nutshell: Masking

an overview of masks: what they are; what they do. Masking is selective dodging.. consider it a precise, custom, graduated neutral density filter. Masks are most often used this century to alter contrast of B&W film. They also increase local contrasts, thereby altering edge effects making a print appear sharper with more gradations. These are the “unsharp masks (USM)”

In last century, during the growth stage of masking, they were used in color processes to alter, and correct contrast and color. Masking increased the contrast of the magenta and yellow, overcoming deficiencies, impurities of colorants.

Films I have today for masking: Ilford PanF (120). Ilford Delta 100 (4×5 & 8×10). Ilford Ortho+ (4×5, 8×10, special roll). Note the Ilford weight. I do, and it makes me nervous, since Ilford hangs on the interest of real estate ventures in a country of short term values.

From the past; more for the Rosetta stone. Translating data sheets. Why that film/developer was made.

From the past, The mask film used was Tri-X Plate. Masks were made using film available. No special film.

The layout, exposure configuration was typical Kodak method used and taught for over 40 years.

Pan Masking film in Versamat — was the standard method at the end of the Kodak Dye Transfer era.

Masks should never be greater than 40%. Coated (APO) lenses require higher percent masks.

The appearance of color swatches in separation negatives is best indicator of correct mask exposure.

Developer for masks, like those for seps should be non-staining and not “fine-grain” solvent type. It is easy to recommend DK-50, DK-60a as best options, even this decade. For ready mix, try HC-110 one-shot. All masks and seps should be processed following a one-shot protocol. Use the mixture one time and discard. I use fresh developer for each sheet of film.

F- 29 RedRequired
N- 61 GreenRequired
#96 Neutral density: 0.10 / 0.30 / 1.0Strongly recommended. Equalize exposures. Reduce reciprocity differences.
#33 Magentaoptional
#15 Yellowoptional
Filters for (color) masking

Punching Holes

machines change as their maker learns. Registration holes in film came after registration of masks and mats. At first film was on glass, then on thick flexible plastic (celluloid). Until DuPont invented strong thing film-base, first used in lithography, lab films couldn’t withstand much punch, pull, position, alignment. Besides, the emulsion has always ‘shifted’ size more than the film base. Most professionals watched their relative-humidity and drying angles of critical film.

The following two punches are from the most known lab equipment maker. Most known among those talking today. Note how the change in punch systems. The first, very simple — a bar acts as leaver. Over time the leavering matured — becoming smoother. The positioning guides didn’t change. Not even in size of hold-down. And the badging became a glued on plate with serial number.

1963. Condit Register Strips for Kodak and Condit punch systems.

Business Registered Date Jan 05, 1962

These were standard items in student kits at schools.

Warren L. Condit, 83, husband of Elizabeth (Myott) Condit of New Lebbon Road, Newtown, died March 2002 in Mediplex in Southbury. Warren was born in Staten Island, N.Y., July 1919. He was a US Navy veteran of World War II, serving from 1940 to 1945 as a radioman, first class, and photographer.
From 1947 to 2000, Warren operated Condit Manufacturing in Sandy Hook, a company specializing in equipment used in the development of color films, the manufacturing of the teleprompter, and violin making tools.

In its first decade, imbibition printing at Eastman Kodak changed, in means and manners, not only in name.

At first, it was the Eastman Wash-Off Relief process. When it became Kodak Dye Transfer, brochures were updated several times.

Note the cover photos showing the transfer operation: the early one shows the Blanket method; the later, color, one shows the transfer table with Kodak Pins.

Even earlier the “slip sheet” was used. This was the way with Eastman Wash-Off Relief (WOR).

information passes, even through unsigned handouts. My Cooking Color set of notes on setting up dye transfer/wash-off processing for the small, independent worker.

… but then, I gathered them from Henry Smith and several dozen forgotten cohorts… it is only when publishing that we need the name on the spine.

punch links