Digital Negative Curves

Digital Negative Curves is a semi-automated process for creating digital negative correction curves in Photoshop for digital negatives which can then be printed in a traditional darkroom either as an enlargement or a contact print.

Digital Negative Curves

What Is A Digital Negative
A digital negative is a piece of transparent material which has a coated side from which we can print onto it directly from an inkjet printer. Most of these transparency sheets allow the use of dye and pigment-based inks. For my own testing, I have only tried them with pigment inks from my Epson R3880 Printer.

The digitally edited image image is printed onto these digital film transfer sheets, inverted, emulsion side down and flipped horizontally so that when they are printed in the darkroom as a positive image, they appear the correct way around.

After they have dried which I have found to be very quickly, they are then taken into the darkroom and printed either as a contact print or as a projected image from an enlarger.

What is the Digital Negative Curves Program
The Digital Negative Curve program will produce a correction curve which maps the values you send from Photoshop to the actual values the darkroom print can produce.

Digital Negative Correction Curve Panel

Digital Negative Curves Panel
The Digital Negative Curves program comes complete with a small lightweight photoshop panel which can be used to quickly open the program and also create a print template for printing the digital negative if you so wish.

The Digital Negative Curves program workflow.

  1. Open one of the pre made step wedges
  2. Print the step wedge onto your digital transfer film
  3. Contact print the step wedge in the darkroom
  4. Scan the step wedge
  5. Use the Digital negative Curve program to analyse the scan
  6. Let the Digital negative Curve program create the correction curve.

Once the step-wedge has been contacted printed in the darkroom, it is then scanned and the Digital Negative Curves program evaluates all 11 patches and then creates a correction curve which can then be saved as a Photoshop Curve preset and applied to future digital negatives.

Digital Negative Correction Curve

The Digital Negative Curve program has been created with Silver Gelatin printing in mind and I have no practical experience on how it performs for other alternative processes.

Digital Negative Curves  Requirements:

  • Photoshop CC and above
  • Mac or Windows operating system