Digital Negative Curves is a semi-automated process for creating a correction curve when creating digital negatives and then printing them in a traditional darkroom either as an enlargement or a contact print.
The idea behind the program came when I recently started to experiment with making 10×8 silver gelatin contact prints from 5×4 negatives. I quickly realised that this is not a one curve fits all solution. Each brand and to some extent, batch of darkroom paper along with the digital negative film can have different characteristics.
Throughout my testing, I have tested various brands of darkroom paper, some of which were brand new, some which were 20 years old, some high gloss and some with a pearl finish.
Although the Digital negative Curve program has been created with Silver Gelatin printing in mind, I see no reason. why it cannot be used for other alternative processes.
What is A Digital Negative
A digital negative is a piece of transparent material which has a coated side from which we can print onto it directly from an inkjet printer. Most of these transparency sheets allow the use of dye and pigment-based inks. For my own testing, I have only tried them with pigment inks from my Epson R3880 Printer.
The image is printed onto these digital film transfer sheets, inverted, emulsion side down and flipped horizontally so that when they are printed in the darkroom as a positive image, they appear the correct way around.
After they have dried which I have found to be very quickly, they are then taken into the darkroom and printed either as a contact print or as a projected image from an enlarger.
The Digital Negative Curves program process is pretty straight forward,
- Open the pre made step wedge
- Print the step wedge onto your digital transfer film
- Contact print the step wedge in the darkroom
- Scan the step wedge
- Use the Digital negative Curve program to analyse the scan
- Let the Digital negative Curve program create the curve.
Digital Negative Curves Requirements
- Photoshop CS6 and above
- Mac or Windows operating system