Digital Lith Tutorial - Running Your First Development

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Now that you have installed and setup the program it is time to run your first image through Digital Lith. Therefore you first need to load an image into the program. It can be a black and white or a color jpg. Most of the time you might want to use a black and white image as Digital Lith only does a pretty simple black and white conversion.

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This post will show you the possibilities you have to drive the process. On the left you can see an image loaded into the program shown as a small preview image. Below the image you see a row of buttons used to drive the program. To load the image you can use either the Open button, the File Open menu or the cmd-O (ctrl-O on Windows) keyboard shortcut.

Here we are going to use the default settings as you have them present when you run the program the first time. Now let's go directly to your first development. First you usually want to do a test development, so just press the Test button (or the cmd-T keyboard shortcut) and watch the image getting developed. What you then end up with is something like this:

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It looks somehow already a bit lithy, but there is still the color missing (which we will deal in another episode of this tutorial series). Also since this is a process with some locality this will just give you a rough overview about how the image might turn out. You may want to have a look to a crop to see what is really going on. Just click into the image to get that part of the image enlarged. To get back to the normal view, click into the image area again and the full image will be shown. But now we are going to do a test development of an enlarged area. So enlarge one part of it and then press Test again and you may see something like that:

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Now how do you influence how the image is going to be rendered. First of all let's look at the processing time. That is the parameter right at the top of the parameter panel which you will find on the left. This parameter defines the number of iterations the process runs. Increase it and you will get a darker image, decrease it and it will turn out lighter. Every time you change a parameter you will have to run the test development again. OK, now you know one way to stop the development. But there two other ways to influence development time. One is by telling the program to stop development once the first pixels just turn not into black. For that you will have to give 0 as process time. To get a step darker, which means that there are pixels which just turned black: use -1, -2 means to go one step further and so on.

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On the left you can see how the image turns out using a 0 as process time which leads the development to stop after 77 iterations:

And now here is the method you may know from doing real lith prints. Here you start the test development by clicking on the Snatch button (or cmd-S keyboard shortcut). Now the development will run as long as you do not press the snatch button again. Once you stop the development the used process time will show up in the process time input field and you can refine it.

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Here is a development stopped a bit late, the darker parts turned into full black and you also see a bit more of the grain being built up. Probably these blocked blacks are not what you want. So lets go back to the initial values or some other values you found useful.

Then once you have the correct parameters you can decide to compute the image. There are two possibilities, first you can click the Develop button (or cmd-D) and after the dialog to input a name for the processed image, your image will get developed and you can watch it getting developed. In this stage you still are able to stop development using the snatch button. Once the image is developed you can go on with the same or another image.

But processing an image might be a time consuming task and you may not want to wait for an image being developed. In that case you can send it to the batch-queue via the Batch button and have it developed in the background while you work on the next image. If there are images in the batch queue is shown at the top of the preview area. Also there is info about the progress of the current image in the queue.

For each image in the queue an empty file is created once it is sent to the batch queue so that not another development may take the same file name. If you have many images in the queue and want to quit, in order to not get stuck with empty image files please use the Stop Batch button to cleanup those files before you quit the program.

So there, now you have your first image developed. Here is how it might look like

And here is the developed image:

 
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Watch out for the next episode where we deal with image color: Click!