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|FABULOUS AT FIFTY SYMPOSIUM AND BIRTHDAY BASH VIDEOS - 2011|
DWIGHT POGUE AND MARK ZUNIN
The following guest column was written by Dwight Pogue and Mark Zunino of Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. Dwight Pogue has been teaching printmaking at Smith College since 1979 His work has been included in numerous national and international juried print exhibitions, and he is a former Society Member of the International Print Triennial in Cracow, Poland. As a Fulbright recipient, he taught at the Bradford College of Art in England from 1975 to 1977. He is founder/director of the Smith College Print Workshops which, since 1984, bring major artists to Smith to collaborate with master printers on limited edition prints.
Mark Zunino is a printmaker/painter who has been working as the technical assistant for the Smith College Studio Art Department for five years and has served on the adjunct faculty of the University of Hartford and Smith College. He has exhibited prints and paintings in many national exhibitions and has been working with Posi-Grain Plates alongside Dwight Pogue since the inception of the project.
Dwight Pogue (left) and Mark Zunino working on a Posi-Grain plate in the Smith workshop.
|DEEP ETCH BALL GRAINED LITHO PLATE|
NEW DIRECTIONS TO 'DEEP ETCH BALL GRAINED'
LITHO PLATE FOR PRINTMAKERS
It is now possible to print any digital image right from your ink jet printer (Epson 7000, 7600, 9000 etc.) DIRECTLY onto an aluminum deep etch ball grained litho plate.
New drawing may be added to digital images on the plate using traditional litho crayons and washes.
USING A REGULAR DEEP ETCH BALL GRAINED LITHO PLATE:
(A). To use as a 'key'drawing, the image must be lightened by 50% otherwise the ink jet ink will diffuse somewhat when it prints on the plate. Use curves or levels to lighten the darkest blacks down to fifty percent to create more of a 'ghost' image.
(B). NOTE: If using a Direct Litho press, the image is easily reversed or 'flipped' before printing.
USING A POSI-GRAIN DEEP ETCH BALL GRAINED PHOTO POSITIVE PLATE:
Posi-Grain photo plates may be sent through the ink jet printer having the image printed in black ink directly onto the plate. The resulting image is extremely sharp with excellent definition. The plate is then exposed to a light source (no vacuum frame necessary), developed and it is ready to print on a direct litho press. It may be printed as is or new drawing may be added using traditional litho crayons and washes (visit Tamarinds Website and click on Technical Talk regarding Posi-grain plates).
Brief history of this process: Dwight Pogue and Edward Snyder have been working together since 1995 printing out ink jet positives for printmaking students using photo-lithography. Their goal has been to try and get quality results close to the printing industry's expensive image setters while using inexpensive ink jet printers. During one of their moments of frustration, when the ink was not dense enough or the digital image had objectionable wavy lines, Dwight mentioned that direct to plate would be the ideal solution. Problematic film printouts would be eliminated altogether. Then in November, 2002, Ed said "lets try printing a Posi-Grain on the Epson 9000." They did and it worked! The definition was excellent. Mark Zunino exposed the plate to a bright light source and developed it and then Dwight printed it. They then experimented with smooth commercial photo plates but discovered only the Posi-Grain held the finest detail. Ink jet printouts on smooth plates were slightly blurry, whereas the deep etch grain of Posi-Grain holds perfect detail. Dwight and Mark then devised a simple method for registering Direct Plates for multiple runs and four color separations.
Materials required: One or more yellow light bulbs and clip-on 110 volt lamp fixtures. Yellow lights do not expose the Posi-Grain plates and are therefore 'safe' to use in the room where the ink jet printer is located, as well as the darkroom for developing the plates. Natural light from windows and other light sources including fluorescent tubes will expose the photo plates. Until plates are exposed and developed, they are light sensitive.
NOTE: If cutting metal plates to run through the ink jet printer, be sure to carefully file and or sand any rough edges or slightly 'raised' edges - which could potentially damage ink jet heads.
To print a gray scale image onto a ball grained photo plate using an Epson 7000, or 7600 simply print it "as is" directly onto the plate! Feed the plate as you would a single sheet of paper. (For those of you who do not know, the new large format Epson printers feed paper straight through the printer without making any turns, making it possible to print directly onto a metal plate.) Make sure you set the ink button to print black ink (in order to block light), not color ink in the Epson printer dialogue box. I prefer the "Semi Gloss Photo Paper" setting for the "Media Type". The "source space" is left to whatever you are set at, either 1.8 or 2.2 gamma, and set the "Print Space" to "Same as source. Next, in the "mode" section, click> Custom> Advanced to bring up the advanced dialogue box and set the print quality to "Superfine 1440", the "Automatic" in the mode section will be the only choice with the black ink button on.
Print a test of the image on paper using the same settings for evaluation before printing on Plates.
Note: If you prefer or need a darker image, try one of the "Print Space" dot gain settings (farther down the list) from 10% to 30%, the "Dot Gain10%" being the darkest. Finally the other "Media Types" such as "Photo Quality Ink jet Paper", will also provide you with a darker image, but can cause the ink to pool and run. It is best then to adjust your image in the Curves ("Image> Adjust> Curves or Levels) for a lighter or darker image, and then use the "Semi Gloss Photo Paper" setting, (this setting seems to spread the dots apart slightly and prevents ink pooling.)
Printing colors onto a ball grained photo plate.
There are many ways to print a color image, how you plan it
is a matter of preference. I personally avoid doing full four color reproduction
separations in favor of a more creative hands on processes.
No matter what you decide, you will need to covert an RGB image to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, & Black) or work in CMYK initially in order to work with printing ink colors. Before you can print color plates with an Epson Printer, the first thing that must be done before converting to CMYK is that you must select a CMYK profile that works with the Epson random dot pattern, and as the choices given are not compatible with the stochastic style dither dot produced by the Epson driver, you will have to make a custom one. It is difficult to understand or explain how the settings work to do this and I would need to write a chapter in a book in order to do so.
I have tested many different settings over the years and have formulated a recipe for a custom CYMK profile which lends itself well to hand printmaking.
Note: Most CMYK profiles are set up to work with standard
halftone rows of symmetrical dots that form patterns that rely on angled screens
printed in perfect registration. These are provided for the offset industry
and do not apply for fine artist / printmaker. If you use one of these offset
screens you will almost always end up making an overall darkened image, best
described as a "mud mess". This is caused by the overlapping of the
Starting with an image in RGB mode or if creating an image in CMYK set the CMYK color settings as follows. (This will not work if you have already started or converted an image to CMYK.)
In Photoshop 6.0 (it is the same in version 7.0, but not 5.5 and under), go down from "EDIT" to bring up the "COLOR SETTINGS" dialogue box. In the working spaces area click on CMYK and scroll up to Custom CMYK. Now in the Custom CMYK dialogue box choose these settings: Ink options area-ink colors- choose SWOP Uncoated and keep dot gain at 25%. Next in the "Separations options area choose "separation type "GCR" button. Then for the "Black Generation" choose "Heavy". Set the total ink limit to 400%, the black ink limit to 80%, and the UCA (under color addition) amount to 100. This puts all the color inks back under the darkest areas. For those of you in the know I use this method in order to adjust the curve to my liking.
Now under EDIT > MODE choose CMYK to convert your image. You are ready to create an image which can print out nicely. Note: the black channel can be lightened or darkened according to your liking.
How you proceed from there is your choice.
Under "Window"> "Show channels" you
can see the separate CMYK channels in the dialogue box.
Once you are satisfied with your image click on the button with the triangle in the channels dialogue box, then choose "split channels". Print each window separately the same as a grayscale image in step one for printing single color images.
Remember, there are many variables to consider, a lot this depends on what paper and ink you use or type of press you are printing on. ONE IMPORTANT TIP TO REMEMBER: If you cut plates into smaller pieces to run through the ink jet printer, file or sand the edges carefully. A jagged edge could damage ink jet heads!
Registering the Direct to Plate image on multiple plates
This process is to be followed if the printmaker wishes to use a punched hole registration system for use on a direct press. However, these directions also include testing, developing and important border burn information crucial to all users of this photolithographic technique.
Since there are no films to pre-register using this process, it is necessary to utilize the computer to set registration tabs (see instructions in computer directions). These tabs are set at equal locations from the image on each plate, and allow for the precise cutting, and eventual punching, of the plates.
The process is as follows:
NOTE: it is advisable to start with longer time increments to set an acceptable range, and to then repeat the process with shorter increments within the optimal range. ALL PLATEMAKERS AND UNITS WILL BE DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON LIGHT AND TIMER TYPE, BUT ONCE TESTS ARE COMPLETE, THEY SHOULD NOT NEED TO BE REPEATED UNLESS THE IMAGE TYPE CHANGES.
-Once exposure times are determined, the entire image/plate may be exposed and developed.
-To develop plate, place in a sink or developing tray large enough to accommodate the plate flat. Pour enough developer on a rag or cotton pad, (over the plate is okay), to fully saturate it, and distribute over the entire surface of the plate. Continue to rub the plate surface and you will notice the emulsion being removed as the developer is redistributed. Pay special attention to the images as well as the borders, making sure no area is left undeveloped.
NOTE: Make sure to fully develop areas where register tabs where printed to expose them and make them as visible as possible.
-Once developing is complete, (You may need to add additional amounts of fresh developer as you rub plate), rinse front and back of plate, squeegee and dry completely.
-Place plate on flat surface, and lay ruler across bottom edge, according to tab marks. Score plate with sharp utility knife, and bend at score to cut plate.
NOTE: Before continuing this process, it is vital to explain the need for a plate hole puncher, and registration pins. In the past, we have used common, and various professional plate hole punches, but have found that those holes often don't fit the pins we use. Since the holes and pins are utilized throughout the digital/photographic process, (from films, to plate exposure, to paper, to printing), it is imperative that the system you employ is consistent. Professional registration systems, such as the one sold by Takach Press Corporation, are a worthwhile investment, and will definitely resolve your plate punching issues.
-Place plate in hole puncher careful to line up center mark on plate with center mark on hole puncher, and punch plate.
-At this point you may rub the plate up with plate finisher/cleaner, and print it, or give it an additional border burn to fully clean the edges, and create an absolutely perfect edge on each plate.
-For the border burn, you need to cut a piece of 100% opaque paper (like Goldenrod or Ruby-Lith film), .25" smaller than your original image in both directions. Take one of your developed plates, center the opaque mask over the image and lead two strips of punched clear acetate to two punched holes on the plate. Line up holes, and place pins through holes. Tape acetate strips to back of mask making sure there are no buckles on mask or strips. This one mask will be burned on each of the plates you use for this image making the borders consistent from plate to plate.
NOTE: Make sure all lining up is done in a safe light environment, as any exposure of the already developed image to light will cause a loss of that image during subsequent developing. Additionally, the border burn can be done for any photo-litho process to yield a clean, straight border area.
-Rinse the plate and squeegee excess water. Leaving the remaining water film on the plate pour Gum Arabic and distribute with a clean Gum sponge. Thin the gum film with the sponge and fan dry. The plate may then be printed or stored in a dry dark place.
-Before printing it is important to remember to wash off the gum film, dry the plate and then rub it with plate finisher/cleaner. Fan dry and let it sit for a few minutes, wash off and then print as a regular ball-grained plate.
All material copyrighted February 2003 by Dwight Pogue, Mark Zunino and Edward J. Snyder, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. For further information, contact:
For the first time, a high quality positive photo emulsion coating on a conventional deep etch ball grained plate is being produced specifically for printmakers using direct litho presses. Posi-Grain plates are manufactured by Precision Ballgraining Corporation and were developed in collaboration with Dwight Pogue and Mark Zunino, printmakers at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.
History of Posi-Grain Plates
I first began making lithographs using photo plates (wipe-on negative emulsion on ball grained plates) in 1970. I was encouraged when one of the prints was accepted to Graphics 71, a national print exhibition in Silver City, New Mexico. By 1974, I was making four-color separation prints, one of which was in the l976 Fifth British International Print Biennale. At that time I was using Hawson Algraphy "Olympic Gold" positive working plates. However, by the late seventies, I was back to hand drawing on uncoated deep etch ball grained plates, using an average of eight or more plates for an edition of lithographs. Occasionally, I included one or two positive plates for quick areas of color.
I always felt the ideal plate for artists/printmakers would be a positive coated deep etch ball grained plate because hand drawing could be added after development and it would be easier to print using a direct lithographic press. In 1994, I introduced a two-week computer component to my traditional lithography courses. Students were exposing random dither dot images onto smooth, commercial positive photo plates. I was not happy with the results and soon became interested in finding a way to combine hand drawing with computer images on the same plate. Since it is easy to add new hand drawing to deep etch ball grained plates and to print them on direct litho presses, the solution was to develop a high quality positive photo emulsion coating that could be applied to a conventional deep etch ball grained plate. When the opportunity to develop such a plate finally arrived, thanks to Jim and Michael Hogan of Precision Ballgraining Corporation, I asked my colleague, Mark Zunino, and Jim and Michael to join me in conducting research to perfect it. What I guessed might take three months to accomplish took almost three years. In the spring of 1997, Michael produced several six-inch square samples for trial. Mark and I began making tests. Then the four of us experimented with different emulsions and different methods of coating plates to achieve optimum exposure times for delicate washes and drawings. Refinements were made over a period of months, and further trials eventually led to better-than-expected results.
Together with Precision Ball Graining Corporation, we introduced Posi-Grain plates for the first time at the March 1999 Southern Graphics Council Conference in Tempe, Arizona. After researching Posi-Grain's capability for multiple reduction exposures/printing, Mark and I conducted a demonstration at Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April 2000.
How to Use Posi-Grain Plates
ADDING WASHES TO A ROLLED UP IMAGE:
To avoid breathing toxic fumes, do the following
process outdoors or use a ventilated hood.
|The following article on printing bases for aluminum plate lithography was written by Ernestine White. Ernestine participated in Tamarind's Master Printer program and has been certified as a Tamarind Master Printer since the end of her internship in May 2001.|
The introduction of the offset press and aluminum plates to commercial printing resulted from the need to create printed matter at a faster pace. The offset machine replaced the hand-operated press that once printed images from stone. With materials from the offset industry readily available, the quality of printing from plates in hand lithography has greatly improved. This article addresses the effectiveness and safety of lacquer and shellac as printing bases in hand lithography. Lacquer and shellac are the two most commonly used printing bases today. In the past, products such as Titan vinyl lacquer and Blue C Lacquer were used frequently despite their highly toxic nature. The somewhat less toxic Lacquer V (made by Hanco) is today's printing base of choice, although it dries slower and is less durable than the others and is more toxic than the alternative materials described below.
A decade ago, Tamarind's former education director, Jeffrey Sippel, refined a shellac alternative to the widely used lacquer base. While teaching in Poland, he noticed that printers there were using shellac as a printing base. The problems they encountered seemed to be related more to the application of the material than to the material itself. The uneven film, caused by the rapid drying of the shellac, compromised the quality of the image and edition. Jeff's previous experiments with oil paint as a printing base had been problematic because the oil paint dried too slowly. His solution was to combine materials-1/3 shellac (make sure it is high quality shellac, one that has no water in the contents), 1/3 oil-based enamel, and 1/3 mineral spirits--to come up with a solution that worked well. In fact, Tamarind printers still use it today.The advantages of shellac are:
1) vapors are less toxic;
2) acetone (used to wash out shellac) is safer than Hancolite (used to remove lacquer);
3) shellac is more easily removed from the matrix, which helps to prevent the image from "filling in" or from getting darker during the roll-up of an image.
The disadvantages of shellac are:
1) if an image in a shellac printing base is not baked long enough, it is susceptible to "water burn" or "dropping out" (gradual fading of image);
2) the shelf life of shellac is short (only a few months);
3) pre-made shellac separates if not thoroughly mixed and must be stirred well before use.
The advantages of lacquer are:
The disadvantages of lacquer are:
More and more printers prefer to use safer materials, especially in classroom settings. The shellac mixture may be the best alternative, although the curing method could be problematic for many facilities because it is ideal to use an oven for curing the image. Alternatives to baking the plate in a special oven are discussed below.
Shellac method as used at Tamarind
B. Elimination of mineral spirits from mixture
C: Use of clear shellac only
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