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Thread: Spotting prints

  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Spotting prints

    I hate to even start, since I would rather just cross my fingers and try to keep my negatives spot free. But, I have at least one negative that has a spot in the emulsion. I see that Freestyle has various sizes of brushes, and dyes, and also has pens. What kinds of kit equipment do you find the most useful?

  2. #2
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Freestyle has a nice set of six spot tones that is very reasonably priced and includes a storage box. I suggest the six, because every paper has a different tone, and it also helps to match toners. I have always heard that here is no such thing as a *truly black* dye in existence. All spot tones will have at least a tiny bit of a tint (variations of blue, brown, green, purple, etc.). It especially shows up in spot tone, where you water it down a whole lot to use it.

    I would also get a fine-tipped brush. I have never needed anything else. You don't paint the stuff on. I have had the best success placing very tiny, light colored drops on bit by bit (by bit by bit by bit by bit....); simulating grains, building up to the right tone of grey gradually using a light tone, and filling any defects with a lot of tiny spots, rather than filling a defect entirely on one or a few passes. It is like exacting surgery, not painting. It takes forever, but the results are worth it.

    Also, be sure to judge your work from a normal viewing distance. The goal is not to perfectly eliminate every defect and perfectly blend every repair so it looks exactly like silver, but just to make them unnoticeable to viewers. If you are judging your work with your eye right up against the print, or under a magnifier, you will be endlessly frustrated and will actually probably end up overdoing it in the quest for seamless perfection.

    Additionally, even one drop of the stuff will last you a VERY long time. Get a plastic palette with six little cups from an art store. When you get the spot tone, you can put a drop in each cup; each from a different bottle of spot tone. Let it dry and stow it for later use. Then you don't even need to open the bottles until you have used up all that is there. The set will likely outlive you, me, and everyone else on APUG.

    I usually have to mix to get the right tone. Usually I mix neutral (which is actually *quite* blue IMO) with sepia or selenium to match Ilford Warmtone FB glossy or Emaks. Even for Oriental paper, I still need to warm up the "neutral" spot tone.

    Yet another thing: Start saving your reject prints for practice, if you don't already. You should always make practice runs on reject prints first, IMO.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 03-28-2009 at 04:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I couldn't find any 6-tone kits on Freestyle. Do you mean this 5-tone kit?

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/131325...or?cat_id=2504

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    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Hi,

    My kit is six bottles. it was $17.99. It includes everything in the kit to which you linked, plus Sepia Tone. Honestly, I can't see myself ever using Blue Black, Olive Tone, or Brown Tone, except perhaps very mildly as mixers or on heavily toned prints. It is too bad the five bottle kit got rid of Sepia Tone as opposed to Blue Black or Olive Tone.

    If you call Freestyle, they may still have the six bottle kit. It is called Marshall's Spot All (Kit 6BT). The side of the box says MS6BT and BKA. The SKU below the bar code is 96727 51704. They do mention that the kit on the Website replaces another kit, however the number they list cannot be found on the kit that I have, so maybe it replaces another kit.

    They also may have a three bottle kit, and you can certainly purchase individual bottles. Ask them what all they carry when you are on the phone. I would say the essentials are Neutral Black and Sepia Tone. You can probably mix most of the tones you need using those two.

    BTW, now that I have my kit out, I can see that my favorite brush is called an 18/0, and I like the one with a fat handle. I don't think most recommend a brush this fine, but it is my favorite. I also have 5/0, 3/0, and 00, but they never see any use.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 03-28-2009 at 04:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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    I must have gotten the last of the "Spotone" branded spotting dyes from before they went out of business. The new stuff is marketed by Marshalls now, and is called "Spot All." Whatever. This stuff lasts a long time because a very tiny bit is all you need. Water it down a lot, lighter than the lightest tone you'll need and then, like 2F/2F wrote, apply it in tiny little spots, little by little, until the spot is no longer obvious. Over do it and it gets really ugly, really fast. Fortunately, you can reverse it. Simply soaking the print in clean water will remove the dye in 10 minutes or so. Of course, you need to dry it and start over. Resin coated papers are tricky to spot, since they repel water from everywhere except the gelatin. Spotting fiber based papers is, by comparison, a piece of cake.
    Frank Schifano

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    I started out with putting some dye onto a piece of plasic, smear it out a bit and let it dry.
    Then I would take a 0000 brush with short hairs and build-up the spots needed.
    Removing dye is a pain, it is better to layer it and let it dry inbetween.
    Use distilled water to wet your brush and dried dye.
    Protect the part of the print that you are not working on with a piece of paper.

    That is all I believe.

    Peter

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    The pens can be effective too. I've got a set of Spot-Tone pens, and they work better for me than the dies and a brush, but that has more to do with me,than them.

    Spotting is in my mind the only justification for digital .

    Matt

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    2/F's point about judging from a normal viewing distance is crucial. When you first try spotting using a magnifier you tend to overdo it. My first few times ended up being days! I read somewhere once that if you're not careful, you end up trying to spot the grain out of the entire print! By my early experience that's no so far fetched!

    Bob H
    "Why is there always a better way?"

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    Spotting, I don't want to do it, but I have to.

    Part 1 is good spotting materials Spot-tone is no more. So Marshalls is trying to fit the bill. In the work that I, my friends, and students have done. Marshalls just is not the thing. Some of us have seen color shifts in time or after dry mounting, so not good. So in working with Freestyle we looked for a new product. Only it was not new, just not a photo item. Peerless products have been around for a long time. And I feel that they are some of the best for spotting.

    First they come dry or wet, sheets or liquid. I have used them my self and also in the classroom. They work. For you student types they even make a student kit. (developed by Ford Lowcock SMC and myself SMC/GC)

    Part 2 a good brush again Freestyle sent me some brushes to try and did we find brushes I liked the Loew-Cornell ones just pick one or two from the catalog 10/0 or 18/0 are my choice to use.

    Part 3 a good work space with good light and I use clip on fold up magnifiers on my regular glasses. That works just great for me.

    Oh the last part, put on some good music and get a glass of (ok if you don't drink). And just get to it

    Jan Pietrzak

  10. #10
    yardkat's Avatar
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    The pens can be effective too. I've got a set of Spot-Tone pens, and they work better for me than the dies and a brush, but that has more to do with me,than them.
    Ditto. I have much better luck with the pens, even on toned prints. I have the Marshalls set, and find that the colored dyes are really difficult. Trying to match those things to the tone of the prints usually ends up looking worse than if I had just used the plain colored one. I had an ancient bottle of Spottone which I liked way better than the Marshalls, but sadly I dropped it on the floor and it broke.
    I think the idea isn't to match exactly the tone, but just to obscure the dustspot (at viewing distance) so that your eye doesn't automatically go to the white spot on the print.

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