guide to the tutorials
fine prints in your digital darkroom
A multi-part series that introduces the tools and techniques of making
fine prints digitally: prints that meet the highest aesthetic and technical
concepts of digital imaging
started Introduces the digital darkroom. Includes a study
guide for learning the craft and a list
of the equipment you'll need.
and color: an introduction
Introduces the basic concepts of additive and subtractive colors as well
as the HSV and HSL color models used for image editing.
images, and files
Introduces the fundamental concepts of digital images: what they are, how
their size and resolution is specified, and how they are stored. New!
Equipment (written between 2000 and 2003; mostly obsolete)
Explains film scanner specifications and the different scanner types. Includes
a list of film scanners.
cameras Describes the key features that affect image quality.
Includes a table of some of the better models and links to sites with detailed
information and reviews.
printers Discusses high quality inkjet printers, especially
Epson Ultrachrome (pigment-based) printers such as the 2200.
impressions of this outstanding new digital SLR, with tips for getting
the most out of it. In 3 parts. Part 3
has detailed comparisons with 35mm film.
FS4000US 4000 dpi scanner My impressions of this outstanding
4000 dpi 35mm film scanner, which I use it for most of my 35mm work.
2450 and 3200 flatbed scanners Reviews these remarkable low-cost
scanners, which provide excellent results with medium format and 4x5.
calibration and gamma A critical step in setting up your
digital darkroom. Don't skip it!
Necessary for matching the monitor image with prints. Describes monitor
viewing conditions. Includes a chart for measuring gamma and black level
(brightness), and QuickGamma
for adjusting it.
calibration The second calibration step: getting your prints
to match the images on your calibrated monitor, without and with ICC color
The essentials of film scanning, using the Hewlett-Packard Photosmart S20
as an example. More on scanning can be found in articles on the Epson
2450/3200 and Canon Canoscan
editing An introduction to image editing, featuring
& White Presents workflows for producing high quality
Black & White prints with color inkjet printers.
and framing briefly introduces techniques for matting and
quality and dynamic range in digital cameras Explains how
to achieve ultimate tonal quality and access the hidden dynamic range from
images captured with digital cameras.
simplified zone system A technique for obtaining good exposures
with negatives and slides. For cameras with manual exposure adjustments.
1 discusses cameras, lenses, film, filters, tripods, and bags.
It also has links. Part
2 discusses photographic vision, panoramic photography, travel
(lots of links), and airport x-rays.
color fringing A neat technique for eliminating lateral chromatic
aberration, common in extreme telephoto and wide angle lenses.
editing with Picture Window Pro Detailed, advanced
tutorials on image editing with Picture
Window Pro-- a superb program that deserves to be better known.
Basic operations and reference tables of transformations and tools.
and using masks Masks allow you to edit selected portions
of images. They are a key to high quality image editing. PW Pro's outstanding
capabilities are described.
masking A powerful technique for balancing images with large
dark and light areas.
and hand coloring B&W images Illustrates the use of simple
masks, the Tint transformation, and one-to-one cloning.
Sunset, Providence An advanced example of image editing,
illustrating masks and the Color Curves and Color Correction transformations.
Management Each device on your computer (and
everybody else's) responds to color differently. Color management is a
technique for obtaining reasonably consistent (though necessarily not
color reproduction. It is a complex, often misunderstood subject. Although
you don't need it to start making fine prints, you'll need it if you use
fine-art papers or specialized inks, if you send out images to be printed,
or if you strive after ultimate quality.
The eye's response to color, color science in a nutshell, and the basics
of color management, color spaces, and gamut mapping.
How to set up and use color management. Part
1 describes settings, working color spaces, and the structure of
ICC profiles. Part 2 goes
into workflow details. Picture Window Pro is emphasized, but I include
Photoshop, which is far more error-prone. You're sunk if you get one setting
profiles and building them with MonacoEZcolor MonacoEZcolor
is a program for building ICC profiles for monitors, scanners, and printers.
Uses a flatbed scanner as a sensor. A pretty good product, but not perfect.
color in printers and ICC profiles Has downloadable patterns
for testing the quality of printers and profiles. These patterns show up
irregularities that can cause trouble with certain colors.
image sharpness and MTF curves MTF (Modulation
Transfer Function) is the modern approach to specifying the spatial frequency
response of imaging systems. It provides a much better estimate of sharpness
than old-fashioned resoluton. The geeky mathematical parts are quarantened
in green boxes.
1: Introduction This part introduces MTF. It features a computer
simulation that provides realistic, visual modeling of each component's
effect on imaging system sharpness. I recently added a section of the final,
most important component of an imaging system: the eye.
1A: Film and lenses How to interpret MTF data for film and
lenses. Links to published data.
2: Scanners and sharpening The effects of scanners on MTF.
Aliasing and Nyquist frequency. The importance of sharpening. You'll learn
why digital prints made from properly sharpened 4000 dpi scans are sharper
than the best enlarger prints.
3: Printers and prints An analysis of printer sharpness,
mostly based on the Epson 1270. Visible sharpness (at distances over 10
inches) is excellent for sharp images printed at 200 or more pixels per
inch. Part 4 has detailed data
on the 1270.
5: Lens testing Features a new, downloadable lens test chart
which you can print on a high quality inkjet printer. Provides much better
information on MTF response (true performance) than the traditional USAF
1951 test chart.
6: Depth of field Even if you skip the math (there's lots
of it), you'll learn why you shouldn't trust DOF scales, how stopping down
for large DOF affects sharpness, and why DOF is independent of focal length
for constant magnification (counterintuitive, but useful).
cameras vs. film, part 1 Discusses the relationship between
sensor specifications and performance, then compares the modeled performance
of a number of cameras with 35mm film. This part describes the four pillars
of image quality, digital image sensors, the simulation technique, and
contains a summary of results comparing resolution of digital cameras with
cameras vs. film, part 2 Continues with Dennis Wilkins' comparison
of film and the Nikon D100, the future of digital cameras, Links, a discussion
of Information theory and image quality, and how to measure MTF from Dpreview.com
test results. Full-frame Digital SLRs with 11 or more megapixels outperform
35mm. Because reducing pixel size increases noise and causes other problems,
the rate of sensor progress is slowing down. Less worry about cameras becoming
8: Grain Compares grain and sharpness in a well-made enlarger
print with three scanners: The CaonScan
FS4000US, the HP S20, and the
2450. The CanoScan is slightly sharper than the traditional print;
grain is similar. The other scanners are not as sharp. Grain aliasing is
discussed; it was not observed in these scanners. Software techniques for
reducing grain are presented.
vs. 8000 dpi scans Yes, you can squeeze a little more detail
out of an 8000 dpi scan providing your slide or negative is
perfect. But the cost is high. I use sharpened 4000 dpi scans as a
benchmark for comparing digital cameras with film.