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Re: [PPLetterpress] homemade film negatives [was: epson negative printer? ]

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  • Gerald Lange
    Ludwig & Tom The translucent material I mentioned is what Xante recommends for use in its Filmmaker. It was originally an Agfa development. I don t know much
    Message 1 of 31 , Jun 17, 2005
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      Ludwig & Tom

      The translucent material I mentioned is what Xante recommends for use in
      its Filmmaker. It was originally an Agfa development. I don't know much
      more about it than that. The specs on transparent and opaque of their
      film just barely meet the requirements for letterpress, but they do just
      meet them. From what I understand it takes several applications in the
      bath to get the opaque to these specs.

      The specs aren't mine, Tom, they are industry standard for photopolymer
      plates formulated for letterpress. Period. Minimum density of 3.5 to 4.0
      over opaque, maximum density of .05 at transparency. 2400 is the
      standard minimum dpi for film negatives. Below this and you have poor
      imaging. There are no if and or buts about this. You can't effectively
      post process imaging at 600 dpi to improve its clarity.

      Ludwig, I don't make my own film. I buy processed film negatives from
      service bureaus. It's not the expense of the film that would drive me to
      attempt making "homemade film negatives," it is the cost of plate
      material potentially ruined by such negatives that drives me away. I do
      a significant amount of processing for clients so I really can't afford
      to indulge in alternatives such as this. Clients just want functional
      plates on time. And that "on time" bit doesn't allow for me to spend
      time putzing around attempting to make something that I can get
      perfectly rendered right down the street. And even if one only processes
      for oneself I still can't imagine that there is significant economic
      savings (also considering here the extra labor/time involved) using
      toner based film to justify the practice especially given the likelihood
      that the plates won't render exactly as expected time after time.

      As far as hand attempts to increase the opaque go, there is a spray
      product out that silk screeners use called Laser Buddy Document Spray
      (acetone and isobutyl acetate). It does work but it also decreases the
      transparent. It is better for images than text and not useful where
      consistency is required.

      http://www.laserbuddy.com/

      There have been a number of different filmless technical developments
      for photopolymer plate processing. Most of these require special "plate
      printers," but the plates themselves can be processed in the normal way.

      http://www.andersonvreeland.com/flexolaser.htm

      There is, by the way, a fairly substantial collection of links to
      toner-based negatives and other alternative practices in the Links
      section here.

      Gerald


      Ludwig M. Solzen wrote:

      >Gerald, Tom
      >
      >Perhaps a silly question on the jargon: what do both of you mean with
      >"translucent material" (i.e. in contrast to a transparent/transparency)? I
      >suspect you're discussing what we call in Dutch (and French) a "calque", or
      >tracing paper. Is that right? If so, can you recommend any brand and/or
      >paper weight (grammage)? The Croquis Echelle Canson I use is 90 g/m², and
      >thicker than the overhead projector transparencies I use for making
      >negatives. Will the thickness of the paper affect the exposure time?
      >
      >
      . . .

      >
      >Gerald, you say you don't "generate enough film to offset the cost" of an
      >image setter such as Xanté's FalmMaker4. What equipment you then use when
      >making your negatives? I'd be interested to hear also from others about
      >their practices in making their own homemade film negs.
      >
      >Ludwig
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Ludwig M. Solzen
      Gerald Your today s question somehow relates to the small discussion we had two months ago, on June 18th–19th, regarding bookwork. I wrote some extra remarks
      Message 31 of 31 , Aug 12, 2005
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        Gerald

        Your today's question somehow relates to the small discussion we had two
        months ago, on June 18th–19th, regarding bookwork. I wrote some extra
        remarks at that point, but didn't bother to send them through after all,
        because I thought my personal feelings are of too less relevance to the
        group's interests. But while you ask again– Since my entry into this group,
        I joined in several discussions of very different sorts. Apart from
        technical matters, I think it's a good thing, too, to consider once and a
        while the precise nature of one's activity, its causes, means and all
        personal motivations involved. I am myself however still a newcomer in the
        field of digital letterpress, and thus feel somewhat annoyed in putting my
        perhaps unrealistic visions into the forefront. Please tell me when I
        exaggerate things and put too much youthful vigour or polemics in these
        atavistic observations of mine. But please, do not speak of an "older
        generational activity". Fine press publishing and more ore less
        bibliophilistic bookwork is the province, not of age, not the hobby-horse of
        aging midlifers, but of taste only, good taste that is, and the intellectual
        refinement of man as such.


        RE: [PPLetterpress] letterpress and the market

        Do not understand me wrong: I am myself an enthusiast admirer of those
        splendid books designed for the NY Limited Editions Club, by such
        outstanding book artists as e.g. Jan Van Krimpen and Bram De Does. But I ask
        myself what other purpose such editions serve, but the pleasing of wealthy
        bourgeois bibliophiles who are disappointed in the exclusivity of their
        collector's item if the edition runs over 146... This is what I call
        snobbery. Books, in the first place, are meant to be read, not to be put
        away on mahogany bookshelves. There are more people between heaven and earth
        that like to read, than are dreamt of in the capitalist logic of a retiring
        speculator that thinks of himself as a cultivated man of letters.

        There are some other issues at stake. Suppose you're a publisher of fine
        press books. The surest investment is the edition of a classic, of whose
        texts there is by preference no fine press edition already. The offset of
        such an edition is almost certainly guaranteed, since bibliophiles won't
        bear to miss a fine edition of e.g. T.S. Eliot in their collections. The
        problem is that if publishers would do only classics, the work of still
        unknown authors will remain in oblivion. Publishers of trade editions take
        popular (i.e. selling) authors only, and if fine press publishers would do
        so as well, the prime task of the publishing world will be shamefully
        neglected, that is, the divulgation of literature that is worth to be read.
        It is no use to have a paperback of The Four Quartets in your personal
        library, besides a fine press edition of the same poem. But it is meaningful
        to have T.S. Eliot in a trade edition that is already available, along with
        the edition of a young contemporary poet, of whose work no commercial
        publisher endeavours an edition. As a consequence of this, contemporary
        authors that do not share the fame of their classic predecessors, must
        always reckon on a limited edition of their work, because commercial
        publishers of trade editions will not take the risk. Such an edition is
        'limited' not by snobbery motives, but because of the sheer fact that the
        reading public in this particular case is limited.

        One might use the notion "samizdat" for this sort of literature that escapes
        the channels of the established market. In the USSR that market was
        controlled by a political censure; in our day and age the market is
        controlled by the commercial benefits of huge publishing enterprises. I do
        not know about the situation in the US, but in my home country, we are for
        several decades in need of a true literary publishing house. The book market
        is controlled by two or three esteemed publishing houses that make or break
        an author. Their representatives are in the committees that decide about
        literary prizes and awards, they are in the official boards that decide
        about governmental subsidy &c. Contemporary debuting authors are hyped, or
        left into the shadows, according to the wimps of the literary mafia. And
        here we confront a new type of political censorship: authors who adhere to
        classical standards and who will not comply to postmodernist aesthetics or
        deconstructionalist ideology are considered conservatives or even worse:
        reactionaries.

        Publishing the work of such modern day samizdat authors, by necessity will
        bear upon limited editions. Since we are dealing with limited editions,
        letterpress, to me, is the most adequate printing method. The runs are
        small, but not too small, and the added value of its beauty will likely
        encourage the buying public to take the risk of its investment.

        But yet another consideration. Perhaps using such expressions as 'samizdat'
        and 'young contemporary poets that are neglected by the established
        publishing world' makes you think of debutants dreaming of recognition and
        estimation, but who are in fact amateurs without talent. The offspring of a
        spoiled generation that takes the bibliophilistic publication of its
        squiggles for granted, used as it is to waste money rather on plastic
        compact disks than on the pocket books it gets for free together with a
        throw-away glossy magazine... I must confess I had similar feelings when I
        visited the Minnipressen-Messe in Mainz this year. This so called "book fair
        of private presses" has a long and revered tradition and its mission
        statement sounds very appealing: the support and promotion of "den kleinen
        und kleinsten Druckereien und Verlagen, auch Minipressen genannt, deren
        Produktion in öffentlichen Bibliotheken und Archiven erfahrungsgemäß nur
        schwer Aufnahme fand. Entweder wurden die geringen Auflagen gar nicht
        bekannt, oder aber als 'Alternativliteratur' nicht zur Kenntnis genommen."
        However, the present-day reality is that the Messe was crowded with
        arty-farty hobbyists showing their linocuts and pubescent rhymes in
        elaborate presentation folders, printed of course "by hand" in "limited
        edition artist books". And these "private presses" stood shoulder by
        shoulder with marginal copy shop publishers of anarchist propaganda,
        promoters of macrobiotic food and yoga. One of the graphic artists I spoke
        with, called his colleagues "Bastler", which is German for
        "do-it-yourselvers". Gutenberg's home city once stood for fine book work and
        serious publishing. Sic transit gloria mundi...

        On each occasion I visited expositions of letterpress and bibliophile work,
        it has always been my sad experience that letterpress seems to have come
        into the poor hobby-craft realm of self-declared artists and authors. That's
        yet another reason why I am personally fed up with such notions as "limited
        edition" and "bibliophile press work". Is it the inevitable fate of
        letterpress indeed? I recall that I like myself beautiful typography on
        broadsheets, invitation cards and so forth, even with deep impression on
        rough surfaced, moulded or hand-made papers. But such beauties one day were
        called "Akzidenzen", and the general expression for letterpress, in German,
        still is "Buchdruck".

        Ludwig
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