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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    It would really be good if you could somehow combine your efforts with Darkroom Automation and Modern Enlarger Lamps to end up with a new source of Darkroom Automation's timer, and a better control for Modern Enlarger Lamps' LED replacement variable contrast heads.
    As much as I would like to own such a device, I don't see this happening. This project was never meant to go "professional" or commercial in any way. In the end, if anything, it could provide a low cost alternative (just for the relay board) for people who would like to use a computer in the darkroom for this kind of stuff. And as Ian said, I think this leaves more room for people to customize the software to their specific needs.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    jseidl, The software from Curt Palm was a boon to my darkroom productivity. One strength is its "one button" usability. When I use it, all I need is the number pad when the light is on (to enter times)... And during printing I only hit one key - the space bar...

    So heed the call for simplification, if there is a way to make most necessary functions operate from the space bar. I know it would be hard to find a certain function key in the dark.
    This is a position I completely understand. Usability was my great concern with the approach as well. As this program uses a GUI, the settings (times, f-stops, number of test strips, etc.) are all done with the mouse, number pad and drop down menus. However once the "start program" button was pushed, all that needs to be done is hit space or push the huge timer button on the bottom. If any settings have to be done, they can be done when the lights are on. With the strength of my darkroom light, the monitor glow and the mouse (which uses a red led) this was never necessary. All the hotkeys I need, are space for the timer and Esc to turn on/off the focus light.

    Regarding the discussion around overcomplicating things, I think this is a general discussion regarding the necessity of automating things in the darkroom. Most of the programs features can be found in the more advanced darkroom stop clocks as well. The program basically just adds the possibility to store the data in a database. I'll make a short screencast showing the program in action this week. Maybe this clarifies a few things that are hard to describe with words.

    Oh, and I don't think developing this software takes away time from me while I could get better as a photographer or darkroom printer. I don't photograph on the bus or do printing there If anything, it lead to me thinking a lot more about my printing approaches than I would have without it. Even with the risk of overthinking this stuff. So maybe "Way beyond monochrome "wasn't such a good choice after all for a beginner..

  3. #33
    MattKing's Avatar
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    "Way Beyond Monochrome" is a great choice for a beginner, because it gives you lots of examples of what a good print can look like, and some of the ways to get there.

    And my post about those other resources was included to support your efforts by showing that there are gaps in the availability of useful darkroom aids.

    You might also consider contacting both of them - they might be happy to assist and collaborate,
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #34

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    sounds like a fun idea !
    im empty, good luck

  5. #35
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    I can appreciate wanting to create (and actually creating) a computer program for this, as well as controller interfaces. I'd do something that was platform agnostic so it would run on any OS (I use Linux). However, for me it would be a fun project, but not something I'd use much past proof of concept. Someone into computers can take great joy in computerizing many things and seeing it work, just for the fun of it.

    When the computer is down, however, one hopefully didn't become so used to it that they forgot how to do things manually.

    Actually, I have toyed with the idea of automating the exposure and development of 4x6 prints. Sort of an home-made minilab. This would be for quick-and-dirty prints from a roll of film, but not for "good" prints. I'd do those by hand. My idea would also be mostly analog circuitry in case the computer failed, as well as manual over-ride in case the analog circuitry failed. Of course, this is all outside my skill-level in programming at the moment.
    Truzi

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    "Way Beyond Monochrome" is a great choice for a beginner, because it gives you lots of examples of what a good print can look like, and some of the ways to get there.

    And my post about those other resources was included to support your efforts by showing that there are gaps in the availability of useful darkroom aids.

    You might also consider contacting both of them - they might be happy to assist and collaborate,
    Just in case this came across wrong, I highly appreciate your input. The software is just an early beta version at the moment. Not sure if I wouldn't be too far out of my league when getting in touch with those "pros". I'll definitely give them a shout once I know where the project is heading.

    Oh and I love "Way Beyond Monochrome"! As I learn this stuff from scratch, I wanted to do it properly from the start. It's hard for me to judge what are really essential techniques and what's just unnecessary baggage. Discussions here and at the public darkroom I attend from time to time really help a lot with learning things.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truzi View Post
    When the computer is down, however, one hopefully didn't become so used to it that they forgot how to do things manually.
    I fully agree!

  8. #38

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    Hi, If you think you need suxh a complex program, or even think you don't need it but feel more comfortable with it, more power to you and I hope you get beautiful prints as a result. I can tell you that, with experience, your movements in the darkroom become more adherent to muscle memory and , as a result, you will make less careless errors and the errors will become less egregious. I do basically all the things you do via the program except its all in my head and in the notes that I record on the back of my contact sheet. Before I undertake a darkroom action, I take a few seconds and go through the various steps of exposing, burning, dodging, filtration changes, etc. and, much more often than not, all goes according to plan. Sometimes I have to throw a paper away; that's about the worst of it. I'm usually pretty satisfied with my efforts and they are repeatable. But good luck with your efforts. Maybe you will get less formal as time goes on, or not. Just enjoy yourself and keep trying to become more perfect.

  9. #39
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    You non-programmers are judging this from a user perspective, not a programmer perspective. The user perspective to using a computer in the darkroom is "take the thinking out printing and make an idiot punching buttons on the computer". Programming is about a desire to understand a process thoroughly, and use the computer to help that process. It requires learning about the process of printing rather than ignoring them. It's about the brains of it rather than the computing idiot.

    I don't program, but went to college for it. It taught much ingenuity, teamwork, and problem solving skills that I use regularly in all sorts of situations.

  10. #40
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    Here's the issue: the darkroom is only part science and heavily about feeling, art, and the experience. You want less cerebral activities and more innate feel with the materials at a certain point. A large amount of printers couldn't imagine punching in a bunch of numbers for any significant period of time and just want to get to the actual exposing, dodging/burning, and development phases. I know even having to calculate dodge/burn times is annoying enough that sometimes I just freehand a large amount of it. Having to think, excessively, greatly brushes up against the dangerous border of Thinking Too Much.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

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