Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Down

Author Topic: Making digital prints look like film prints  (Read 4597 times)

Harry

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11
Making digital prints look like film prints
« on: September 19, 2019, 04:53:11 pm »


For the first time I have been looking at some darkroom prints and am stunned by the subtle differentiations of textures in the fine detail. The prints are landscapes and village scapes, old wood barns, red rock boulders, twisted tree trunks, grassy fields. I shoot digital and process in Photoshop and get a harsher look with apparently less subtlety.

I wonder if there is a guide to making digital prints more film like, particularly to bring out the textures. I have Silver Efex Pro but am not getting the same look.
Logged

rdonson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3239
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 08:25:56 am »

How are you using Silver EFex Pro?  There are film simulations there.

What camera are you using?

Have you tried ďtextureĒ in the most recent releases of ACR or Lightroom?
Logged
Regards,
Ron

petermfiore

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2592
    • Peter Fiore Fine Art
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 08:47:56 am »

For the first time I have been looking at some darkroom prints and am stunned by the subtle differentiations of textures in the fine detail. The prints are landscapes and village scapes, old wood barns, red rock boulders, twisted tree trunks, grassy fields. I shoot digital and process in Photoshop and get a harsher look with apparently less subtlety.

I wonder if there is a guide to making digital prints more film like, particularly to bring out the textures. I have Silver Efex Pro but am not getting the same look.

A huge issue with digital. Often the images can look very clinical. One needs to find a way for their tastes. Many options are available.

Peter

deanwork

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1949
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 12:50:37 pm »

My Z3200 prints on Canson Platine with the gloss enhancer followed by two light coats of Premiere Art spray are indistinguishable from silver prints. Usually the spray isnít even necessary.



A huge issue with digital. Often the images can look very clinical. One needs to find a way for their tastes. Many options are available.

Peter
Logged

smthopr

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 601
    • Bruce Alan Greene Cinematography
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 01:11:37 pm »

For the first time I have been looking at some darkroom prints and am stunned by the subtle differentiations of textures in the fine detail. The prints are landscapes and village scapes, old wood barns, red rock boulders, twisted tree trunks, grassy fields. I shoot digital and process in Photoshop and get a harsher look with apparently less subtlety.

I wonder if there is a guide to making digital prints more film like, particularly to bring out the textures. I have Silver Efex Pro but am not getting the same look.

Harry, there are basically two easy to see differences between the film and digital processes:

1. Film grain (or lack of it!)
2. Film color rendition vs. digital color rendition

You can artificially add simulated film grain to a digital photograph, so that's kind of easy

And you can simulate the film color palette using some plug-in or film emulation LUT (look up table)

I shoot both film and digital.  My 35mm film "look" is the most obvious of film presentations, but my medium format film work is often so fine grained that very few people think it looks like film or digital or see any obvious difference.  I will note that even scanned film, does not really show a "film" color palette, unless run through a film emulation as well :)  And I often do just that, and it's very convincing.

Lastly, don't over sharpen your images as that can look rather "electronic".
Logged
Bruce Alan Greene
www.brucealangreene.com

Alistair

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 273
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2019, 12:20:55 am »

For the first time I have been looking at some darkroom prints and am stunned by the subtle differentiations of textures in the fine detail. The prints are landscapes and village scapes, old wood barns, red rock boulders, twisted tree trunks, grassy fields. I shoot digital and process in Photoshop and get a harsher look with apparently less subtlety.

I wonder if there is a guide to making digital prints more film like, particularly to bring out the textures. I have Silver Efex Pro but am not getting the same look.

Presumably you are talking BW darkroom prints? You are probably going to have to scan the prints in question and post them here so folk can see the differences you are seeing. Quite difficult to offer helpful suggestions absent that.
Logged
Alistair

Damir

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 232
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2019, 02:18:42 am »

I don't think that digital print will ever be the same as analog print. The obvious reason is that in digital printing printer lay out ink on the surface of paper, while in analog one it is inside, on the top of print there is an layer of hardened gelatine, ink or silver particles deep inside.
This change the way lite is reflecting. Digital print is for that reason sensitive and prone to scrathhes.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 04:36:20 pm by Damir »
Logged

digitaldog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16373
    • http://www.digitaldog.net/
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2019, 11:11:41 am »

I don't thimk that digital print will ever be the same as analog print. The obvious reason is that in digital printing printer lay out ink on the surface of paper, while in analog one it is inside, on the top of print there is an layer of hardened gelatine, ink or silver particles deep inside.
This change the was lite is reflecting. Digital print is for that reason sensitive and prone to scrathhes.
Sorry no; there are several digital print processes (Lambda, Lightjet, Frontier etc) that use light to expose silver material.
Logged
Andrew Rodney
Author ďColor Management for Photographers"

Damir

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 232
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2019, 11:19:29 am »

Sorry no; there are several digital print processes (Lambda, Lightjet, Frontier etc) that use light to expose silver material.

I don't put that in digital as they use the same process as analogue it is just that projecting picture from enlarger is replace by laser. They are still chemically developed. But if you consider that digital, than you are wright.
Logged

deanwork

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1949
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2019, 11:51:15 am »

Thatís wrong. The gloss enhancer on some of the HP and Canon printers, and Piezography gloss optimizer provides a very similar encapsulation over the carbon based pigments. If you add the additional uv coat of a solvent spray the latent image is actually more protected than gelatin.

Iíve been looking at a lot of beautifully made silver prints printed in the late 70s and early 80s this week that my client had brought over to scan their negatives and using the vintage prints as a reference and in some cases to scan. I was amazed at how many of the prints had tarnished due to the gelatin wearing thin and exposing the silver. Apparently this happened when prints stacked up were rubbing against each other.  I also saw a lot of yellowish brown staining of white borders ( and pure whites in image area). Most of these prints were stored in the dark and suffered from thermal staining ( stored in warm moist to hot conditions) as well as staining from being stored in old photo paper boxes. The gelatin is not as durable as we like to think it is for sealing the image. They are a lot more fragile than is usually thought of. However if they are stored in ideal conditions in regard to humidity, temperature, and away from wood or acidic papers or other air borne toxic conditions ( ozone) they, like pigment prints can last for centuries.

Now there is a metallic quality down in the darkest values of silver prints that can be distinctive. This is one of the reasons why those of us working in the 70s-90s generally printed darker. I went to a class reunion at the University of Arizona a few years ago and saw a show that contained many of my favorite photographers from my student days, Frederick Sommer, Emmit Gowin, Paul Caponigro, Eugene Smith, Aaron Siskind, Wynn Bullock, John Laughlin, Friedlander, etc. and almost everything I saw was printed MUCH, darker that I would even think about today. I thought of those prints as normal in the late 70s.

A noticeable exception was people working in platinum/palladium, like Jan Groverís beautiful 11x14 and 20x24 contact prints of still life work on platinum, very very subtle light values. But that was very rare.

The sweet spot for silver is dark metallic values and the vast majority of prints were in the 8x10 or 11x14 or maybe an occasional 16x20 range and were viewed very closely. An Ansel Adams 20x24 looked giant in that context.

But today we have much better light and mid tone value dimensionality as well as great dmax, and also usually print larger, giving us many more options, not to mention really cool textures and surfaces to explore. So I wouldnít want to go back, and have no desire to imitate essentially a 19th century medium when we have so many other great possibilities today.

John

I don't thimk that digital print will ever be the same as analog print. The obvious reason is that in digital printing printer lay out ink on the surface of paper, while in analog one it is inside, on the top of print there is an layer of hardened gelatine, ink or silver particles deep inside.
This change the was lite is reflecting. Digital print is for that reason sensitive and prone to scrathhes.
Logged

digitaldog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16373
    • http://www.digitaldog.net/
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2019, 11:55:13 am »

I don't put that in digital as they use the same process as analogue it is just that projecting picture from enlarger is replace by laser. They are still chemically developed. But if you consider that digital, than you are wright.
And yet, they are digital (from digital data).
This generalization is simply that (and wrong):
Quote
I don't thimk that digital print will ever be the same as analog print. The obvious reason is that in digital printing printer lay out ink on the surface of paper, while in analog one it is inside, on the top of print there is an layer of hardened gelatine, ink or silver particles deep inside.
Logged
Andrew Rodney
Author ďColor Management for Photographers"

Ryan Mack

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 185
    • Ryan Mack on Facebook
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2019, 02:13:25 pm »

I wonder if the tendency to print brighter is also a result of us spending so much time looking at our images on a bright display prior to printing them.
Logged

digitaldog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16373
    • http://www.digitaldog.net/
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2019, 02:20:44 pm »

I wonder if the tendency to print brighter is also a result of us spending so much time looking at our images on a bright display prior to printing them.
Not if the display is properly calibrated to match a print.
Logged
Andrew Rodney
Author ďColor Management for Photographers"

deanwork

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1949
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2019, 08:05:07 pm »

Exactly,  you shouldnít be viewing your files on a bright screen.

The deal is gelatin silver looked better darker as it didnít favor high values. I have people all the time wanting me to print dark on inkjet like that to resemble the past, and that is so boring and redundant most of the time.





Not if the display is properly calibrated to match a print.
Logged

Damir

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 232
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2019, 04:31:08 am »

Well, I wouldn't say that darkroom techniques were limited, and that you have more options now. I don't know how it looks on your side of the world, but here in Zagreb, Croatia we had a factory called Fotokemika that made wide variety of papers: from chloride, over chlorobromide to bromide emulsion. And then you were able to choose from matte, pearl, crystal or shiny surface. Each paper was produced on plastic base or on traditional paper base. That all made huge number of possible combinations e.g. I prefer chloride matt paper on traditional paper base. There are papers of various contrast from 0 to 5, and there are also multicontrast papers that opened entire world of possibilities, because if you are skill enough you were able to print different parts of picture with different contrast. They also produce canvas catted or in rolls, and photographic paper in rolls of different size. If you ever use canvas in darkroom it was from Fotokemika, they export it all over the world.

They also made liquid emulsion Ė you can brush it on any surface you like, which opens new possibilities, I like to use it on artistic watercolor papers, even brush it over the watercolor paintings and that expose black and white picture over it. Liquid emulsion was also made in different gradation or multigrade, also with different composition, chloride or bromide mainly.

Then you have at least 10 different film developer and probably around 20 different paper developer, each combination gives different results. We had Lith printing, toning to various tone in sepia or entire range from selenium to uranium.

Trust me I know what I am talking about, I have master degree in Photochemistry Ė not photographic chemistry as photochemistry also includes interaction of all kinds of material with light, not just darkroom material, but also interaction of traditional art and painting with light and ozone, I did measure such values in Egypt and Greece around monuments. As a matter of fact, I come to photography over a darkroom work, I needed some photos to work with.

It is easier to do printing now, I agree, but just because it take less time, knowledge or physical skill. There is no undo button or history in darkroom. It is also easier to do large formats, although in the darkroom days I printed 1,5 meters wide prints, on paper or canvas, length depends about format, usually 2 or 2,5 meters, as it was printed mainly from large format negatives.

For this reason, I treat every process in which chemistry is used to develop picture Ė you run paper through the chemistry to get picture Ė as analogue one, no matter what is on the input side.

I also need to say something about mechanical properties of darkroom prints. Hardened gelatin is one of the most tough material you will ever see in picture making. It is not prone to scratch, again it depends about manufacturing process, or darkroom use, it was possible to put hardening agent in the fixing bath if it is not hardening in factory. I worked with very old black and white photos, more than century old, I had access to collection of photographs that range from 19 century photos till modern injet printing photos. Darkroom photos was in excellent condition, as it was printed few years ago. Of course, you can even scratch the glass if you want, this means nothing, but inkjet prints are so easily scratched, if you compared it to darkroom prints, that it puts it in completely different category. Also, yellow or brown staining means that darkroom operator did not wash print properly, so there is residual thiosulphate in paper which decompose and stain it.

I also suppose that dark prints were because of Ąfashionď not because material was bad. I printed lot more high key photography with an eerie quality than today. What I like today is that it is so easily to print in color, all I was talking about was about black and white prints. Color was a different beast, a dragon for darkroom user.
Logged

deanwork

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1949
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2019, 10:16:59 am »

Actually I donít need to be educated about analogue photography. Iíve done it on the highest level since 1973. I also worked at the Center For Creative Photography as an under graduate student in the late 70s that is an archive containing most all of the great photographs of the world up to that time and houses many of the great archives of 19th century photography. Iíve held thousands of the best of them in my hands.

Staining of bw silver prints due to poor washing or fixing ( or both) is only One possible cause of yellowing or degradation. Since modern  ( not 19th century )  silver prints are loaded with dye optical brightening agents, when exposed to daylight they can degrade fairly quickly turning the white areas gray. Maybe there are some papers being made in Eastern Europe that donít have dye brighteners but I havenít seen them. Iíve seen this oba burnout over and over here and in exhibitions. Also the gelatin is not so strong, at least not in the last 20 years. I have seen a Lot of beautifully made archival processed prints from highly skilled professionals on Ilford and Agfa fiber media  where they have badly tarnished due to worn down gelatin, and these prints were not viewed or handled much at all! Then there is the staining from storing in hot places that turns the edges yellowish brown ( thermal fade ). Like I said stored in cool dry dark conditions they can last centuries, just like well made pigment prints. My sprayed Platine prints are a lot more physically durable than gelatin.

Yes I made my own developers with various tweaks of print colors from many mixes of silver formulas  and multiple toners and split toners but itís a crude capability compared to what is available today. This isnít my opinion, itís just an obvious fact.

Now Platinum/ Palladium is a different story and can last practically forever if produced correctly. ( if stored away from pollution).

Does gelatin silver have its own visual sweet spot, yes, but almost all of that is eliminated when shown behind glass.

If making analogue printing and shooting film ( which I sometimes  do ) slows people down and improves their personal aesthetic, than by all means itís valuable so do it. For me itís usually  just an expensive, environmentally unsound toxic hassle.

Is analogue as versatile or capable as modern pigment options, of course not, but that wonít stop people from fetishizing the past as people always do. I would also point out that making great pigment prints is only easier in the respect that you donít have to deal with and breathe poisonous nasty expensive chemicals and waste tons of valuable drinking water to make noticeably smaller prints from much more expensive precious metal. Because something that inherently takes longer doesnít make it better or make it last longer. One final thing, have you ever been able to keep a silver print flat in a portfolio without matting or mounting? My carbon based pigment prints on Canson and Hahnemuhle 100% cotton semi gloss papers stay totally flat and thatís great. Iím not going back. If it were only the issue of wasting water, that would be enough,

John

Logged

Damir

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 232
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2019, 11:36:06 am »

I am not fetishizing the past, I am just pointing out that we had many different choices even then. I would not go back to darkroom, I totaly agree with you, except that I do not understand your statement that pigment print is more durable than traditional darkroom print. From my experince that is completly opposite. And yes I have many flat darkroom prints - you just need drying machine, not hang it on the rope, as they always show it in movies.

Your experience about darkroom print may be different from mine because Fotokemika papers, which whome i work as what we will call today beta tester, are different than western papers. In the west they use cadmium salts to make emulsion stabile, when due to environmetal protection they ban cadmiun from paper they lost their quality. Fotokemika use gold salts as stabilizer. That make their paper much more expensive, but also much better quality.

This now goes in wrong direction, this is not darkroom group.

My statement is:

film prints will never look same as digital prints - that doesn't mean they are better - just different, the same way as digital prints will never look the same as picture on monitor, just different experience.

I handle prints from 19th century that looks great, your statment about mechanical superiority of digital print will need about 100 years to be tested.

I have in my hands darkroom prints that have surface very tough and hard, close to plexy, even harder. If you don't saw them that doesn't mean they do not exist. If someone try to scratch it with nail there is no trace or scratch. I will like to try to scratch some of your print to se how it will stand that test.

Logged

digitaldog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16373
    • http://www.digitaldog.net/
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2019, 11:49:42 am »

I totaly agree with you, except that I do not understand your statement that pigment print is more durable than traditional darkroom print.
It's simply a fact! Just examine the testing done here and here:
http://wilhelm-research.com
http://aardenburg-imaging.com
Even Ciba can't compare in terms of the archival properties of pigmented inks. And of course, the best approach with either technology is to avoid OAB's in papers.
http://digitaldog.net/files/24TroubleWithFWAs.pdf
Logged
Andrew Rodney
Author ďColor Management for Photographers"

Paul_Roark

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 52
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2019, 12:20:57 pm »

When I transitioned from silver printing to predominately carbon pigment inkjet printing, I had a number of shows that had prints of both types displayed together.  That, was a problem.  The silver prints that used to look excellent when displayed by themselves looked second rate compared to the inkjet, "carbon pigment" prints.  I found I could not hang them close to each other.  I think the main reason was that with inkjet printing the characteristic curve can have, in effect, a straight line right up to the paper white.  The silver prints, unless bleached, have a sloping white end of their curve that makes the highlights seem dull next to modern, well done inkjet prints.  There is/was and very good reason Bruce Barnbaum and others bleached their silver prints.  But bleaching is a nasty chemical process that I would not wish on anyone.

Then there is the issue of archival keeping.  I found airborne acids were attacking my old silver prints that were stored in a metal cabinet.  I could actually see the yellowing on the backs of the silver prints, coming in from the edges of the prints.   The acid stop bath makes buffering silver print paper impossible.  Inkjet printing paper, on the other hand, can be buffered to resist the airborne acids.

I appreciate those who keep historic, now "alternative," processes alive, but for me, consistent with the pattern of my sales of photographs, it's the image that matters, not the process.  As one who has always had an inclination to experiment with the various processes, I have to rather regularly remind myself of that.

So, while I keep a few of my favorite old film cameras on shelves in glass display cabinets  for nostalgia reasons, I will never go back to film, silver prints, and the "wet" darkroom.  Technology has moved on.  Nothing is perfect, but there are lots of reasons the market has moved to where it is today.

Rather than try to emulate past, historic processes, I would urge photographers to strive to optimize their art using today's superior technologies.  The "good old days" were not really that good compared to what can be done today.

FWIW

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

 
Logged

Garnick

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1169
Re: Making digital prints look like film prints
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2019, 12:46:43 pm »

I recall back in the '70s when I was shooting a lot of large format (4x5) B&W and colour landscapes etc.  At that time it had been almost 10 years since I had done much B&W photography of any sort, since I was then working at a custom colour lab in Toronto and was able to print all of my own colour negs as well.  I eventually left that lab and set up my own lab business east of the city which I moved to my home location in early 2017.  Even though I had the equipment for B&W printing at that time, my business was centred around colour printing and processing, so B&W fell by the wayside.  As mentioned, I did get back to shooting B&W and enjoyed it immensely.  To para phase a rather well known statement from a movie of that era - Apocalypse Now, I loved the smell of HYPO in the morning.  I was using high grade lenses both in the field and in the darkroom, but somehow there was still something missing, until I read a very interesting article in the magazine - Photo Technique and set about the procedure of creating unsharp masks and sandwiching them with my 4x5 B&W negs to produce sharper prints with noticeably more detail.  Of course the Unsharp Masking procedure was eventually incorporated in a computer program named Photoshop and now included with almost all of the various image editing software available today. 

I still love the look of the B&W prints I was able to produce with the masks, but I must say that I would never go back to the darkroom just to perhaps mimic those days.  There are many apps and plugins that will allow one to create somewhat the same LOOK as we would get in the darkroom.  I do not use any of them because in my opinion I can produce a superior print with my ancient version(CS-6) of Photoshop and my Epson P7000.  The secret of course is to know when to stop.  I see a lot of overdone digital prints in which the application of sharpening, colour saturation, contrast, etc. etc. produce a personal response akin to poking my eyes with a very sharp stick.  In my opinion, knowing when to stop is the essence of producing a print that is preferable to all of the senses.               
« Last Edit: September 23, 2019, 10:59:01 am by Garnick »
Logged
Gary N.
"My memory isn't what it used to be. As a matter of fact it never was." (gan)
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5   Go Up