(T)issues – A note on pigment dispersion and chroma

I’ve been working with powdered pigments for a (brief) while now and as a result, I’m starting to come to grips with the pros and cons of this approach. Overall, it’s lots of fun – in fact, this is so far my favorite part of the color carbon project. But there are challenges also to this part. For instance, I recently ran into an issue of tissues that didn’t look quite as nice and shiny as they should. And that actually has implications that go far below the surface!

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How to ab-stain? Dichromate stain issues in carbon printing

No, I haven’t given up on the color carbon project. Yet! But there are challenges, and they can be, well, challenging. For one, I’m running into trouble with hue and chroma of the color layers and I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what happens. One probable cause is actually dichromate staining. Let me exstain. Err, explain.

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Fairy dust – Dry pigments for color carbon

Alright, I caved. I had been ogling the website of Kremer Pigmente for a few weeks and ultimately I decided to order some pigments from them. I think it actually makes sense, despite the warnings I was given by multiple people on the forums. After all, dry pigments are challenging to work with. Or so they say…

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Fade to grey – The pigment balance problem

Open any book or web page on color printing and it’ll say at some point that all pigments or dyes used in the process should mix to a neutral grey or black – at least in theory. It’s an issue I’ve been ignoring throughout my color carbon adventures so far. Well, not exactly ignoring, but I didn’t spend sufficient attention to it, certainly not in writing. Allow me to make up for this, at least in part. In this blog, I’ll explore the issue of pigment balance and try and work out a way to determine, at least with rather coarse resolution, a usable pigment balance for color carbon tissues.

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The curve is dead, long live the curve – the linearization game, part 3

After observing a bit of a problem with a lack of linearization and setting myself up for embarking on the effort of linearization, it’s time to describe this actual linearization process itself. It’s going to be a dish with inkjet digital negatives as the main ingredient, broiled in a broth of GIMP with generous lashes of Excel and a good whiff of intuition, topped off with some guesswork for good measure. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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Straight ahead– the linearization game, part 2

Previously I wrote about the necessity of linearization: if you print an inkjet digital negative, what densities you can expect from the resulting carbon transfer print are a bit of a gamble. Put differently: the relationship between inkjet negative density and print density is not a linear one. To get color to work reasonably well, I’ll need to linearize my curves reasonably well, too. It’s a bit of a chore, but…well, no but, and not a ‘bit’ either. It’s just a chore. And there’s actually some preparations to be done before I can start with the…err, preparations. (I’m not sure when I’ll get to the actual printing, come to think of it!)

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Kinky curves – the linearization game, part 1

It’s starting to become a series of blogs, this color carbon project of mine. Not that I expected it to be easy, of course. Note the title of the first installment. I knew what I was heading into. And here we are, right in the middle of it all. Frankly, this is my least favorite part of a hybrid process: the struggle to get something that displays as e.g. 10% tone value on a computer screen to print as a 10% tone value on paper. In other words: linearization. Let me share my woes with you for a minute, while also briefly touching upon the topic of layer order and assembly of the color image.

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Beam me down, Scotty: a new ultra-simple UV light source

It’s been a while since I wrote a somewhat acrid blog about the 300W UV floodlight unit I bought from AliExpress. The tone was acrid, because 300W in reality turns out to be about 75W. The conclusion was somewhat counter-intuitive, as I also mentioned that I found the unit so abysmal, I planned to buy some more of them. The reason is simple: while the unit doesn’t live up to its specifications, it still gives a lot of bang for your buck, and most importantly, it’s super easy to implement. Well, you be the judge of that!

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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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