View Full Version : Printing on Pictorico Ultra Premium OHP

09-25-2009, 12:58 PM
I'm about to attend a Lith Printing Workshop here in the UK with Tim Rudman - it's only the second he has held in his home country, they are usually all in the U.S.

As well as taking some conventional film negatives for printing, I plan on trying to make some large format negatives from digital files on Pictorico Ultra Premium OHP and contact print these using conventional wet lith processing. As it is impossible to buy this film in the UK I've had a friend in the US get some from B&H and send it over. It arrived today.

I'm using Photoshop CS4 on Mac with an Epson 3800 printer and Epson pigment inks. I wonder if anyone is able to give me some guidance on the best approach to creating digital negatives on this material? As the material is precious and I only have 40 sheets to play with, I'd rather not have to do too much experimentation!

I realise this may be a tall order, but I have researched on-line and found precious little real help. Most references point to books that I am unable to get hold of here or that are way out of my price range, having become 'collectable'. Also, this Pictorico material is relatively new and there does not seem to be much information about it.

If anyone on this forum is able to advise and assist I would be most grateful.


09-25-2009, 04:42 PM
Hi Roy,

I have some experience with Pictorico OHP (both ultra- and not) with my Epson R2400 and ultrachrome inks, not for silver gelatin printing, but for digital negatives for alt processes (gum, cyanotype, vdb, etc). I recently returned to Pictorico after trying Inkpress transparency material for a while. It was OK, but I noticed some quality control problems in one package. Things like streaks, bubbles, scratches. So I've returned to Pictorico. It seems to be the "standard" everyone likes.

You may want to try adjusting your image using curves to optimize the tonal range you obtain with silver gelatin. As you seem to have discovered already, this can be a can of worms, but is probably worth getting into eventually. I may be able to point you to some helpful web resources for developing curves if you like. You might want to make some small test images to see how close you are to getting the desired tonality before printing out a big negative. No need to use a full sheet for these! The Trial and error method has its appeal :)

As for the printing part, I've been using Photoshop Elements (also on the Mac) so the print menu terms won't correspond exactly to those in CS4 but you'll probably be able to translate for your system.
I use the ICC profile for Epson premium glossy paper, print in Advanced B/W mode, turn off high-speed printing, and add about 3 sec of drying time between passes. Those are the basic settings I use and have had good luck. More sophisticated methods use color inks tuned specifically to the process (silver gelatin in your case). If you want to try to fine tune things, there is probably some info on Dan Burkholder's website, but you may be fine with just b/w for now.

That's my two cents' worth. Others will probably jump in with more info, too!

Lucky you, to have a workshop with Tim Rudman. Have a blast!!


I have used this book and I think it's great:

Have just acquired this e-book and am preparing to delve into this system, having finally jumped up to "real" Photoshop CS4, just days ago. I've read high praise for this approach, developed by Mark Nelson, called "PDN".

Another place to check for help--

09-26-2009, 05:11 PM
If you are printing these onto a silver gelatin paper and processing using lith chemistry then I suggest using the Pictorico Hi-White Gloss film instead, it has much smoother highlight transitions on silver gelatin than Ultra-premium OHP.

09-27-2009, 11:34 AM
gneissgirl: Thanks for all that help and advice! It should be enough reassurance to get me started without feeling I'm wasting the limited material stocks I have. I had explored the first two websites you mentioned, but the third one I had not discovered or explored.
I will be interested to hear how you get along with the PDN approach. I'd considered purchasing this but funds won't permit at the moment!

ilford_king: I had to make a choice when I ordered material from the US through my helpful colleague over there. I would have liked to have tried both the film and the Hi-White Gloss but opted in the end for the film only due to the cost of shipping a larger order over to the UK (Postage was a lot more than the material cost!). I'll see how I get on with the film and am hoping that the use solely for lith prints may obviate the need for too much highlight subtlety!

09-27-2009, 12:57 PM
The ultra-premium will work for silver gelatin, just be prepared to use a steep curve in the highlight areas to compensate for the rough transitions. Difficult but not impossible; I have had three students recently make great silver gelatin contact prints from the ultra-premium so it is certainly doable. The PDN system is well worth the money, ever since I switched over to using it I went from 2-3 acceptable finished prints in a 5-hour work session to 8-12 finished prints in the same time (using the Van Dyke process), it is well worth the $100 if you consider how much valuable time it saves.

09-27-2009, 01:46 PM
Glad some of that info might be helpful, Roy. I know how it is when materials are limited and you have to make tough choices. Just don't let it stop you from trying a few things to get it right in the end. Over time you'll come up with a system that works.

Todd, I'm really glad you mentioned the hi-white gloss film from Pictorico. I have never tried it but am thinking about how well it would probably work in place of paper negatives for bromoil. I have used glossy paper negatives to make contact prints for bromoil, and in spite of the increased exposure times in the contact frame, it worked well. This white film is definitely somthing to try. Thanks!
PS I'm just digging in to the PDN book and am glad to hear you think it's a worthwhile venture. Changing working methods is a major undertaking, for me at least!

09-27-2009, 07:24 PM
The hi-white gloss film pretty much lets you pour ink onto it without smearing, you can achieve great density ranges with it, and the milky base seems to do the trick in terms of smooth highlight transitions. I think you will find it is money well spent.

09-28-2009, 08:49 AM
ilford_king: good to hear that you've seen successes with Ultra Premium OHP and I will definitely try the PDN system if my early efforts prove fruitless.

I discovered another useful resource from Mike Ware - 'Printing Digital Negatives' at http://www.siderotype.com/publications.htm.
I've bought it (UKĀ£12) and am adding the link to this thread in case anyone else is looking for similar help. I have yet to work through it, but it looks like a very good introduction and guide to the topic.

09-28-2009, 07:51 PM
You're in good hands with Dr. Ware, his book "Cyanotype" makes Ansel Adams zone system trilogy look like light reading.

09-30-2009, 07:24 AM
As a follow up for the helpful advice provided here, I've made a first attempt at producing a neg on Pictorico Ultra OHP and contact printed the result on conventional silver gelatin paper - a scan of the print is attached.
I followed some of the guidelines in Mike Ware's document but have yet to make fine adjustments to the curves and to the printing parameters. This used default settings for Matt Black on my Epson 3800, with some additional drying time between passes.
The result is enough to encourage me to continue refinement. The contrast is high and the highlights were a little dense on this first test, so I need to make some curve adjustments obviously. Overall though, I'm pleased with the gradation and don't find the subtle ink pattern a problem. In fact I like the affect it gives.


09-30-2009, 11:53 AM

Well, I think you've figured it out, Roy! This is gorgeous! Thank you for posting it. Stunning! Will you make a lith print?

Ahem, I think I'll just slink off into lurkdom again ;)

10-01-2009, 12:01 PM
You picked a good image to start with, your curve shouldn't be too extreme to get the contrast under control, keep at it.

10-10-2009, 11:30 AM
I've now had the opportunity to produce a few more digital negatives and also some lith prints from them.
I've managed to get a copy of Dan Burkholder's 1999 book from the US, 'Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing' and also bought his 'Inkjet Negative Companion' download. I have not yet had a chance to follow his workflow, so my initial experiments have been based on Dr Mike Ware's method.

I made a lith print from the same digital neg used for the straight print example shown above and - while it has a certain appeal - the contrast level is a bit high. This first result was printed on Fomatone MG FB with filtration set for Grade 2, processed in Ansco 70 developer (1+1)+9, developed for 7 mins at 25 deg C.
http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Thumbs/Fatsia_DN_LithPrint001.jpg (http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Fatsia_DN_LithPrint001.jpg)

I then tried a print from the same negative using enlarger filtration set to Grade 00 (via my DeVere Dichroic head)
http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Thumbs/Fatsia_DN_LithPrint_Grade00.jpg (http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Fatsia_DN_LithPrint_Grade00.jpg)
This print, also on Fomatone MG FB (as are all the others shown here), was developed for 10 mins and subsequently toned with gold over selenium. This is closer to the effect that was was after, but this negative is hard work!

So I made some new negatives, all from digital originals, following the basic procedure documented by Mike Ware, and produced lith prints from them.
http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Thumbs/Pots_DN_LithPrint_SeToned.jpg (http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Pots_DN_LithPrint_SeToned.jpg)
Processed for 5 mins, subsequently split-toned with selenium.

http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Thumbs/Pyramid_DN_LithPrint.jpg (http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Pyramid_DN_LithPrint.jpg)
A bit dark. The subject will, I think, produce a better result than this.

http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Thumbs/Chapel_DN_LithPrint.jpg (http://the-fine-print.co.uk/Chapel_DN_LithPrint.jpg)
Possibly the most successful so far from the 'fulfilling intention' perspective. Toned with gold over light selenium.
This is still a little too heavy and contrasty, but I think that's mainly because I need to refine the negative production technique and partly because I'm not using the best developer (Ansco 70 is a home-formulated developer that is lacking the true lith properties of something like Kodalith, no longer available of course.)

The Fomatone paper is recognised to be one of the best around for lith work however, and I've ordered some Fotospeed LD-20 lith developer to try with it next.

I've also refined the process for making the negative using Lightroom & Photoshop CS4, using ideas gleaned from both Dan Burkholder and Mike Ware. Early results look very promising - watch this space!

10-10-2009, 03:41 PM
Your results look very promising.

10-12-2009, 11:31 AM
I have to agree, these keep getting better, you just need to get your contrast under control in the negative and you are home free.

Bob Walsh
11-26-2009, 06:42 AM
Helping to create great first impressions. "Putting together an important presentation? Pictorico's OHP Transparency Film delivers crisp, easy-to-read text, brilliant, non-smear colors, and water-resistant images that enhance your visual display.

06-08-2010, 10:43 AM
Thanks for the great post

06-14-2010, 11:25 PM
Really the post was very helpful