New to Digital Negs. Printing at an office supplier

Discussion in 'Digital Negatives' started by hoffy, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Subscriber
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    Hey folks,
    I'm keen to start exploring Van Dyke Browns and Cyanotype, using digital negatives. I am both new to these UV processes and neg printing.

    My plan was to use my home inkjet, but I have found out that it won't do transparencies (Epson WF 3640). A friend said that when she had done Cyanotypes before, she had the Negs printed at the local office printing supplier (Officeworks in Australia).

    Me being me,I want to find out more and see if I can make the most out of it.

    Has anyone here ever used a office type print place to do their Negs? How did you get the most out of them?

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  2. adelorenzo

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    I've done laser printed digital negatives at my local Staples. They were mostly for gum bichromate with some cyanotype, I did a curve adjustment suited to that process, inverted them and that was it. I also did some color separation negs.

    I was limited to smaller size negs (8x10 maximum) but the quality was fine IMHO especially as I am still learning. If I got to the point where I was hoping to make exhibition prints I would likely want to move up to a better process for the negative.
     
  3. OP
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    hoffy

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    Thanks! That is exactly where I am at and what I intend to achieve.

    Did you print the negatives as grey scale, or with a UV blocking colour?

    I intend on going down to the shop at lunch time and ask a few questions. I actually have no idea on what machine they print, as they do have a variety of devices in store.
     
  4. adelorenzo

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    I just did black and white, at my copy store they offered an option for "rich black." I have no idea if that was better but I paid the extra 30 cents.

    I paid $2.79 in Canada for each sheet printed on 8.5x11. I did 8x10 images with extra room on one side of the edges for punching registration holes.
     
  5. NedL

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    Maybe jnanian will chime in.

    I've only made one, but it was fun.. I made the image around 10 o'clock at night and submitted it on the kinkos/fed-ex-office store website. Next morning at 8AM got an email saying it was ready to pick up at the store near my house. Less than $2. I used it to try to make a VDB on glass... which looked absolutely awesome until I washed it....

    I inverted, de-saturated, and then colorized ....

    I used these instructions, something like C=0, M=50, Y=50, K = 0...
    http://www.alternativephotography.com/digital-negatives-gimp/

    I almost think it's worth doing just so you can see how cool the image printed onto a transparency looks....


    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ko.Fe.

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    Just as any contact negative, they have to be in full contact with print. Or you'll get some extra effects :smile:.
    As for paper, I just used available at home. It means cheapest printing paper from Walmart :smile:.
     
  7. Poisson Du Jour

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    You would have to explain carefully to the staff; most are not professionals or trade-qualified in printing, and may not have any idea of what you are setting out to achieve, which could result in a lot of money being spent on wasted efforts. On the other hand, a commercial printer would most definitely have a solid idea. Officeworks is not my preferred choice for any printing if I can help it.
     
  8. jnanian

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    hi hoffy
    i regularly ( well a few times now in a couple of years )
    make negatives and have my local office supply store print them out
    i just desaturate the image and invert it. its a ton of fun and 75¢ for an 8x10 is super cheap !
    i've made both cyanotypes and sun prints ( just with photo paper ) ...
    i also get cheap paper xeroxes made at the same time and wax them with paraffin and use
    them for sun prints. this one was made with a paper negative

    https://www.photrio.com/forum/media/door-in-vézelay.55456/

    and this one was made with a OHT (film) negative cystacks.jpg

    have fun !
    john
    ps. i had a bunch made a few days ago and i am waiting patiently for the sunto come out to use them !
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  9. jim10219

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    I printed from negatives made at a copy store (Staples in my case) from their laser printer. The advantage is it's relatively cheap. The disadvantage is a lack of control. I guess you could do a step wedge and calibrate a curve to their printer, but that would be a lot of work and a lot of driving back and forth. I would boost your contrast up a bit if you go that route. How much depends on a ton of factors, but in my experience, every time I did this, they all benefited from a boost in contrast to the original negative, not matter what alternative process I was using (gum bichromates especially need a heavy boost in contrast).

    I'd just do the greyscale. I've read about a lot about people using "UV blocking color" with great success, but my own personal experience is that regular black ink works better. The "UV blocking color" does indeed block UV better at its most dense, but in my own personal experiments with my own equipment, I have found that it doesn't provide a very smooth transition from 100% to 0%. So your compensation curves get pretty erratic and the final prints don't look as good. I even go as far as to print in black only, so I don't print in rich black, which also messes with my mid tones. Besides, all you really need is a color that is dense enough to allow you to expose your darkest shadows to completion while keeping your brightest highlights clear.

    Ideally, if you want more control, you'll want to figure out a way to make your own negatives and use your own UV exposure unit. However, getting negatives printed at an office supply store and using the sun can still produce some stunning images, and can be a much cheaper way to have a whole lot of fun learning a new process!
     
  10. Andrew O'Neill

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    I made a Chartthrob curve for our colour laser printer in my classroom. Printed out on paper or transparencies, they make pretty darn good gum bichromates. Good enough for my students, anyway!
     
  11. ced

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    Andrew do you get the full range in one exposure? (UV Blokker Colour or B&W?)
     
  12. OP
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    hoffy

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    Thanks for your reply.

    At 90 cents a pop (that is the colour price locally - 60c for B&W), its worth doing a couple examples and having a play. I think a step wedge might be a good place to start. (or a couple of them).

    Cheers
     
  13. jnanian

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    hi hoffy

    i was at my local staples and best buy and they have super cheap laser printers
    not sure how the cheap laser printers work on these negatives, the person whose video i watched
    years ago about waxing paper negatives for cyanotypes had a cheap laser printer, BUT he didn't use OH transparency film
    when i pushed the folks at the stores that had cheap printers ( im talking between 70-90USD ) they had no clue
    how they would print on film but they said someone tried to print those iron on decals with one and it didnt work well
    so who knows ... not really apples to apples,more like apples to cantalopes .. they said the cheap copiers used the same technology ...
    a box of laser OHtranparency film costs between 15 and 60USD for the film ( 50sheets) that can take the heat of a laser printer / copier
    so if you are about 120USD rich .. and they sell them near you, it might be a worthwhile investment so you have the control you
    might need and if it doesn't work out you can always chalk it up to experience ... not to mention they are cheaper to maintain ( that is feed )
    than their 2nd cousin that takes ink ... so if you have an old printer you need to upgrade ... 2 birds 1 stone

    have fun!
    john
     
  14. OP
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    hoffy

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    Thanks. At this stage this is only about dipping the toe in the water without laying out a lot of expense. If I get infested with the bug, I'll look at the right tools for the job.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

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    Hoffy,the best place to try is a pre-press office still doing films on an imagesetter for offset printing.inkjetson transparencies don't get t6he densities you need.
     
  16. Bob Carnie

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    I have seen a lot of workers use these kind of services and make awesome prints ... A bit of testing, with curves , you can do a ring around test where you take a normal file and go in all directions
    with curves, then print all the negatives and see which one works best for your space.
    I think this is a great way to get into making prints.
     
  17. jim10219

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    That would likely be extremely difficult to locate. I do prepress for a living and I think we've hit the days where that process is just about extinct. I don't think there's a standalone prepress office left in our state, and Oklahoma is known for lagging behind the latest technological trends. The last guy I knew of who ran a prepress office closed up shop about 5 years ago, as everyone has gone direct-to-plate doing their prepress in house. It's just so much cheaper, quicker, and easier with a computer and digital image setter. We don't even use developing chemicals anymore. And the last print shop I knew of that stripped film (and even then it was just for their tiny 11x17 press), went all digital a few years ago. They don't even make plates, let alone mess with film! I'm not saying they're completely extinct just yet, but finding someone who still strips film would likely be a very difficult task.

    Also, inkjet transparencies have gotten a lot better over the years. The inks are a lot denser than they used to be. Especially on the higher end printers, as these companies are constantly refining their inks for more UV stability and wider gamut. They even make special UV blocking inks for inkjet printers. Though it's not used by the offset industry. It used by the silk screen (i.e. t-shirt) industry. They're pretty much the last ones who still expose stuff by hand using transparencies of any kind, and they've all gone to digitally printed transparencies. The way they do their color separations, you almost have to run them through a computer, so film is just about useless. Though I don't know how much longer that will last before they go all digital too and print directly to the shirt. That technology is already here, even if it's not widespread.
     
  18. Bob Carnie

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    Hi JIm

    I am very interested in the film that was used in Pre Press to make halftone negatives, I am looking for a con tone film that comes in rolls that is light sensitive and will give me density from L 3/4 to L 95/96 or in simpler terms a film that I can create a 21 step linerarized film strip. I now use ortho 25 and it is super expensive but I think your industry uses this film, In my case I do not need to create a halftone, or stocastic film but rather my Lamda can create a continuous tone neg like an inkjet.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, if this is off topic to this thread I could talk via email if you wish.

    Bob Carnie
     
  19. OP
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    hoffy

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    Guys, you are making me over think this! I suffer from Analysis Paralysis enough, without being led down the path of high end graphic reproduction!

    The idea of this thread was to explore an entry point, without having to shell out for a new device. Based on this, I should be good to go.

    Its all cool. I have ordered a Cyanotype Kit and a Van Dyke Brown kit from Gold Street Studios in Victoria and will have a play with producing a few negatives over the weekend
     
  20. jnanian

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  21. OP
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    hoffy

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  22. Andrew O'Neill

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    I get a pretty decent stepwedge, but I would never use it for my own personal work. We've printed in black and white, as well as amber coloured negatives. Personally, I preferred the black and white negatives. I've been meaning to spend more time tweaking it to see if I can improve print quality... I think this is a good thread that we can keep adding to.
     
  23. MattKing

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    Our household runs on our B&W laser multi-tasking unit - printer, scanner, fax (almost never used).
    The scanner works very well with prints. It would be really happy if the 600 dpi laser printer (with bypass sheet feed) would offer to me an option to experiment with 8" x 14" digital negatives.
     
  24. adelorenzo

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    Forget step wedges just make a few negatives and have a go with some prints and see what happens. Have some fun. Create, don't calibrate.
     
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