Nice Black Positive Film

Discussion in 'Platemaking' started by Travis Young, Oct 13, 2019.

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  1. Travis Young

    Travis Young Member

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    Hi All,
    First time post.
    I've recently purchased a GTO 46 for use at home. Had it successfully converted to run with a single phase motor and we're away.
    Running positive working Agfa metal plates. Very good so far.
    Biggest challenge I seem to face is producing good quality film in house.
    I'm currently using an inkjet printer to print on ink receptive film purchased on ebay. Does the job but it has serious limitations, particularly where a solid ink area is required. I end up taping two together to get it black enough. Is there a better option? Some people say a laser printer will do better but I've yet to see one print as black as my inket.
    Any ideas?
     
  2. Martin Mueller

    Martin Mueller Member

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    Hi Travis,
    an opaque solid tone is just an indicator of a useful inkjet film for copying. The most important indicator, however, is it´s UV density and this does not have to be achieved only by the blackening. Epsons Ultrachrome inks for example, they contain a UV blocker in all colors, making it possible to make copyable films even with yellow ink. I do not know which inkjet and inkjet film you use, I can tell you the combination of an Epson printer with Ultrachrome inks (Stylus Pro & SureColor models), a specialized RIP software (StudioRIP, Filmgate etc.) and high quality inkjet film (Mitsubishi, Tecco, Sihl ...) is highly recommend.
     
  3. Travis Young

    Travis Young Member

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    Thank you very much for your response Martin.
    The setup you describe would be wonderful but it's probably outside my reach for what I'm doing at the moment.
    Do you know if Ultrachrome ink has a higher UV density because of the UV blocker that's added, or is it because it's pigment based?
    My (limited) understanding is that the purpose of the UV blocker is to retain image quality over a period of years.
    The setup you describe is proven technology which makes it absolutely invaluable information.
    I'm wondering if any inkjet printer using pigment based ink will achieve a better result as opposed to dye based ink?
     
  4. Martin Mueller

    Martin Mueller Member

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    Travis,
    it is definitely the case that pigmented ink not only gives a better but also a longer lasting result. Epson's Ultrachrome, HP-Vivera inks and Canon Lucia inks, they all work in the same way. The color pigments are enclosed with a synthetic resin that blocks UV light. This effect allows long color fastness in daylight as well as copying ability with UV light, which we need in prepress. The most practical way for calibration is to use photo black and a traditional film densitometer.
     
  5. Travis Young

    Travis Young Member

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    Thank you so much.
    Really appreciate that invaluable bit of info. I have a feeling it will make all the difference. Back in a few days with a result.
     
  6. Travis Young

    Travis Young Member

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    So. I've purchased a Canon Pixma TS8260.
    Basically it was the cheapest inkjet I could find that runs pigment ink. Roughly AU$120. In the stock selection menu, it even has a setting for transparencies. The print quality is significantly better than my old printer, particularly for solid ink areas. The dye based inkjet tended to blur and had an eggshell effect resulting in a broken solid.
    The film doesn't look any blacker but as stated, visual opacity is only an indication of UV density.
    For a hobbyist on a shoestring budget, this was seriously money well spent!
    I'll be running some test film with various screens with my designer next week.
    On the couple of occasions we've ran tones in the past they've had a bit of a moray effect through them and been very grainy (similar to newsprint). When he increases the resolution, the moray seems to get worse. We don't use a RIP.
    Once again, all and any opinions on how to achieve the best results using Adobe would be greatly appreciated.
    Please bear in mind that we can't really afford RIP software at this stage and we're reasonably happy just to be a able to produce lines work in house, but we would really love to see just what sorts of results can be achieved using what we have.
    Many thanks in advance.
     
  7. Warren Peace

    Warren Peace Member

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    I would keep my eyes open for a good used image setter. I've tried all the methods and the best way is film from an image setter. Next best thing is film from a camera. Not sure what the economy is like in Australia but I see them from time to time for decent prices. Good Luck!
     

  8. emet

    emet Member

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    Hello,
    I just saw this thread and thought I would add my 2 cents. I have a GTO 46 that I use to print pretty pleasing 4 colour work. I have used the cheapest paper possible and I have used better coated stock. I am a part time volunteer printer but I am very happy with my results. I make inkjet film with an old, used epson R2400 (it cost me less than $70) using a very cheap (less than $15) continuous ink system and accurip. The R2400 (and R1800 which is basically the same printer) make excellent film. These two printers have a very resilient and accurate printhead from what I understand.
    Accurip is the expensive part but it means you can print very good halftones and you can choose which nozzle of the printhead you use. That means you can use a printer that has a printhead that is not fully functional (has blocked or dysfunctional nozzles). I also use dye based ink made for film which is very dense and has a good ability to block UV. I have no problem getting the density I need. I like dye based ink because it is very kind to the printhead. If the printhead does get clogged (which happens for me since I sometimes do not use it for months at a time) it is much easier cleared than pigment ink. I use a regular UV light platemaker and use positive plates. Positive plates make using inkjet film a lot more feasible.
    Anyway, I understand if you do not want to get into the expense of a RIP which it seems is hard to pay under $500 for. Film maker and accurip are just under the $500 mark.