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  1. #1
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Darkroom equivalent of "levels" in PS???

    In the darkroom what technique would be the closest equivalent to "levels" adj. in PS???
    I am not asking any type question about PS, I am asking about a technique to use in a real darkroom darkroom.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    What are "levels"?
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3

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    Tom

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    I would say "split grade" printing.
    You optimise the highlights and shadows so the histograms shifts.

  5. #5
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    "Darkroom equivalent of "levels" in PS???"

    Levels has lots of options.

    For example, I use the blue channel, with a color image, to give a more warm skin tone. I will drop the middle arrow down to 87 or 88 to achieve what I see the client would like. Usually I achieve the desired results in RAW with Bridge.

    In your darkroom, run test strips to determine what you see you like. Take copious notes! Then make your final print.

    I believe the best way to utilize levels in a darkroom is with variable contrast paper, different developers and times of development. Different papers can give you results you may be looking for along with other items I mentioned.

    It's a much more tedious process in a darkroom than on a computer. However, once you have established your vision then you can sometimes determine the final outcome based on past experience.


    Try experimenting with the things I've mentioned and be sure to have an empty garbage can in your darkroom!

    Good luck!
    Bill Clark

  6. #6

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    You could also use Contrast Masking instead of Split Grade Printing. That requires making a mask which isn't so easy though.

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    split grade printing and developer strength

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    The "levels" in analog B&W photography are characterized by a series of graphs showing the "tone reproduction cycle"

    The one most similar to your posted example is the paper characteristic curve, where the negative densities are the "Input Level" and the paper density is the "Output Level"

    Of course, to alter the relationship one uses either multigrade or graded paper and/or developers to achieve the effects. It is also very much limited to the characteristics inherent in the materials and is not unlimited in its scope.

    Also, unlike the world of "sensors" and "binary representation of continuous data", the analog "tone reproduction cycle" has two steps for contrast manipulation, the negative and the print.

  9. #9
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    In the darkroom what technique would be the closest equivalent to "levels" adj. in PS??? ...
    Moving the white slider is setting the highlight exposure. Moving the black slider is the equivalent of changing the paper contrast (filtration). Moving the gray slider, on the other hand, is like switching to a different film/dev/paper/dev combination.
    Last edited by RalphLambrecht; 11-10-2010 at 06:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  10. #10
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Assumimg black and white, the three sliders in the "Levels" dialog are BLACK POINT, WHITE POINT and GAMMA.

    Black point sets that level of gray in the image that registers as the darkest black. Everything below that is clipped or registered as darkest black, as well.
    I assume that would be the same as timing your exposure to achieve max density. Right?

    White point sets that level of gray in the image that registers as the whitest white. Again, everything above that point is also clipped to white.
    I assume that this would be the same thing as adjusting your combination of developing to get the highlights and/or adjusting contrast. Am I right so far?

    Now the tricky thing for me to understand is the gamma.
    In Photoshop, gamma adjusts the midpoint between black and white. It sets the "average."

    For color things get weird. You basically have to repeat all the steps you took to achieve best image in black and white and do them four times. One each for R/G/B or C/M/Y channels and one more time for overall brightness.

    As others have said, I am guessing that to adjust the gamma in a photograph in the darkroom would require a combination of all three, exposure, development and contrast to find the average brightness overall.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

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