Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by sillypiggy, Jan 21, 2005.
Can anyone explain how to spot-tone to get rid of dust/fingerprints?
I'm not sure about fingerprints, but I know how to get rid of dust spots (i may have the wrong process in mind tho). You get a little bottle of black ink and a really small paint brush. Dip the brush into the paint and then touch a paper towel with it. Compare the color of the ink to the color of grey around the white spot you're trying to get rid of. If the ink is too dark, dip the brush in some water and try again. The idea is you'll eventually get the right shade. Once you have the right shade. Use the brush like a pointellist would (straight up and down so you only put on a dot.) and put lots of little dots until the white is gone. Someone will probably come along soon and give you a much better description of this process, but that's what i think you're asking about.
The onlything I would add to Trog's post is practice, practice, practice on a test print (something you are going to discard) first. You can always build up tone, but you can't lighten it once you've gone too dark.
EDIT: Also I like to wear a cotton glove on the hand holding the print. You can stick a scrap peice of paper under the other hand that's resting on the print. Do this to avoid getting fingerprints and skin oils on the print as you work.
unless you notice it immediately, then you can sometimes wipe it off.
These seem to have a bad reputation, but I like to use Spot Pens. I've had pretty good luck with them, actually, on glossy as well as matte FB prints. They come as a set, in a color range from almost white to deep black, numbered 1-10. Once you've played with them a little you get a good idea of which number suits which tonality of your print. I use them sparingly under a magnifying glass and dab a little after the application with a lint-free paper towel. Once dried down, they do just fine for dust spots or flying snakes.
That sounds so much easier than my way, never used them though
I love my spot pens!!
Yeh, I have used spot pens, Its a case of building them up from the lowest grade until something looks about right, remember they change when they dry a bit.
I always preferred to print on fibre base because then you can use graphite pencils to spot with - graphite has a lot of advantages. This was where the distinction between pro and am film came from. Pro B/W film had gelatine on both sides. The gelatine coating on the back acted like a key so you could retouch the negs with pencil. If you look at some of the old Hollywood publicity stills of the 30's and 40's you can sometimes see the retouch marks. It only really works on large format though. The other thing you used was a scalpel....
Hmmm, this is intriguing. It seems like it would be easier, at least easier not to mess it up. Can you post some more details on the technique, and what kind of graphite pencils? Just like the various drawing pencils?
Artists pencils of different hardness. Keep them sharp and a big lens on a stand helps. Work the marks gently using tiny strokes. The technique works a little like the spots on a leopard - you don't have to fill in all the blemish just break it up enough to fool the eye.
If you use glossy fibre unglazed the graphite has about the same degree of shine.
You can polish over the spotting with a piece of soft cotton to tone it down and blend it in and even use a rubber to remove it - a soft art gum is best.
With practice you can even take out hairs.
It takes a little practice to match pencil to tone but you can build it up (to a degree).
Licking the pencil first helps when working small spots of dark tone.
Another trick I was shown was for glazed prints. Use watercolour paints but mix them on a fruit gum (a hard gelatine sweet). The paint then dries with a high shine rather than matte.
I'll have a trawl through my books when I get time to see if I can get you more specific advice. But if you give it a try you'll soon see how it works.
But don't use cheap pencils as imperfection in the lead can scratch the print. Don't press too hard either.
(A mixture of media is OK too. I used to use pencils for the grey tones and spotting inks with a fine brush for the very dark tones and black)
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