The Digital Negative with Richard Boutwell – June 22

June 22, 2018
Photostock Workshop 
Cross Village, Michigan

The easiest QuadToneRIP digital negative method for Epson UltraChrome K3 inks.

QuadToneRIP is arguably the best option for making digital inkjet negatives because the tonal corrections for the process are built into the ink levels rather than using drastic correction curves applied to the digital image tones. But there are some downsides to the way QTR negatives have traditionally been created. The biggest is the time-consuming calibration process, which involves entering settings for the ink levels, partitioning information, and the correction curve and linearization information into a text file. To do well, there is a minimum of four printing steps, along with measurements, manual calculations, and optional Photoshop plugins or spreadsheet tools used in the linearization process, all of which can add up to several hours to several days to produce a good negative.

The other downside is the shape of the ink curves themselves. The QTR curve creation program will always result in sharp changes where the ink levels ramp up, overlap, and drop off. Additionally, the traditional QTR curve does not allow for long, tapered ink ramps, and inks do not overlap enough to make smooth gradients. The sharper ramps can cause problems in the linearization steps and can result in banding where one ink ends and the next begins.

This workshop utilizes Richard’s QuadToneProfiler-QuickCurve-DN tools. This new system uses the QuadToneRIP driver, but does away with all the complexity and manual calculation typically involved in the traditional QuadToneRIP curve creation process.

The system is based on a special set of pre-defined quad curves, a method for setting the ideal blocking density for a wide range of processes, and built-in linearization tools.

This system is designed to remove the need for Photoshop scripts and adjustment curves, and creates perfectly smooth digital negatives for any process you want, from albumen to ziatype.

What will be covered
The workshop will start with a QuadToneRIP crash course that will cover basic QTR terminology, how to install custom quad printers for keeping digital negative separate from other QTR printing, the digital negative printing workflow for both macOS and Windows, and a brief discussion about linearization. The whole idea of these tools is to remove complexity, so we will also go over the few things you can ignore when using the QuickCurve-DN system.

The QuickCurve-DN curve creation method.

Once we’ve become familiar with the QuadToneRIP, it is time to begin work on the QuickCurve-DN method where we will;

  • Find correct exposure for maximum black
  • Establish the needed blocking density for your process and install the initial quad curves
  • Print and measure the linearization target with workflows for different devices: photospectrometers (i1 ProColorMunkiSpyderPrint), flatbed scanners, and manual densitometers
  • Use the QuickCurve-DN’s built-in linearization tools
  • Print torture test images and confirming linearity

Also included will be some best practices for final image edits, including custom sharpening workflows for digital negatives, and soft proofing.

All workshop attendees will receive Richard Boutwell’s QuickCurve-DN application for macOS or the Excel based version for Windows, both of which include a year of free email support and updates.


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