One of the vexing aspects of printing on the Hahnemuhle Rag Metallic papers is the resulting print does not look exactly like the digital image on a monitor (or what I can share on this photo-blog). For me this is further confounded when I am using some of the Metallic paper as a pseudo mat, essentially floating the image within the sheet and have unprinted Metallic paper surrounding the print image. If I want a reader to understand what this print will look like I need to show the additional Metallic paper on the outer edges of the print.
I did try to use photoshop to simulate what this might look like, but I am not that talented as the extended border (Canvas extension) was not the exact color of the metallic paper and appeared too flat and lifeless. Not good.
My next option was to re-photograph my H. Rag Metallic photographic print using my Norman studio lighting set-up, which is the same set-up I use for re-photographing books for review. I had also been thinking about how I might improve this re-photographing process, both for myself and my staff who have had various challenges re-photographing their books being reviewed.
I wanted to evaluate the flat-art copying process without making a big investment in various new color control charts and panels, thus I used my old Kodak Color Patches and accompanying Gray Scale. I also added my portable Balance Cards that I use in the field when I need to determine the exposure with my one-degree spot meter (using the gray card). I had also purchase a new sheet of white Bainbridge mat board for a background as my current one was getting a big dingy. Note: when purchasing a “white” mat board, know that there is a pretty wide spectrum of what is called “white” mats, thus I was looking for the most neutral (least amount of “warmth”) white that was in the store.
My process is that when I open the RAW image in Photoshop using the RAW convertor, I use the white balance picker (top line menu) to set the color temperature of the image, after making sure that I had the white and blacks properly set for the image. For digital illustrations that I will place on the web, I strive to obtain an image Temperature value of 5000. If the digital image was a JPEG capture, then this image temperature can be a harder process to determine, since the resulting temperature is a positive/negative number, not a value.
What was interesting is that the “white” in the Kodak Color Patch provided a image temperature value of 4800 (a bit cooler, which was a bit disappointing), the whitest white in the Gray Scale was right on at a value of 5000 (which looked right-on compared to my actual print), while the white of the Balance Card provided a temperature value of 5400 (a bit too warm). I also checked the color temperature of the white mat background and it had a value of 5000, thus eliminating the need for me to always include a Gray Scale card with each re-photographed image, as I can use the mat background to determine my image temperature. nice!
So a very beneficial day in the studio, although was just a bit warm in their today, above 80F, since I don’t have air conditioning. (considering it was just bumping 90F outside, a really hot mid-November day for Southern California).
Next step; off to the frame shop with my five prints for the Fabrik Projects gallery December exhibition.