Digital Lith Case Studies 7

Digital Lith Case Studies 7

I am back with another episode of the DigitalLith Case Studies. It has been some time since the last episode and this time we are going to have a look at some other method to ceate grain. Extra grain so to say.


As in the other episodes I share the demo image with you. See the one on the left. You can download it here: Click! It is an image that I made during an outing with some friends when we visited Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Nothing too special, but very well suited for the look we are going after in todays episode.

Depending on paper and developer in the real process you can get a look which looks as if you can see the coating direction of the paper, and all other paper imperfections. This is what we are going for in this episode. Go to flickr and search for lith images and you will find quite a few examples of this: Click! I like that a lot and from the beginning of DigitalLith I was after that look.

As a starter for this episode you can download a preset which will reset the parameters and include the lookup table we use in this episode. Here you go: Click!

If you use this preset alone, what you get is the look that you are already familiar with from almost all the previous episodes. See:


But since we want to have heavy grain we go with a the following - short route: We go a bit smooth in the beginning and then increase bromide during the process. For this set the sulfite parameter to 5 and the bromide increase to 1. This increases contrast a bit but also blocks the shadows even more than the starter settings. To work against this let us go extreme with the tray movement and bring it down to 0. THe image below will show what you will get and honestly, stopping here would not be the worst idea. I think it looks nice so far. Very subtle highlight tones and grain showing up in the shadows.


Now for the heavy grain part of it. We want to have it subtle in the very highlights and then evolve rapidly towards the shadows so that the mid-tones are mostly made up of grain. And for that reason we use again the grain gradient parameter and a pretty big value for the grain. Please go ahead and set the grain to 1.2 and the grain gradient to 3. This will block our shadows and we have to dilute more. Way more. And therefore we go with a dilution of 45. Very light in the highlights now, but the shadows look good. We do not want the very light tones in the highlights and go with a highlight contrast of 8 which tones down the image a lot. To bring back some contrast we set the exposure to -3. And this is where we end up with these settings.


This is good so far and I would also go with this as a decent result. But we do want to simulate that paper imperfection a bit. And this is where we enter new ground, since we are now going into the uneven development parameters, especially we are going to use streaking modules.

If you open the uneven development section of the parameter panel you see that there you can set some overlay patterns and pepper fogging. More about these in another episode. Here we want to have a closer look into streaking modules. For that reason we first need to install some streaking modules. In case you have not already used streaking modules, here is a short route to install them.

First we need a place to put them. This you can set in the preferences dialog and there in the directories section. Click on the Extensions Directory button and select a directory where DigitalLith will store and then later also find the streaking modules.

The next prerequisite is: Your computer has to be connected to the network in order to download and install streaking modules. No worries, DigitalLith is only accessing the exchange site to get a list of available modules and to download the selected modules. DigitalLith is not sending any data to the site. I think it is bad habit if programs report back user and usage data. I do not like it if programs I use do it and especially I do not like it if programs I write do it.

Now that your computer is connected to the internet, go to the Exchange Menu and there to the Streaking. This will open a dialog where you see all the available streaking modules. For our purpose select at least the Line New module and click on import. This will download the streaking module into the Extensions directory and immediately load it. No restart required.

In the uneven development section you now see a selection box to select streaking types and there you will find the line streaking types. Each module comes with different flavors. For the line streaking this is: Line New, Line New Invert, Line New Paper Only and Line New Invert Paper Only. The normal Line New will apply lines of over development to the image and these lines depend on the density of the negative which means the effect is stronger towards the shadows. The invert is the other way around and depending on negative density applies lines of under development. The other two (paper only) will apply lines of over or under development independent of the negative density.

You can now select one of the line streaking and click the add button to add it to the process. This shows a section for the line streaking in the uneven development section of the parameter panel. There are different parameters here:

  • Amount Streaks - this is the overall amount of streaking to be added in percent
  • Spread - this is the spread in percent of the image length in the line direction
  • Amount per Streak - this is the amount of streaking applied per single line streak in percent
  • Variance - this is the variance in percent on spread and amount so that there is variance in the size and density of the streaks
  • Strength - this is the strength of the effect and can be seen similar to the grain setting of the process parameters
  • Grain Size - this is the size of each grain to be applied. It is a whole number 0, 1, 2, ...
  • Angle - this is the angle in degrees of the lines, starting at 0 for a horizontal direction.
  • Variance Angle - this is the variation in percent on the angle

Give it a try with the default parameters and see what happens. And as you can see. This is a pretty strong default setting. But that is just in this case as the effect also depends on what is happening during development. With other process parameters these settings of line streaking would just be to light.


Now let us trim it to what we want to have. And the key here is the grain size. Set it back to 0 (which means smallest). And you see, barely can you see it. So increase the strength parameter to 1.2 which is what we also have for the grain in the process parameters. And also make that angle into a 1 and the variance on the angle into a 10. And see, now the line streaking is visible but not distracting.


Next we add another line streaking section to have also some streaking into top down direction. For that you can select the line streaking again in the selection box and hit add. Or since we just want to have the same with a different angle, press that little plus sign next the our already done line streaking. This will duplicate it. Then for the second one adjust the angle from 1 to 89. And see what we get with this image:


And that is the end-result for todays episode. But do not stop here. Go for some more variations. Maybe you want to have a different streaking type for the second one, say the invert line streaking. You do not need to remove the one you already have (by clicking on the minus sign instead of the plus sign). Since all flavors of the same streaking share the same parameters, just click on the name and a popup window opens which lets you select a different flavor. But that way you can also select to disable it or enable it again.

Now some other parameter on the uneven development section is the Intensity and you find it right under the header of the section. The default is to fully apply the effect which means 100%. But you may trim it down or up with this parameter. Set it to 0 and it will switch off uneven development.

OK, enough for today. Next time we will look at adding some unstructured extra grain. And in the meantime: Have fun!