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Thread: Cutting mattes

  1. #41
    bowzart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    However, remember that the pieces of card used to mask motion picture frames are called mattes, analog special effects techniques use moving/traveling mattes and shooting with no matte at all is known as open matte, and one can also use a matte painting.

    I'm sure this has something to do with the usage of matte to refer to that masky thing that is used to cover photographic images.
    Not worth spending a lot of time on this, really, but just out of curiosity, I did anyway. I checked the Oxford Unabridged. My poet wife has a special computer dedicated to running it.

    "Mat" is differentiated sharply from "matte". Meanings for "matte" include the specific cinematic term, as well as an intermediate product in the processing of metal bearing ore, and two other obsolete uses, one being a variant of "mate". For "mat", there is a maze of 14 meanings from "matador" to "mattock" and as a verb, what one does with the mattock; one mats with a mattock. Try that on your prints.

    The mounting of a photograph is definitely, acc. the OED, a "mat". But then, so is that thing you wipe your feet on before you come in the door. It is not a "door matte", mate.

    I found this surprising, because I always thought it was "matte". I wonder if the usage of "matte" originated as an affectation like "giclee" for "ink squirt picture". You know, things have a lot more importance in some circles when they appear to have originated in French.

  2. #42
    greybeard's Avatar
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    You know, things have a lot more importance in some circles when they appear to have originated in French.

    C'est vrais, Monsieur, absolument.

    (And by the way, that masky thing that would be used to cover photographic images is probably frisket.... )

  3. #43
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Let's end the confusion. Most of the rest of the world uses: 'passepartout' (pas pahr too or phonetically pas-pər-ˈtü )

    French, I know...
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #44
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    While I don't know if you can still get these kinds of deals on ebay, I found my Logan 650 for about half retail, new in box there a few years ago. It was absolutely worth the $350 or so I spent for it, because in a single show (I had 14 photos, 15x15 or 12x18 in 20x24 frames), it paid for itself in the savings on having the frames done professionally. It still does a very good job on 4-ply mat board, but it never quite gives me a truly straight cut on 8-ply (it usually wobbles somewhere between the start and the end of the cut, so the edges aren't quite square. I've never figured out if this is a technique problem on my part or if it is an alignment issue on the cutter. If someone out there has wisdom to impart in this regard, I'm all ears!). Overall I've been happy with it, with that noted issue with cutting 8-ply board (which I really like, especially for mounting my platinum/palladium and other alt-process prints). If you do get one, I highly recommend getting the extension baseboard because you'll quickly find yourself needing to cut a bigger than 4" border, especially when matting smaller prints, and the extension baseboard will make it easy to measure those borders repeatedly.

  5. #45
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    FC -- a couple things. As one plunges the blade into the board, especially if one does it all at once, the blade can sometimes get deflected (there is a lot of blade). Then as you start moving the cutter, the blade straightens out, giving one those not quite square corners. One way to prevent this is to start the cut early and as one gets to the starting point, plunge the blade the rest of the way through the board.

    With 8-ply I also make several cuts along the entire line before making the last and final cut all of the way through the board. Both these ideas might help you with 8-ply.

    A little more time consuming, but with the cost of a 16x20 8-ply board, it is worth taking the time!

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  6. #46
    greybeard's Avatar
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    It still does a very good job on 4-ply mat board, but it never quite gives me a truly straight cut on 8-ply (it usually wobbles somewhere between the start and the end of the cut, so the edges aren't quite square.

    My Logan was bought (new-in-box condition) specifically as a way of breaking down 32x40 board stock. I was surprised to find that while the squaring guide and blade track seem to be accurate enough, the edges of the mat board are usually not perfectly straight. I attribute this to a combination of asymmetrical shrinkage or expansion since it was cut for packaging, possibly aggravated by storage on edge in a room with a concrete slab floor and no forced-air heating or cooling. It sounds like your 8-ply cuts are suffering from a lack of rigidity in the machine, but it is also possible that a curved edge is allowing the board to "rock" against the guide, which could give out-of-square corners, curved edges, or both.

    One way to check this is to make a perfectly straight edge using a sharp knife, a good straightedge, and repeated light cuts (a fine pencil line will let you detect any slippage of the straightedge). Putting this edge against the mat cutter's rail, make a careful cut. Then flip the offcut upside down, put the two just-cut edges together, and see if they match. Any error will be doubled, so it should be pretty easy to figure out what is going wrong.

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