Digital Negatives that Work ~ PiezoDN Workshop
Please Note: In-Person Class Schedules are Subject to Change Due to Covid19 in 2021. We can't guarantee the workshop dates will take place as listed but will always keep our attendees informed if anything changes.
Digital Negatives that Work is the name of this workshop because the method that we teach using the new PiezoDN software and inks system produces a negative for any darkroom or alternative process automatically rather than by the tedious process required by other systems. It's self-adjusting to variables by simply remeasuring a target. It is the easiest to use system. And its simplicity matches its best in industry performance. These negatives produce higher acuity, smoother tonal response, and better linearization than other digital negative systems.
One important difference between PiezoDN and all other digital negative systems is that PiezoDN negs when contact printed match your computer display. That's the holy grail of digital negatives because it allows you to make an image without any compensation curves. You simply adjust your image to your liking, print the PiezoDN negative and contact print it. Regardless of the medium, this is how PiezoDN works.
Our method works so that you can produce more and better work. We like to say that our software and inks system does the work so that you do not have to.
When this course is taught in Vermont we use the Malde-Ware Printing Out Platinum / Palladium process because it is one of the least toxic of any darkroom or alternative process. We are on country plumbing here at Cone Editions Press and we are mindful of what we put in our land and in our bodies. But, the process that you will learn for making digital negatives is directly applicable to any other darkroom or alt process. Besides, Malde-Ware is the most stable of all platinum / palladium printing processes. You can literally presensitize the metals and store them in a bottle for use for up to three years! No more Ferric Oxalate (the bane of every platinum printer's existence)!! That alone may be worth the trip to Vermont!
There are two parts to this workshop: The Darkroom and the Software.
In the Darkroom (it's actually a light room lit by non-UV LED panels), we will be teaching the Malde-Ware printing-out platinum/palladium process. Malde-Ware printing out process has recently been recognized by The Smithsonian Institute as the most permanent variation of the platinum/palladium process. The image appears as it is exposed (print-out) and renders remarkably smooth tones, high dMax, and a high level of acuity combined with the legendary ‘creamy’ highlights and open shadows. The chemistry is more stable than other processes and can be premixed and used for years! While we recognize there are other variants of printing out process, we wanted to match the best possible process with the best possible negative.
The Malde-Ware process is closer to historical process. You may have read that in the old days you could buy presensitized platinum paper. To modern practitioners of develop-out process, that conjures up the idea of stale old printing paper. But to the contrary, historical process that was ammonium based was incredibly stable. Malde-Ware uses ammonium based sensitizers and metals. Literally, you can sensitize the metals making an emulsion that is stable in a bottle for up to three years use.
Ferric Oxalate is not used in Malde-Ware. But, nearly all other platinum/palladium processes rely on it. Ferric Oxalate is difficult to get into dilution and then is inherently unstable. This is why drops of sensitizer and drops of metal are done in other processes just prior to coating. Malde-Ware chemistry dispenses with Ferric Oxalate in favor of Ammonium Ferric Oxalate. And the potassium or lithiium or celsium based salts of other processes are replaced with ammonium based salts in Malde-Ware. Ammonium allows greater absorption of metal and Malde-Ware chemistry is more concentrated permitting much smaller amounts of emulsion to be used. The end result is a sharper and smoother print that is less costly to make. Best of all perhaps, is that one can use as much platinum as one desires. It actually promotes smoothness and acuity in Malde-Ware.
Malde-Ware prints are not developed. It is much less toxic than conventional methods. Final color tone is controlled by humidity! Humidity is critical in all platinum/palladium process and its the backbone of Malde-Ware. We'll show you how to control your darkroom as well as control the final color of your prints. Control is the key to reliable digital negatives. Malde-Ware and PiezoDN are a marriage of software and darkroom.
With the same Software and inks system that you make Piezography prints, you print our special target onto film using our base digital negative QTR media profile, contact print it, process it and dry the final print. That final print is what gets measured and the data is put into PiezoDN or the new Piezography Pro software which creates a new QTR media profile. Now all subsequent alternative process prints made from your negatives will match your screen display. It's really not more complicated than that.
We first do the process by demo - but then we want to insure that you really understand how to use it - so we go one-on-one with everyone. However, if you are coming to the workshop to learn how to make prints with digital negatives and do not want to actually own an inkjet printer or make your own negatives, you can sit out the one-on-one and continue in the darkroom on your own - and simply head back home and order negatives from us using our online negative system. By attending the workshop you will have learned how to edit your images to get the most out of a PiezoDN negative and how to make platinum/palladium prints.
So, if you're a seasoned palladium printer there is still much to learn about chemistry (it's much simpler with our system because contrast agents are not used). And if you've never made a platinum/palladium print in your life, you'll leave with some that will have seasoned printers wondering how you got "there". PiezoDN seems to make an expert out of everyone who uses it. By that I mean to say that a PiezoDN made palladium print has an extraordinary tonal range and clarity that is normally very difficult to come by. Whether in the hands of someone starting out in the process or one of the more skilled pratitioners of the medium, PiezoDN negatives produce extraordinary results because of the gradated ink set and our proprietary linearization process.
PiezoDN does the exact same thing to whatever alt process you throw at it! So, when we say Digital Negatives that Work - we literally mean it in every sense of the word. The process is not technically difficult, the negatives are exceptional and do not have the defects associated with using color inks, and you'll spend more time working on your prints than struggling with the calibration process of other systems. PiezoDN works better. This workshop turns you out an excellent practitioner of that process.
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