Photoshop and masking techniques : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm wondering if any of you have used your computer and photoshop to make dodge and burn masks to aid in black and white printing? If so on what medium do you print your masks? How is it done? I'm a traditional photog with ZERO photoshop skills but I am considering getting a computer soon and would like to you use a litho screen in p-shop? or a particular tool, or shades of gray? Are there any books or articles that I should read? Thanks in advance friends!

-- Trib (, September 27, 1999


The book titled, "Photoshop 5" by Blatner & Fraser discusses various techniques for masking in Photoshop, including building density with "multiply" command, opening shadows with the "screen" command, and mixing channels (all in Cahpter 8). If you get a computer, and get your negative/positive scanned into it, then there's no need to go back to a traditional darkroom. There are various archival black and white inks (called "Quadtones" I believe) being marketed for Epson printers. I also recently heard that Kodak is coming out with a high quality dedicated black and white photo printer for computers that service vendors will have (it costs around $100K). In my experience, the quality available from computer prints far exceeds that from traditional printing, but can be expensive. The best advice I can give you is that you should buy a MacIntosh and get an external monitor calibrator (I hear great things about the new very inexpensive calibrator with software being sold by Optical/The Color Partnership -- you can find their site by searching The Color Partnership on Yahoo). Go

-- Howard Slavitt (, September 28, 1999.

Or you can find them by browsing to http:// I have one of their $400 calibrators and can vouch for it. I also vouch for the Mac over a WinTel computer. Color calibration is essential even when working in black-and-white.

-- Darron Spohn (, September 29, 1999.

I haven't tried this myself yet (it's another project on the back- burner). For 35mm negs, I suspect the best output device would be a film burner. For decent results, you probably need 4000 lines per mm, or thereabouts. A dye-sub printer on acetate sheets might be fine for contact printing larger formats, or possibly for enlarging 5x4. If you don't have access to those devices, a bureau could output the masks for you, but it would rather negate the advantages of doing your own darkroom work.

Photoshop/GIMP/whatever allows you to adjust the characteristic curve of the mask, and see the (rough) results on-screen. Very nice, at least in theory.

-- Alan Gibson (, September 30, 1999.

Before you go all out for Photoshop at $350 or whatever it is now, consider Picture Window from Digital Light and Color in Cambridge, Mass at about $45. There is a good discussion of both in the Sept. Sky and Telescope magazine with regard to post processing of astronomical images using both programs. I use Picture Window for all my image editing needs. It speaks in photographer's terms, not in computerese, eg, if you want to add 20cc magenta to an image, you bring up the box of filters and do it. Also has a lot of useful info in the electronic manual that is included in the cd, and several "white papers" on such things as scanning, masking, etc. I believe you can download a trial version at their website.

-- Tony Brent (, October 01, 1999.

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