More woes and some silver linings – digital negatives revisited

I complained earlier about digital negatives. They’re my least favorite part of the color carbon process so far, and I have a feeling it’s going to stay that way. Truth be told – I still think digital inkjet negatives suck a$&. Seriously. They’re work of the devil. Not that I haven’t made any progress on this front. To the contrary, apart from being away from home for a few days, I actually did a truckload of work involving digital negatives and they have improved. Read on for more info on the crucial improvement(s) that I made.

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Couleur locale – the search for color in carbon

Technically, carbon transfer printing isn’t ‘carbon’ anymore once it becomes color. Yes, for the black/key layer (if used), a carbon pigment is generally used. But for the other colors, evidently carbon falls short. So something like ‘pigmented gelatin printing’ is more accurate. In any case, as color enters, it brings many questions, issues and concerns. Lots of fun stuff, as well. How about this one: which colors should we go for in the first place? Let’s have a look and see if we can make at least a first step.

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First light – at the end of a particularly long tunnel

Progress! But remember: baby steps. Still, today’s baby step is a bit of a symbolic one, because it’s the first actual carbon transfer color image. With some caveats. Well, not some. Many. But still. Colors!

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Baby steps – enter the torture test

No, I have not yet given up! In fact, I’ve been making some progress on the color carbon transfer front. Last time, I made some cyan, magenta and yellow tissue with my newly acquired paints. Only five 4×5″ sheets per color, which is ample for some initial testing. This testing is underway, results so far are promising, and there’s even some progress on the digital negatives front!

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All ye who enter here, abandon all hope

I mean, really, that title feels appropriate because I’ve started work on something that’s just extremely unlikely to work out well. Let’s face it – carbon transfer is challenging enough to begin with. Even I know that. Let alone doing it in color. Yes, you read that right: I must’ve gone mad. Carbon transfer, and not just black, but also C…M…and Y. It’s going to be either a long journey, or a frustrating one, or both. Let’s see.

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A litany of woes – digital inkjet negatives and a note on dot gain mottling

I’ve sworn many times to myself that I’d steer clear of digital negatives if at all possible. Really. It’s not out of a lack of familiarity with them. Quite the opposite. I must have printed hundreds upon hundreds of them. They gave me maybe a handful decent prints, virtually all of them cyanotypes. But sometimes, there is virtually no choice but to go there…

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Double transfer: going once, going twice

Up to now, I’ve only been doing single transfer carbon prints. Perfectly fine, but how about doing that other version, the double transfer? I ran a failed experiment a few weeks ago using Yupo as the temporary support. Yeah…that doesn’t work. But then I picked up a magic, very special material that did work…

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Sickly colors – the crossover issue

I like to print color RA4. That’s no secret. And I like to tinker. I’m not alone in this, and as a result, working with color film and printing color RA4 pops up regularly in one way or another on the photo forums. One issue that often meshes into technical discussions on ‘analog color’ is that of color crossover. Some people immediately ‘get it’, probably because they have experience looking at and analyzing color crossover. Others struggle with the topic and don’t know exactly what to look for. In this post, I’m going to try and illustrate the issue through some (digital!) mockups.

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Some small prints and a note on Fomapan 200

Yesterday I made some prints. Small ones. Firstly, because I like small prints. Secondly, I had made tissue last week and wanted to try it out. Thirdly, I had these negatives sitting here and they weren’t particularly suited for what they were intended to do, so I gave it a shot with carbon transfer. When life gives you lemons, eh? Well, this lemon here I grew all by myself!

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The Big Ugly, part 4: (im)perfect present

Here we are, and this is Now. So far, I have written about the two generations of problematic and/or quasi-successful color enlarger light sources I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. But all that is in the past. This blog is about the current, 3rd generation of the LED color light source for my (t)rusty Durst 138. It incorporates most of the lessons I learned along the way – and brought me some new ones, no doubt.

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