I had the great pleasure of attending Alan Ross's 1:1 workshop, and we focused on masking a lot. I work with computers, so I preferred to focus on pencil masking, using both neutral, and coloured ones. The results were impressive, especially for dodging small areas. Alan has also showed me the preparation of an inkjet mask, which I hate to admit seemed easier than pencil and scissors if an area needed burning. I fully recommend anyone interested in this gets his article and kit: http://alanross.photoshelter.com/gal...000dZzCEfz5doo

Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James View Post
To address some of the above posts, in my experience (which is two decades worth FWIW) there doesn't need to be any diffusion plexi used. I have always placed the mylar (or whatever else was available including paper) directly above the glass of the negative carrier. My current enlarger is a Saunders 4550 and the mixing box for 35mm is a combined diffusion/single condenser (similar to a Leitz V35). The technique works fine without adding any diffusion. The glass of the negative carrier provides enough space that whatever you put on top of it will be out of focus.

Interestingly, this was the main difference between masking as demonstrated by Alan (with plexi) and John Sexton (without, like Patrick Robert James explains). The without method seems to require more precision and does not seem to work as well with colour pencils, but they both work.

Quote Originally Posted by edcculus View Post
So purely from an analog standpoint. Could you take a peice of frosted mylar (or even thin paper), and draw your mask on the enlarged image, then place your mask directly on top of the paper for your dodge or burn exposure?
Not quite, for reasons Michael mentioned and also the issue of how hard your tracing would end up printing. However, if you place that Mylar some distance above the paper, and you keep the tracing relatively fuzzy-edged, it can work, but it is a fussy technique. The opposite of it, however, where you cut out openings in a sheet of orange vinyl laid over Mylar over clear plexi over the paper is an excellent and an easy method for masked flashing. I learned this technique from John Sexton, and he seems to use it often.