Siderotype Paper Survey: Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint, Ziatype v1.0

Special Edition Art Project Logo

This detailed paper survey is the Special Edition Art Project effort to document how papers behave when paired with historic Siderotype processes used in our coastal California working environment. The Siderotype processes Cyanotype (iron), Vandyke Brownprint (silver) aka VDB, and Ziatype (palladium / gold / tungsten / platinum) are the focus of this survey, creating an assessment of a paper’s image density across exposure corrections, amount and type of grain, image bleed, and overall color tonality. The survey was published in November 2018 and can also be downloaded as a pdf here.

Writer and photography / Eric Andersson


Paper Introductions

Correction Ramps
This paper survey is an effort to document how papers behave when paired with historic Siderotype processes used in our coastal California working environment. The Siderotype processes Cyanotype (iron), Vandyke Brownprint (silver) aka VDB, and Ziatype (palladium / gold / tungsten / platinum) are the focus of this survey, creating an assessment of a paper’s image density across exposure corrections, amount and type of grain, image bleed, and overall color tonality.

The contact negative used is similar to this positive image pictured, only inverted and flipped horizontally in printing so that a true negative is produced. The image consists of pairs of Special Edition Art Project (SEAP) exposure corrections applied consecutively to the columns of density ramps, ranging from 0% to 100% density in units of 10%. The end columns are linear, with no exposure correction applied.

The linear ramps show what would be obtained if a digital image were simply inverted, printed, and used as a digital negative. The next pair are corrections for the Silver Gelatin process. Next up is the Cyanotype process correction, followed by four VDB process corrections. The first of these VDB corrections has a slightly darker highlight density, followed by two standard exposure corrections, followed lastly by a slightly lighter highlight density. The last set of four columns are the Ziatype corrections, with the first and fourth being slightly darker and lighter highlights and the middle two being a standard exposure correction. The final column is again a linear ramp used to bookend the exposure correction test chart.

After collecting data on a handful of papers we updated this test chart, replacing the first of the Cyanotype corrections with a modified Silver Gelatin correction. This COT320 (c/v) exposure correction is intended to pull out shadow detail and bring in highlight detail for those papers where shadows are crushed and highlights are not represented. The name of this correction comes due to COT320 paper’s ability to print both Cyanotype and VDB with a single negative. The second change was to replace the VDB (-) correction, intended to slightly darken the highlights, with a more pronounced correction called VDB (dark). Based on the analysis of paper behaviors, we found a need similar to COT320 (c/v) for this VDB (dark) correction, to prevent crushed shadows and blown out highlights. This new test chart can be seen in the Canson 100 RGH/CP paper samples. All of the Special Edition Art Project characteristic exposure response curves are documented in Appendix B.

The remaining portions of the test chart are intended to gauge image bleed from 100% density into open 0% density, as seen in the framing of the image samples. Lastly, the deliberate use of fine white lettering on black for process identification is to gauge image bleed at the detail level. This test chart provides telling behavioral characteristics of the process / paper samples under inspection, allowing for an informed artist and practitioner.

For sample consistency, unless otherwise noted, papers were cut down to 7.5×11 then coated with the process emulsion. A consistent emulsion mix and amount was used for each process. Drop counts are denoted by <gt>, from the Latin “guttae”. Tween 20 10% surfactant was used only for the Fluid HP, Lana Aquarelle, and Hahnemühle Platinum Rag. Only the Canson 100 RGH/CP used gum arabic as an anti-surfactant. A Richeson 9010 ‘magic’ brush was used as the applicator, providing consistent and uniform emulsion application. After a timed dry-down, the paper was cut down to a pair of 5×7 sheets and exposed together to the shortest exposure time, the first sheet removed and the remaining sheet exposed to completion, assuring consistency of the paper’s %rH through the exposure process. The UV exposure system used is a standard bulb Edwards Engineered Products 18×20 light source. Our Santa Cruz California print making facility tends towards a consistent 70 degrees Fahrenheit at 60%rH.

Revere, Cartiere Magnani

320gsm, 100% cotton, acid free & non-buffered, cream in tone

Processes – Vandyke Brownprint

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows medium grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges.

Bleed: No appreciable border bleeding on either 5min or 7.5min exposures. White text on 100% density is readable without bleed on 5min exposure, very slight bleed into lettering at 7.5min exposure.

Exposure Response

Black: 7.5 minute exposure produces a credibly darker 100% density than the 5min exposure. Even at 7.5min, black is on the dark grey side, indicating this paper could use another 30-60s of exposure time.

5min Exposure: Underexposed

7.5min Exposure: Underexposed. More exposure time is needed to better maximize 100% image density. Best correction response across all corrections, is silver gelatin. With the silver correction, 10% is too light and the shadows are crushed.

Overall: More exposure time may help bring in the highlights across the board on all response corrections as well as linear, but need to assure the shadows don’t crush more than they already are. The COT320 (c/v) response can be put to play here to prevent shadow crushing and bring in the highlights and at a greater than 7.5min exposure.

Assessment

Mid-tone Color: Cool Neutral brown with 100% density tending toward dark warm grey
Pantone 7582U, R122 / G104 / B94, HTML 0x7A685E

Fluid HP Watercolor, Global Art Materials

300gsm, 140lb, acid free & alkali buffered with calcium carbonate (chalk), Hot Pressed, white

Fluid HP & Fluid 100 HP hot press watercolor paper has an affordability, availability, great wet processing ability, and nice image production for use with these processes. Fluid HP 100 is 100% cotton, is not quite as stiff as the standard HP, holding an image slightly less crisp than the non-cotton hot press paper. Resultant images from Fluid 100 HP tend to come in with deeper and richer tonality. Tween 20 10% at 1gt per 3ml emulsion is needed to get the sensitizer mix to soak into these paper’s fibers. Best to use upwards of 1gt per 1ml emulsion of citric acid 40% to both neutralize the carbonate alkali buffer in the paper as well as help with clearing in the first wash water. Great wet processing strength.

Processes – Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint

Cyanotype

  • Steel Blue
  • Std Cyanotype correction with 18-21min exposure
  • Tween required, 1gt / 3ml total A/B emulsion

Vandyke Brownprint

  • Warm sepia
  • Std VDB correction with 7.5min exposure
  • Tween required, 1gt / 3ml total emulsion

Cyanotype

Bostick & Sullivan (B&S) Powdered Kit

Bostick & Sullivan A/B power of 25g/100ml (A) & 10g/100ml (B)
1.5ml emulsion each A & B, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 30min air, 30min fan, 60min total
100% exposure == 21min, 2/3rds exposure == 14min

Phototographer’s Formulary (PF) Liquid Kit

Photographer’s Formulary Cyanotype A/B liquid emulsion
1.5ml emulsion each A & B, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 30min air, 30min fan, 60min total
100% exposure == 21min, 2/3rds exposure == 14min

Grain & Bleed

Grain: Shows grain at both 14min & 21min exposures in all density ranges. 2-3gt/3ml emulsion of Tween may be needed over the 1gt/3ml emulsion used in this survey to reduce the grain/scratchy image result and better soak in the citric acid used to neutralize the alkali buffer.

Bleed: No bleeding on 14min or 21min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is visible with little bleed onto lettering. 21min exposure slightly more so on the white lettering. Better initial wash agitation may reduce some of this bleed.

Exposure Response

Bostick & Sullivan Powdered Kit

Black: 14min is slightly less black than 21min exposure to create 100% densities.

White: At 14min the Cyanotype correction 0% meets paper white. At 21min 0% is seeing just a few percent above paper white.

14min Exposure: Underexposed for the Cyanotype correction with all others not even close.

21min Exposure: The Cyanotype correction is best for this paper at 21min.

Overall: With an exposure on the order of 21min with the Cyanotype correction, this paper and chemistry combination does a fine job representing the full 100% to 0% density range. Keep an eye on paper white at 0% or adjust the response curve a tad to lighten the 0% mark.

Photographer’s Formulary Liquid Kit

Black: 14min is slightly less black than 21min exposure to create 100% densities.

White: At 14min the Cyanotype correction 0% is just shy of paper white. At 21min the Cyanotype correction is seeing upwards of 5% density at paper white with the correction being overexposed at 10% density.

14min Exposure: Slightly underexposed for the Cyanotype correction with all others not even close. The Cyanotype correction is best for this paper at more than 14min and less than 21min.

21min Exposure: Overexposed with the Cyanotype correction across the density range with 10% coming in much too dark.

Overall: With an exposure range of 16-18min using the Cyanotype correction, this paper and chemistry combination does a fine job representing the full 100% to 0% density range. Keep an eye on paper white at 0% or adjust the exposure curve a tad to lighten the 0% mark

Assessment

Fluid HP is remarkably incompatible with Mike Ware’s New Cyanotype. Even with the use of 40% citric acid to neutralize the paper’s alkali buffers this paper will self-develop in a matter of hours, turning from healthy yellow/green to a uselessly exposed green/blue. This paper is not worth further consideration with New Cyanotype due to unexposed emulsion color change indicating incompatibility.

For a given exposure, the PF A/B liquid kit results in an image slightly more dense at all percentages than with the B&S powdered kit chemistry, even with the powder kit matching the Formulary’s documented mix percentages. Curious that the 14min PF paper 100% density is lighter than the 14min B&S mix while at the same time keeping the density ranges proportionally darker with the PF mix. All other characterizations, grain, bleed, tone, between B&S & PF chemistry are the same with the Fluid paper. The PF chemistry simply has a shorter exposure time requirement.

The smooth hot press paper texture produces fine grain, and might like a tad more than 1gt/3ml emulsion of Tween surfactant to better the grain results. Good tonal range and cleared well to paper white. Cyanotype response is the performer with Fluid papers. Tonality more muted when compared to Cot320 or Platine coming in at a Steel Blue tone. The standard cyanotype response could be a little more conservative about letting 0% density reach paper white.

Mid-tone Color: Prussian Blue with a Steel Blue hue
Pantone 544U mids, R151 / G193 / B223, HTML 0x97C1DF
Pantone 7689U dark mids, R86 / G147 / B193, HTML 0x5693C1

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed

Grain: Shows very fine grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges.

Bleed: Slight bleeding on 5min exposure with some runoff at 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is readable with slight bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure bleed more pronounced at 100% to 0% border crossing. White lettering on 100% density is barely readable. This paper needs an agitated initial wash cycle to help mitigate bleed issues.

Exposure Response

Black: 7.5 minute exposure produces an ever so slightly darker 100% density than the lesser 5min exposure.

5min Exposure: Underexposed from the VDB correction point of view. Ziatype (-) would be the best response for this exposure time.

7.5min Exposure: Best response is the standard VDB. Next best is standard Ziatype producing a density range slightly shifted toward the shadows, so again level shifting would be required.

Overall: At 5min, the Ziatype (-) response may be a good compromise between maximum density and much reduced bleeding into the highlights. The downside is the density range tends towards the darks with the lighter densities underrepresented. At 7.5min, the standard VDB correction is called for as an appropriate response curve. The VDB (dark) correction may be good for some classes of images.

Assessment

This paper produces a fine grained classic Vandyke Brownprint sepia image and takes beautifully to gold / silver replacement with POP gold salt toning methods.

Mid-tone Color: Warm silver sepia brown
Pantone 7567U, R144 / G112 / B92, HTLM 0x90705C

Rising Stonehenge, Legion Paper

250gsm, 90lb, 100% cotton, acid free & alkali buffered with calcium carbonate (chalk), Hot Pressed, white.

Processes – Vandyke Brownprint

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed

Grain: Shows fine grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges. Paper itself has a bit of texture to it which seems to visually manifest as grain.

Bleed: Bleeding on 5min exposure producing runoff of 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is just barely visible with significant bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure bleed is similar to the 5min exposure characterization with more bleed into the fine white lettering.

Exposure Response

Black: 7.5min exposure produces an ever so slightly darker 100% density than the lesser 5min exposure.

5min Exposure: Slightly under exposed from the VDB correction point of view while being the best response for this exposure time.

7.5min Exposure: Slightly overexposed, producing a lot of image bleed and crushed shadows across the correction responses.

Overall: The VDB (dark) exposure correction at less than 7.5min is the right direction.

Assessment

Mid-tone Color: Warm silver sepia brown, tending toward neutral
Pantone 7568U, R130 / G109 / B94, HTML 0x826D5E

Arches Platine, Canson

310gsm, 140lb, Hot Pressed, bright white.

Processes – Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint

 

Cyanotype

Bostick & Sullivan A/B power of 25g/100ml (A) & 10g/100ml (B)
1.5ml emulsion each A & B, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 30min air, 30min fan, 60min total
100% exposure == 21min, 2/3rds exposure == 14min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows very fine but inconsistent grain at both 14min & 21min exposures in all density ranges. Paper has very little texture and produces a superb image.

Bleed: No bleeding on 14min or 21min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is visible with very little bleed onto lettering. 21min exposure bleed is ever so slight between 100% and the white lettering. An aggravated initial wash may address this minor bleeding.

Exposure Response

Black: 14min and 21min exposure produce very similar 100% densities.

White: Silver, VDB, and Ziatpe corrections all cleared to 0% density, excluding an overall subtle blueing treatment seen on top of paper white.

14min Exposure: Overexposed for the Silver correction, underexposed for the VDB correction, the Cyanotype horrendously incorrect, and Ziatype crushing its shadows white bringing in the highlights. Best correction is VDB with shadows tending to be crushed. Next up is the Silver correction with more correction needed in the shadows to prevent crushing and a lower exposure to lighten the highlights.

21min Exposure: Slightly overexposed with the VDB correction with the shadows badly crushed. As with the 14min exposure, need to brighten the shadows when using this paper and the VDB correction.

Overall: Using the VDB (dark) correction to brighten up the shadows while darkening the highlights with an exposure upwards or 16-18min would be a good recipe. With an exposure less than 14min, the Silver response might be the way to go as long as 100% density stays 100% and the shadows are de-crushed. The COT320 (v/c) correction might work out in this case.

Assessment

Performs very similarly to COT320 in many respects, overall slightly more dense for both exposure times. Unable to clear to paper white, leaving a very light blue tint on the paper (much like a subtle blueing treatment).

Mid-tone Color: Sky blue highlights to Bleu de France
Pantone 290U light mids, R167 / G212 / B238, HTML 0xA7D4EE
Pantone 641U dark mids, R0 / G120 / B167, HTML 0x0078A7

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows significant grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges, more so than Revere. Tween may help in this regard to force emulsion into the paper’s fibers.

Bleed: No bleed on 5min exposure between 100% to 0% at border areas. White lettering on 100% density is nicely visible with no bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure also shows no bleed from 100% to 0% density regions. White lettering is slightly blocked up. Greater agitation in initial wash may reduce this slight bleed into fine details.

Exposure Response

Black: 7.5 minute exposure produces a darker 100% density than the 5min exposure.

5min Exposure: Does not perform well with any of the exposure response curves. All are underexposed with no representation of highlights or mid-tones.

7.5min Exposure: Underexposed in highlights and crushed shadows across the correction responses. The most serviceable exposure response is for Silver, with compromised highlights as all tones are shifted towards the shadows until 20% where they then simply blow out to white.

Overall: This paper simply needs a significantly different response curve for VDB relative to the other papers and processes. With the 5min exposure, its lack of bleed, dark neutral silver sepia color, its ability to get close to full 100% density, grain as its primary downside, this paper may be worth the creation of a special VDB response correction or a correction on top of one that is close.

Assessment

Arches Platine 310gsm with VDB does not play well with the VDB exposure response as it crushes shadow detail into the blacks and is unable to represent highlights with any efficacy. Very smooth and detailed images with a satin, yet inconsistent, grain. Good wet processing strength. Does not need Tween, though it may help with some of the grain inconsistencies.

Mid-tone Color: Neutral silver sepia brown with 100% density tending toward warm black
Pantone 7582U, R122 / G104 / B94, HTML 0x7A685E

Lana Aquarelle, Lana Paper Mill

140lb, Hot Pressed, natural in color

Processes – Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint

Cyanotype

  • Steel Blue
  • Std Cyanotype correction with 16-18min exposure
  • Quite grainy even with extra Tween in an attempt to reduce grain artifacting
  • Tween needed

Vandyke Brownprint

  • Warm sepia
  • Std VDB correction or VDB (dark) with 7.5min exposure
  • Tween required, 1gt / 3ml total emulsion

Cyanotype

Bostick & Sullivan A/B power of 25g/100ml (A) & 10g/100ml (B)
1.5ml emulsion each A & B, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 30min air, 30min fan, 60min total
100% exposure == 21min, 2/3rds exposure == 14min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows significant grain at both 14min & 21min exposures in all density ranges. Paper has a nice texture, less of hot press and more towards cold press after processing and dry down. Additional Tween at 3gt/3ml added in a separate test did not reduce the grain / scratchy artifacts.

Bleed: No bleeding on 14min or 21min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is marginally visible with little bleed onto lettering. 21min exposure slightly more so on the white lettering. Stronger initial wash agitation may reduce this level of bleed.

Exposure Response

Black: 14min is slightly less black than 21min exposure to create 100% densities.

White: At 14min the Cyanotype correction 0% is paper white. At 21min the Cyanotype correction is just beginning to some density at 0% white with the correction being overexposed.

14min Exposure: Slightly underexposed for the Cyanotype correction with all others not even close. The Cyanotype correction is best for this paper at more than 14min and less than 21min.

21min Exposure: Overexposed with the Cyanotype across the density range.

Overall: With an exposure approaching 16-18min using the Cyanotype correction, this paper does a fine job representing the full 100% to 0% density range.

Assessment

Nice paper texture, looking more like a cold press paper after processing than the hot press it is. Produces significant grain (or as B&S says “scratchy”). An experiment with more Tween at 3gt/3ml did not help reduce the grain. Good tonal range and cleared well to paper white. Cyanotype response is the performer much like with Fluid papers. Tonality more muted when compared to COT320 or Platine and closely matches that of Fluid HP Steel Blue.

Mid-tone Color: Steel Blue
Pantone 544U light mids, R151 / G193 / B223, HTML 0x97C1DF
Pantone 7689U dark mids, R86 / G147 / B193, HTML 0x5693C1

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows fine grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges. Paper itself has a bit of texture to it which visually manifests as grain.

Bleed: Slight bleeding on 5min exposure producing runoff of 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is just visible with bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure bleed is more significant than the 5min exposure characterization with image bleed obliterating the white lettering. Much better initial wash water agitation is needed to reduce the majority of bleeding issues. Longer exposures aggravate the bleeding issue.

Exposure Response

Black: 7.5 minute exposure produces an ever so slightly darker 100% density compared to the 5 min exposure.

5min Exposure: Performs best with the Ziatype (-) exposure response curve for a lighter overall density. The Silver response brings in the highlights, but the overall density response is skewed toward the darks. The VDB correction is skewed toward the shadows, leaving the highlights to suffer. Silver correction at less than 5min could be a play here.

7.5min is quite simply overexposed across the exposure response curves. Crushed shadows across the correction responses and blown highlights with the VDB response, best with the std Ziatpype adjustment.

Overall: An exposure between 5min and 7.5min using the VDB (dark) correction will open the shadows and bring in the highlights to produce a consistent density range. At an exposure closer to 5min or less, the COT320 (v/c) correction could produce good results.

Assessment

Lana Aquarelle prints towards neutral warm with VDB. Has some unexpected grain, especially compared to Arches Platine. Good wet processing strength. The VDB (dark) exposure correction is a great place to start for consistent densities. This paper takes beautifully to gold / silver replacement with POP gold salt toning methods.

Mid-tone Color: Cool Neutral brown with 100% density tending toward warm black
Pantone 7596U, R119 / G103 / B96, HTML 0x776760

Arches Aquarelle, Canson

300gsm, 140lb, Hot Pressed, 100% cotton, natural in color

Processes – Vandyke Brownprint

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows fine grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges with a little mottling randomly across the image surface. Paper has very little texture.

Bleed: No bleeding on 5min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is just visible with bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure bleed is essentially non-existent between 100% to 0% at border area (with the exception of a couple of localized areas that just could not contain themselves). There is image bleed obliterating the white lettering.

Better initial wash water agitation is needed to reduce the border area bleeding issues. Unclear if the lettering issue can be mitigated w/o going to a shorter exposure time.

Exposure Response

Black: 5min and 7.5min exposures produce very similar 100% densities.

5min Exposure: Underexposed across the board with highlights not ever reaching their abilities. The Silver correction is best but tends to crush the shadows and blow out the highlights.

7.5min Exposure: Quite simply overexposed across the response curves with crushed shadows and highlights never coming into play. There is no best correction here at 7.5min exposure as the ‘fix’ is to reduce the exposure time closer to 5min and correct for this paper’s specific density ramp.

Overall: With exposure between 5min and 7.5min and using the the COT320 (c/v) or VDB (dark) exposure corrections, there may be a common ground where density ranges appear natural and highlights begin the come in.

Assessment

This paper can be a player when using the COT320 (c/v) or VDB (dark) exposure corrections to achieve a visually natural density range. The caution is the mottling in the grain resulting in this paper’s specific look.

Mid-tone Color: Warm silver sepia brown
Pantone 154U, R146 / G104 / B68, HTML 0x926844

COT 320, Bergger

320gsm, Hot Pressed, 100% cotton, natural white (cream)

Processes – Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint, Ziatype

Cyanotype

  • Sky blue highlights to Bleu de France mid-tones, producing a superb image
  • New VDB (dark) correction at 14min exposure
  • No Tween needed

Vandyke Brownprint

  • Dark neutral sepia
  • New COT320 (c/v) or VDB (dark) correction with 4-5min exposure
  • No Tween needed

Ziatype

  • Standard Ziatype correction with ±5min exposure
  • Produces a superb image with consistent fine grain
  • No Tween needed

Cyanotype

Bostick & Sullivan A/B power of 25g/100ml (A) & 10g/100ml (B)
1.5ml emulsion each A & B, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 30min air, 30min fan, 60min total
100% exposure == 21min, 2/3rds exposure == 14min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows very fine consistent grain at both 14min & 21min exposures in all density ranges. Paper has very little texture.

Bleed: No bleeding on 14min or 21min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is visible with very little bleed onto lettering. 21min exposure bleed is ever so slight between 100% and the white lettering. Better initial wash agitation may address this. Unable to clear to paper white as a very light blue tint remains on the paper after processing, much like a subtle blueing treatment.

Exposure Response

Black: 14min and 21min exposure produce very similar 100% densities.

Silver, VDB, and Ziatpe all cleared to 0% density (excluding the overall subtle blueing treatment of the paper).

14min Exposure: Slightly overexposed for the Silver correction, slightly underexposed for the VDB correction, the Cyanotype horrendously incorrect, and Ziatype crushing its shadows. Best correction is VDB with shadows tending to be crushed, so best to start off with the VDB (dark) correction to bring out the shadows and represent the highlights. Next up is the Silver correction with more correction to the shadows to prevent crushing.

21min Exposure: Slightly overexposed with the VDB correction with the shadows lightly crushed. As with the 14min exposure, need to brighten the shadows when using this paper and the VDB correction.

Overall: With an exposure between 14min and 21min and using the VDB (dark) or the COT320 (c/v) corrections, there is a common ground where density ranges seem natural and highlights come into play.

Assessment

Produces a superb fine grained and brilliantly colored image. Paper is well behaved in exposure and wet processing. Need to fully understand how best to clear the last vestiges of bluing from the paper fibers.

Mid-tone Color: Sky blue highlights to Bleu de France
Pantone 290U light mids, R167 / G212 / B238, HTML 0xA7D4EE
Pantone 641U dark mids, R0 / G120 / B167, HTML 0x0078A7

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows fine grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges. Paper has very little texture.

Bleed: No bleeding on 5min or 7.5min exposures between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is visible with very little bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure bleed is ever so slight between 100% and the white lettering. Better initial wash agitation may address this.

Exposure Response

Black: 5min and 7.5min exposure produce very similar 100% densities.

5min Exposure: Almost correctly exposed for the Silver correction, with the VDB & Ziatype not bringing in the highlights. The shadows are tending to be crushed, so best to brighten those up by leveling toward the highlights when using this paper and the Silver correction.

7.5min Exposure: Slightly overexposed in the Silver correction with the shadows crushed. As with the 5min exposure, need to brighten the shadows when using this paper and the Silver correction.

Overall: With exposure between 5min and 7.5min, and using the COT320 (c/v) or VDB (dark) corrections, there is a common ground where density ranges seem natural and highlights come into play.

Assessment

Bergger COT320 does not require Tween. Good wet processing strength. Good grain structure and exposure response showing consistent density across the ranges. COT320 (c/v) or VDB (dark) exposure corrections good starting points to get natural density ranges.

Mid-tone Color: Warm neutral silver sepia brown
Pantone 476U, R110 / G94 / B82, HTML 0x6E5E52

Ziatype

Bostick & Sullivan Ziatype (Pd/Au/W / Pt), 16gt Fe, 15gt Pd, 1gt Au, 0gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 5min air, 5min fan, 10min total to preserve moisture (~60%rH @ ~72°F/22°C)
100% exposure == 7min, 2/3rds exposure == 4.5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Exceptionally fine grain.

Bleed: No bleed whatsoever from 100% to 0% densities or into fine white lettering on 100% dense areas.

Exposure Response

Black: 4.5min black is very close to the full density of 7min exposure. Maximum density will be closer to 5min exposure times. Silver, VDB, and Ziatpe all cleared to 0% density.

4.5min Exposure: Very close to the perfect exposure for the Ziatype correction. Upwards of 5min to get full 100% density and get a slightly darker 10%.

7min Exposure: Overexposed for the Ziatype correction. The VDB (-) response begins to be correct at this longer exposure time.

Overall: An exposure on the order of 5min with the Ziatype correction will provide the most consistent walk through the density ranges.

Assessment

COT320 produces superb images with a consistent fine grain and wonderful wet processing ability. Good economy of emulsion for beautiful images at 32gt total emulsion on 8×10 when brushed on with the Richeson 9010 synthetic brush. This paper takes slightly longer to clear compared to Hahnemühle Platinum Rag. Clearing consists of two washes in pH 5-6 water followed by 3-5min of HypoClear to clear out the remaining yellowing of emulsion to get to paper white.

Tonality greatly depends on mix of palladium (neutral), gold (cool), and tungsten (warm) as well as humidity of the paper (less moves image warmer).

Hahnemühle Platinum Rag, Hahnemühle

300gsm, 100% cotton, natural white (cream)

Processes – Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint, Ziatype

Ziatype

  • Standard Ziatype correction with ±5min exposure
  • Produces a superb image with consistent fine grain
  • No Tween needed

Cyanotype

Bostick & Sullivan A/B power of 25g/100ml (A) & 10g/100ml (B)
1.5ml emulsion each A & B, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 30min air, 30min fan, 60min total
100% exposure == 21min, 2/3rds exposure == 14min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows fine grain at both 14min & 21min exposures in all density ranges. Grain not quite as smooth or consistent as COT320. Paper has very little texture.

Bleed: Slight bleed at 14min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area, more so with the 21min exposure. White lettering on 100% density is visible with bleeding onto lettering. 21min exposure bleed is ever so slightly worse than 14min exposure between 100% and the white lettering.

Exposure Response

Black: 21min exposure produces 100% density with 14min exposure not quite reaching 100%. Silver, VDB, and Ziatpe corrections all cleared to 0% density.

14min Exposure: Slightly overexposed in the shadows for the Silver correction, slightly underexposed for the VDB correction, the Cyanotype horrendously incorrect, with the Ziatype correction crushing the shadows.

21min Exposure: Slightly overexposed with the VDB correction with the shadows lightly crushed. As with the 14min exposure, need to brighten the shadows when using this paper and the VDB correction.

Overall: With an exposure between 14min and 21min, the best results tend towards the VDB (dark) correction to lighten the shadows and bring in the highlights. The other option is to use the COT320 (c/v) correction based the silver response to do the same – lighten the shadows and bring in the highlights.

Assessment

Similar tonality, slightly more vibrant, compared to COT320 or Arches Platine. Bleed present from 100% to 0% densities at 21min exposure, less bleed at 14min. Significant grain structure compared to COT320 & Arches Platine.

Similar correction response to COT320, so the use of either the VDB (dark) or COT320 (c/v) corrections are good places to start to tune an image with this process.

As with COT320 & Arches Platine, we are unable to clear the Cyanotype out to paper white, leaving a very light blue tint on the paper much like a subtle blueing treatment. Need to figure out how best to clear this paper with this process.

Mid-tone Color: Slightly more of a vibrant blue than COT320 but overall the same hue. Sky blue highlights to Bleu de France mid tones.
Pantone 290U light mids:  R167, G212, B238, HTML 0xA7D4EE
Pantone 641U dark mids: R0, G120, B167, HTML 0x0078A7

Vandyke Brownprint

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
2.5ml VDB, 3gt citric acid 40%, 1gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows significant grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges. Paper has very little texture. Tween may play a role in reducing grain artifacting.

Bleed: No bleeding on 5min or 7.5min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area. White lettering on 100% density is visible with very little bleed onto lettering. 7.5min exposure bleed is ever so slight between 100% and the white lettering.

Exposure Response

Black: 5min and 7.5 minute exposure produce very similar 100% densities.

5min Exposure: Underexposed with Silver being the most capable.

7.5min Exposure: Underexposed in the highlights with the Silver correction and the shadows overexposed and crushed. Need to brighten the shadows and darken the 10% highlight range when using this paper and the Silver correction.

Overall: With exposure between 5min and 7.5min, using the COT320 (c/v) correction, there may be common ground where density ranges seem natural and highlights begin to come in.

Assessment

Similar tonality, slightly warmer, compared to COT320 or Arches Platine. Clears ever so slightly better than Platine. Significant grain structure compared to these other high end papers.

Similar correction response to COT320, so using the COT320 (c/v) or VDB (dark) exposure corrections are good starting points to get natural density ranges.

Mid-tone Color: Warm(er) neutral silver sepia brown
Pantone 476U, R110 / G94 / B82, HTML 0x6E5E52

Ziatype

Bostick & Sullivan Ziatype (Pd/Au/W / Pt), 16gt Fe, 15gt Pd, 1gt Au, 3gt Tween 20 10%
Dry time: 5min air, 5min fan, 10min total to preserve moisture (~60%rH @ ~72°F/22°C)
100% exposure == 7min, 2/3rds exposure == 4.5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Exceptionally fine grain. Diametrically opposed to what this paper does with VDB

Bleed: No bleed whatsoever from 100% to 0% densities and very little into fine white lettering on 100% dense areas.

Exposure Response

Black: 4.5min black is very close to the full density of the 7min exposure. Maximum density will be closer to 5min exposure times. Silver, VDB, and Ziatpe all cleared to 0% density.

4.5min Exposure: Very close to the perfect exposure for the Ziatype correction. Likely 5min to get full 100% density and get a slightly darker 10%.

7min Exposure: Overexposed for the Ziatype correction. The VDB (-) response begins to be correct at this longer exposure time.

Overall: With an exposure of 5min the Ziatype correction will provide the most consistent walk through the full latitude of density ranges.

Assessment

Hahnemühle Platinum Rag produces superb images with a consistent fine grain and wonderful wet processing ability. Good economy of emulsion for beautiful images at 32gt total emulsion on 8×10 when brushed on with the Richeson 9010 synthetic brush.

Tween is needed, anything from none to 3gt per 8×10 for Ziatype. This paper is easier to clear compared to COT320. Clearing consists of two washes in pH 5-6 water followed by 2-3min of HypoClear to clear out the remaining yellowing of emulsion to get to paper white.

Tonality greatly depends on mix of palladium (neutral), gold (cool), and tungsten (warm) as well as humidity of the paper (less moves image warmer).

Canson 100 RGH/CP, Canson

Canson 100 Watercolour 300 lb, Rough, Bright White, mould-made, 100% cotton sheet. Two working surfaces, Cold Press or Rough. Internally and externally sized. Tween is discouraged with this paper with VDB. A drop or two of gum arabic may be needed to keep this paper from soaking up too much emulsion to quickly.

Processes – Vandyke Brownprint

Vandyke Brownprint

Rough Side of the Paper

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
3ml VDB onto 9×12 sheet, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%, 1gt gum arabic
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Cold Press Side of the Paper

Bostick & Sullivan liquid Vandyke Brownprint emulsion
3ml VDB onto 9×12 sheet, 3gt citric acid 40%, 0gt Tween 20 10%, 1gt gum arabic
Dry time: 20min air, 20min fan, 40min total
100% exposure == 7.5min, 2/3rds exposure == 5min

Grain & Bleed


Grain: Shows fine grain at both 5min & 7.5min exposures in all density ranges. The cold press side has a bit of texture to it which seems to visually manifest as grain. The rough side shows more grain, partially due to the rough texture. Overall, however, the paper shows a consistent grain structure on both the rough and cold press sides.

Bleed: Rough Paper Side – Very little bleeding on 5min or 7.5min exposure between 100% to 0% at border area The bleed we see is extremely contained just at the immediate black/white border crossing. White lettering bleed from 100% density is very slightly visible at 5min and mostly unreadable at the 7.5min exposure.

Bleed: Cold Press Paper Side – The 7.5min exposure shows bleeding between 100% to 0% within border area. The bleed we see is extremely contained just at the immediate black/white border crossing. White lettering bleed from 100% density is consistent with the rough side of the paper, being slightly visible at 5min and mostly unreadable at the 7.5min exposure.

Exposure Response

Rough Side

Black: 5min and 7.5min exposures produce similar 100% densities with the 5min exposure a slightly lesser black than the 7.5min exposure.

5min Exposure: Underexposed across the board, with the Silver correction variants being the most capable.

7.5min Exposure: Close to an expected density range with the Silver correction, very slightly underexposed in the highlights and the shadows a bit crushed.

Overall: The COT320 (C/V) exposure response is almost dead on for this paper with an exposure time between 5min and 7.5min

Cold Press Side

Black: 5min and 7.5min exposures produce similar 100% densities with the 5min exposure a slightly lesser black than the 7.5min exposure.

5min Exposure: Underexposed across the board, with the Silver correction variants being the most capable and close to correctly exposed.

7.5min Exposure: Serviceable with the silver variants while being overexposed for these corrections.

Overall: The COT320 (C/V) exposure response is almost dead on for this paper with an exposure time between 5min and 7.5min

Assessment

Both sides of this paper are serviceable, with the rough side providing a unique backdrop for the developed image. This paper shows tonal differences between the rough side vs. the cold press side, with rough being slightly more yellow/orange in comparison. The cold press side is slightly more light-sensitive, resulting in an exposure time difference between the two sides with cold press exposing faster than rough. Overall, this paper produces a warm neutral silver sepia brown and takes beautifully to gold / silver replacement with POP gold salt toning methods

Mid-tone Color: Coyote Brown
CP Side: Pantone 161U,  R232 / G234 / B202, HTML 0x786249
RGH Side: Pantone 1545U, R122 / G95 / B72, HTML 0x7A5F48

Canson Montval, Canson

Processes – Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint:

Canson Watercolor Montval is a cooperative cold press paper with nice image production. Good wet processing stability and clears well. Tween 20 10% at 1gt per 1ml emulsion is needed to get the sensitizer mix to soak into these paper’s fibers. Best to use 1gt per 1ml emulsion of citric acid 40% to both neutralize the carbonate alkali buffer in the paper as well as help with clearing in the first wash water.

Fabriano Aquarelle, Fabriano

Fabriano Aquarelle HP 25% cotton has visible impurities once paper is processed, poor wet processing ability. Not recommended for light-sensitive wet processes. This paper does however produce wonderful inkjet prints on the Canon Pro-1000 printer as a matte grade photo paper.

Appendix A: Survey Collection by Process

Cyanotype

Vandyke Brownprint

Ziatype

Appendix B: Exposure Response Correction Curves

Appendix C: A Word About Negatives

The Exposure Response Correction Curve

All light-sensitive materials (eg light-sensitive emulsions on paper) have a non-linear relationship to the light that falls on them, their exposure to light. Allowing 100% of an amount of light to reach a material for the right amount of time results in 100% image density on the material. However, working down through 90%, 80%, 70% … 30%, 20%, 10% transmission with the same amount of light and exposure time does not yield equally progressing densities on the material, instead growing unevenly from shadows to highlights. The relationship is not linear but rather viewed as an ’S’ shaped exposure response curve. This light-sensitive response was first understood by a pair of researchers, Hurter & Driffield, while studying the sensitometric characteristics of light-sensitive silver compounds in the late 1880s and is generally referred to as the “H&D Curve”.

Understanding this, we see that shadows, highlights, and mid-tones expose at different rates to produce an accurate image with an expected density. Analog negatives, those negatives that started as light-sensitive materials, have this non-linear characteristic and, surprise surprise, closely match the exposure characteristics of light-sensitive silver gelatin B&W photographic paper (the positive). In turn, the negative and positive go hand in hand correcting the exposure rates, creating a photographic print with linear image density.

Where film negatives and paper do not wed as expected, mitigation in the analog world involves film development controls, graded papers, and variable contrast filter / paper accommodations. An alternate route is to create and print a negative from the digital realm and move on from there. Handcrafted digitally produced negatives must also, however, have their exposure response targeted to a matching positive response – targeted toward specific light-sensitive emulsion / paper combinations. Knowing all of this, SEAP has generated characteristic response curves for the processes discussed. Our response curves are good starting points with our operating procedures, printing and exposure equipment, papers, local water supply, temperature, humidity, etc. All exposure correction graphs are shown in ‘Density % (0-100)’ view and the numeric tables in ‘Light (0-255)’ form to allow precision in curve creation. Modifying, tuning, recreating, and altogether ignoring these response curves are completely acceptable and highly encouraged.

Preparing the Digital Image

The exposure response curves documented in this Paper Survey were created with a specific workflow to be practiced when creating a digital image, providing consistency across the broadest array of printers used to create digital negatives. We have produced great results on Epson and Canon professional printers as well as a simple HP Color Laser Printer which produced serviceable negatives. The first step is correctly setting up the image to produce a quality digital negative. Specifically, a B&W 16-bit image set to a color space of Adobe RGB. Photoshop is used in the setup examples, other image editing tools with these capabilities would work just as well.

  • Image is set to 16-bit
    • Photoshop: Image —> Mode —> 16-bits/Channel
  • Image color space is converted to Adobe RGB
    • Photoshop: Edit —> Convert to Profile…
  • Image made B&W, meaning all of R, G, and B channels are the same
    • Example – Photoshop: Image —> Adjustments —> Black & White…
    • Other methods include third party B&W conversion tools
    • Assure the image remains in the Adobe RGB color space

Creating the Negative

You may apply the exposure correction curves directly to the image or layer upon layer. If layering, the stack up is the image as the lowest layer, then the correction curve layer, then the ‘invert’ layer to make the whole thing negative. First is to apply the exposure correction curve for a specific process / paper combination. Lastly is to invert the image to make it ‘negative’. When printing, the image must be flipped horizontal in the printer’s layout settings to make the image reversed from an emulsion point of view.

  • Apply the Correction Curve
    • Photoshop: Image —> Adjustments —> Curves
    • Type the curve points in by hand and then save the curve for later use
  • Make the Negative
    • Photoshop: Image —> Adjustments —> Invert

Printing the Negative

The printing process involves a couple of simple important settings. At the core, we rely on the printing application, not the printer, for all color management. The paper profile for OHP digital negative material is set to the printer’s Photo Paper Glossy equivalent. The image is printed “Flip horizontally” in the Print Settings / Layout setup. The image is printed 16-bit with Perceptual Rendering Intent.

  • Print Dialog
    • Print Settings
      • Layout: Flip Horizontally
      • Note: We are making a negative, so it needs to be reversed
    • Color Handling: Application Manages Colors
      • Note: We trust the system to produce generally consistent images across printers and operating systems when color management is used. The printer should not manage colors in this case.
    • Send 16-bit Data
      • Note: We want all available pixel bit depth to be printed
    • Printer Profile: Photo Paper Glossy
      • Note: Quality OHP material closely matches Photo Paper Glossy ink for densities
    • Rendering Intent: Perceptual
      • Note: Simply a preference for consistency
    • Black Point Compensation enabled
      • Note: Simply a preference for consistency

Appendix D: OHP Material for Negatives

Digital Negative OHP Materials

OHP stands for Overhead Projector Material, a clear-ish plastic sheet used to create slides to be projected for presentations. The new need is the creation of full sized digital negatives used in contact printing for analog print making processes where light shines down through the negative and onto your light-sensitive paper. This OHP material is made of clear polyester sheets coated with grains of clear silica or ceramic. The opacity of the various manufacturer’s material varies with Bergger PN100 (no longer available) and Arista-II digital negative OHP being the least opaque through Pictorico TPU100 in the mid-range and Pictorico TPS100 as the highest opacity digital negative material. All are decent materials for creating digital negatives, good choices for those with preferences. The higher opacity materials can carry more ink and require a slightly longer exposure time to overcome the base material density, so plan on slight timing variances if mixing these OHP materials when creating of a body of work.

Name Branded Materials

Arista-II digital negative OHP, Freestyle Photographic Supplies house brand

At a lower opacity than the Pictorico materials, this OHP is perfectly serviceable and readily available in the most useful sizes and rolls. Due to its want to slightly curl and its low opacity, we have had to persuade our printer hardware to accept it.

Pictorico TPU100 & TPS100, Mitsubishi Imaging

Both of these flavors of Pictorico OHP, TPU100 found under the ‘Pictorico Premium OHP Transparency Film’ moniker and the higher density, more opaque, TPS100 found under the ‘Pictorico Ultra Premium OHP Transparency Film’ name, lies flat with a good working thickness, feeding and imaging without issue on both the Canon Pro-1000 and Epson P800 printers. The TPS100 ultra premium material is more opaque than the less dense TPU100 material, designed for higher ink loading and more exacting negatives.

As a youth in the late Nineteen Hundred and Sixties, Eric started with a Kodak 126 Instamatic and moved in the ’70s to an Olympus OM-1 – photography became locked into his psyche. The ’80s & ’90s were a time of change with studies in the arts and humanities, the physiology of color and perception, and the applied sciences of math, physics, and chemistry. In parallel, a printmaking move to Cibachrome and the digital darkroom with pigmented quad-tone and color inks solidified the desire to mix analog and digital printmaking. An engineering career in the nascent late ’80s technology industry became priority over the next two decades; designing, patenting, and creating software & hardware systems for the creatives of the world, photographers and color designers in particular. In winding down his twenty-seven year effort to surprise and delight, it was time to again merge into the world of active creative printmaking – forming the Special Edition Art Project with its’ mission to inspire artists and create community for the exchange of ideas and techniques. Read more on Special Editions Art Projects website.

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