base side of the negative over the mark. I've done this for pinholes and similar kinds of problems. Work with a magnifying glass and put the negative on a light table.

    If you decide to try it, practice on a scrap negative or two first (you might even make a pinhole on the emulsion side and then try the needle technique on the base side for practice).

    If the mark is too large for that, or if you try it and it doesn't work, I'd go with Donald's method of retouching the negative and then the print.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    In graphics arts film I've filled in scratches with a very soft graphite pencil. Even at best, spotting the print will be necessary.

  6. #6

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    Dear Mike,

    This won't entirely solve the problem of deep scratch but Edwal 'No-Scratch" might make the prints easier to retouch.

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7
    Lopaka's Avatar
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    Donald's solution sounds quite workable. I only have experience with pencil retouching. If the scratch has rough edges, it can smoothed slightly with dental pumice on a q-tip (dental pumice only - anything else is too coarse and could cause more damage). That will also roughen the emulsion slightly to take more pencil. Most modern thin emulsion films have very little 'tooth' and don't take pencil very readily. If you go the pencil route, retouching fluid may be applied (available at B&H - about $4) to make it work better. Retouching fluid is an oily substance that will stay on the negative - it needs to evenly applied with a cotton ball on the whole negatve to avoid any missed spots that could affect printing.

    And yes - do experiment with scrap film before trying anything on the negative you are trying to rescue.

    Here is a tip to help smooth the retouching when printing - get a piece of cellophane (like the cellophane wrapper on some cigarette packages). Then starting at one corner, crinkle it finely through the whole piece so that when you flatten it out, you cannot see clearly through it. Durint the exposure, hold it a few inches below the enlarging lens and move it in a circular motion for about 1/3 the exposure. This will help blend and soften the retouching without seroius effect on the overall apparent sharpness. At more than 1/2 of the exposure, the print starts to get really soft.

    Good luck.

    Bob
    "I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    There are only two ways that I am aware that will solve this problem for you. The first is to bleach back the black mark on the print. The second is to retouch the negative. Both will require retouching the print as the final step.

    I don't like bleaching out blemishes on prints. I prefer retouching negatives.

    I don't use Spotone print retouch dyes for retouching negatives. I prefer to use red cocein (sp?) the dye can be diluted and built up over several applications. I use a 4/0 brush on a light table with magnifying glass or an Adams retouch machine instead of the light table.

    The red cocein can be built up as I said earlier. It can also be washed out of the negative if the application is too heavy.

    You will end up with a lighter portion in the sky where you retouch the negative (if this is the method you decide upon). So be careful in retouching the negative because it will go a long way to eliminating work for yourself when it comes to spotting the print.

    Take time, work slowly, build up retouching in several applications...this can be learned and you can do it. Good luck.
    Thanks, I think I'll order some of the Kodak Crocein. Does it go on the emulsion or base side?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM1977
    Thanks, I think I'll order some of the Kodak Crocein. Does it go on the emulsion or base side?

    I usually put it on the base side.

  10. #10
    Charles Webb's Avatar
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    This question has been answered several times and a little time spent looking at old posts can shed a lot of light on new problems.

    The Dye you are talking about is Crocein Scarlet when sold by Kodak and Neucocein from Agfa/Ansco. Is applied on the base side if the film. Retouching with pencil/graphite was seldom done on the emulsion side. I explained this on the last go round of negative retouching. Retouching fluid is more like thinned varnish and is used for giving tooth to the base side of the film.

    The only proven way to hide a deep base side scratch is to use a strong mix of Crocein Scarlet or black india ink (The real stuff) carefully make a line on the base side of the film covering the scratch I use 0000 to 00000 sable
    brushes. I have even used the small Sharpies. The ink on the base side will be rendered slightly out of focus when the image is focused using the grain on the easel. Why is it slightly out of focus when you focus using the grain? Because of the thickness of the acetate film base. If you retouch on the emulsion side it should be perfectly obvious that when you focus on the grain you are also focusing on your pencil work! Thus emphasizing your repair work. Print the best print you can, then retouch the soft edged white mark on your print.

    Another way though time consuming is to cut a piece of matte acetate to the same size as the negative. Tape the acetate matt side up and the shinney side in contact with the negative base. Do the retouch of the scratch on the matte acetate rather than directly on the film base this gives an extra thickness to further help soften the edges of the scratch when printed. You may do several layers of the acetate if you need to. The place the neg in the enlarger, stop down one or two stops, we don't need depth of field here we need to diffuse the retouching. Wide open is even better provided you are focusing on the negative grain.

    Charlie................................

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