Separating digital negatives in shadows/midtowns/highlights for richer prints

Discussion in 'Digital Negatives' started by Minas Stratigos, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Minas Stratigos

    Minas Stratigos Subscriber
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    I asked this question to Bob and he suggested to take it on a public post so everyone can benefit :smile:

    In brief, I want to try richer prints by separating in photoshop a digital negative into shadows/midtowns/highlights and print multi-layer coats to enhance the image.

    I understand that there are blendif layers involved but i would be grateful if you guys can shed some more light on this process.

    Thanks
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Minas
    thanks for asking this so I can share my method. Its boring but here goes.

    Using photoshop and with a Black and White image on screen I do the following.
    Size image
    Add Canvas Black
    Place registration marks in black canvas


    To make the palladium negative
    1. make a layer
    2. Invert the image
    3. Flip Horizontal
    4. Flatten and Save as the Palladium Negative

    To make the shadow negative I go back in history to the point where I started with just the image and registrations.
    1. make a layer
    2 un click the background layer
    3. click on the area to the right to open up the Blend if option of the top layer
    4. on the top bar graph I bring the right slider over until I only see the shadow areas highlighted
    5. I flatten this layer and get rid of layers when prompted
    6. I then invert
    7. I then flip horizontal
    8. I Save As the Shadow Negative.

    To make the highlight negative I go back in history to the point where I started with just the image and registrations.
    1 make a layer
    2. un click the background layer
    3. click on the area to the right to open up the Blend if option of the top layer
    4. on the top bar graph I bring the left slider over until I only see the highlight areas
    5. I flatten this layer and get rid of layers when prompted
    6. I then invert
    7. I then flip horizontal
    8. I Save As the Highlight Negative



    On a lightbox I register all three negatives together for multiple printing


    Bob
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Brendan 1.jpg

    Middle image is palladium- left image is for highlights right image for shadows.

    Image courtesy Brendan Meadows.
     
  4. Alan Edward Klein

    Alan Edward Klein Member

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    Bob Can you show examples of the results?
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber
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    Thanks Bob for showing your method. Do you have a special pin registered system?
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am doing this image now in stages so yes as I go along , will take a few weeks .. Yes I am using a stoesser pin registration system you can see the pins on the light table on image supplied.

    This image is one of 7 I am making for Brendan Meadows, it will be at LA Art fair but I do all 7 images at a time so therefore the time lag.
     
  7. Mainecoonmaniac

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    This process looks like it takes a lot of patience and precision aligning. I make Ziatypes with one neg and I struggle with highlights and shadow detail. This might be the key to what I want with my printing. Do you recoat your prints? I've heard Irving Penn makes multiple coatings and exposures.
     
  8. DennyS

    DennyS Member

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    Bob, just to get everybody on the same page, can we assume you're using the highlight and shadow negs for gum or cyanotype or something other than additional hits of Pt/Pd?

    And Minos, are you asking about multiple negatives for Pt/Pd or gum or some combination print?
     
  9. OP
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    Minas Stratigos

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    Thank you Bob for your response, truly appreciated.

    Denny, I ask for Pt/PD prints only, I haven't start with gum printing yet. My target is richer, deeper Pt/Pd prints.


    Minas
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
  10. DennyS

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    Minas, just as a reality check, what papers/developers/processing routine are you using that you find you need to improve on? I'm assuming you are working from good digital negatives...
     
  11. Bob Carnie

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    Yes three different coatings in this case. 1. one palladium coat for the palladium negative process and dry.. 2. Blue Coat for the shadow negative with gum process, process and dry, 3. Yellow Coat for highlight negative with gum process and dry.

    Paper needs to be pre shrunk, I do not use special sizing, I use Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag, with Ink press negatiives.
    When thinking this through I try to use complimentary colours and I try to have the colder colour go into the shadow but this can certainly change.

    I have memorized the colour wheel and when mixing colours a natural third colour is made when mixing ... for example cyan and yellow = green So you can imagine the creative
    implications of this.
    I have also found that hand retouching , and colouring with the pigments is really easy after the finished print is done and one wants to do extra hits of colour .
     
  12. Bob Carnie

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    Single hit of palladium

    Multiple hits of Gum Pigments

    Is what I am talking about here.
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am not so sure that multiple hits of Palladium or PT will add extra depth.. One can only get a certain black with PT PD and maybe the shadow only will work for this purpose This is not my interest area as I use the gum
    to introduce colour and this is what I want , duo , tri or quad toned images.
     
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  15. DennyS

    DennyS Member

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    Bob, I think we're in agreement that multiple hits of Pt/Pd may not be the solution for deeper blacks. That's why I asked Minas for some details about his process. And just my $0.02, I think that trying to duplicate Penn's multiple hit techniques for Pt/Pd doesn't take into account that Penn didn't have the luxury of using digital negatives.
     
  16. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am perplexed why Irving Penn did not use gum over as he was noted to try almost anything to perfect his prints... Steichan made the Pond in 1904 which indeed was multi layer over palladium and I would hope that Mr Penn was aware of this.

    When I get everything right , and sometimes I do the tri colour prints from black and white negatives have as much or more Dmax as Silver and the added bonus is the colour.. For over 15 years I was trying to get the quad effect I was looking for in silver to no real avail, ( if you look in my past history here you will see many threads on the subject) but the moment I started using BlendIf and separating tonalitys and making negatives to apply colour in those specific regions the world of printing really opened up for me. To date I am ripping up all my test silver prints (hundreds) and am in the progress of making separation files for each.

    My next step is to find a contone film for my image setter that allows me to make real silver negative separations at an affordable cost. Currently I have ortho 25 in rolls and am doing so but at about 15 -30 times the cost of inkpress negatives. I need about 50 rolls of 100ft film at 20 inch size to accomplish just my own needs and unless I find a suitable film I will be forced to use Inkpress,(which by the way gives outstanding quality) but has questionably poor keeping qualitys which forces me to work in batches and finish off each edition as I go. Rather than make all the film at once and then over the years print out when needed.

    I am blessed to have these problems, just trying to sort them out... anyone know of a contone film that is light sensitive and is in rolls I am all ears.
    Yes I am aware that I am talking about ridiculous amounts of film to accomplish what I need for my personal work.. I hope I live long enough to do it , and my power of attorney follows my wishes and gets the prints to a safe location.
     
  17. Mainecoonmaniac

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    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for your generous info. Looks like your prints take a lot of time to make. It takes a lot of time and effort to register, expose, process and dry the print after each coating.

    Best,
    Don
     
  18. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I print 10 images at a time .. 2 prints per image
    20 palladium first day - I reserve a full day for this
    second day I can do a coat of blue
    third day if required a third coat of yellow

    fourth day if needed a hit of something to build up the image, but over three days I can expect about 20 prints which is pretty good.
    the trick is to set up your workflow to do this and maximize your chemical requirments and do only one thing each session and do it well.
     
  19. DennyS

    DennyS Member

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    Bob, I'm currently fine tuning cyanotype over Pt/Pd using the same approach, Pt/Pd for the shadows to fortify the cyanotypes and early results are very promising. I was inspired to try this by Kenro Izu's cyanotype nudes. BlendIf is a really powerful tool.
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I agree, PS has magnificent applications that even the experts are not aware, LAB and Blendif are rare for users but if applied really creative opportunities, I barely have scratched the surface, I want to start blending solarized images using two versions of an image one solarized and one straight and by using Blendif I can pick areas I want to be present or not present in my final print.
     
  21. Mainecoonmaniac

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    Ah. You leverage economies of scale with your time and materials.
     
  22. Andrew O'Neill

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    Thank you very much Bob, for sharing this with us. I'll try it.
     
  23. Andrew O'Neill

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    @Bob Carnie, you say in step 1 to make a layer. A blank, empty layer? Not sure what you mean. Thanks.
     
  24. OP
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    Minas Stratigos

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    I certainly enjoy reading this thread :smile: learning a lot

    Denny, I make digital negatives, calibrated with Richard's (Bwmastery) method, I am at a very good stage. I use Pd/Na2 mostly, on Hahnemuehle platinum rag, COT320 and Arches platine, PO developer. I do have good results (see link for an example https://www.stratigos.eu/platinum-palladium?lightbox=dataItem-jngazic2) certainly but I am always investigating the possibilities of better prints.
     
  25. DennyS

    DennyS Member

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    Minas, your technique sounds good and your prints look good, I doubt that you would see significant improvements with addtional hits of Pt/Pd. You might consider Bob's comments to try gum over Pt/Pd. The effects can vary from subtle to extreme, and if done well the prints have a richness/depth that can't be achieved with Pt/Pd alone. If you're looking for a good gum-over reference I'd suggest Gum Printing and Other Amazing Contact Printing Processes by Christina Anderson, and for gum printing specifically, Gum Printing A Step-By-Step Manual, also by Chris (full disclosure, I'm a contributor in that book).
     
  26. Bob Carnie

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    copy the background
     
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