Digital Lith Case Studies 8

Digital Lith Case Studies 8
Published: Sun, May 17th 2020

Here is the next take on creating extra grain through streaking modules. And this also covers how to add some uneven development using streaks of under-exposure. This means we do have to go back to the DigitalLith Exchange and download some other streaking modules. Namely these are Blotchy Area New and Extra Grain New. How to do this is described in the last episode. So you either know, or have to look that up here: Click!


The image for this episode is an image I made from a pile of photo books. Lying on top is Richard Avedon/James Baldwin: Im Hinblick which is the German translation and re-print of the original book: Nothing Personal originally published in 1964. And I followed my habit of making the image I use for the episode available to you. So if you like to follow this episode using the same image I did, go ahead and download it here: Click!

But maybe you also want to try it on your own image. Which is interesting too since applying streaking to an image is always depending on the image itself. You will see, where you have the same process settings applied to different images and that works well, when it comes to streaking it will work for one image, but not for the other.

OK, what is this episode all about? This time we are going after the lith look of some specific paper. For sure, that is not an easy task, as it depends on the developer too and if you apply toning or not. So we hold the coloring subtle, you can play around with it a bit on your own. The paper we go after is Fomabrom. This is not the easiest paper to lith with, it can act a bit chaotic, usually does not produce a lot of color by itself and liths grainy. Look about the look of the paper on flickr to see what I mean.

I do have a starter preset with a lookup table included for download: Click!. But you might want to play around with it a bit so here is the lookup table data you can use to create the lookup table yourself and then also apply some gradient: Click! If you followed this series of case studies, you know how to do this. If not, here you get a description on how to use the lut-generator: Click!.

Now the starter preset will produce the following image and we are going to work from it towards the look we are after which is slightly chotic and with grain dominated mid-tones.


Since the original image already has some deep shadows it is no wonder that we also end up with deep and blocked shadows here. Now we want to have quite some grain. Let us increase the grain parameter to 0.5, but start smooth with sulfite set to 9 and then go over time more rough by setting bromide increase to 1. And since we increased the grain and the amount of sulfite we need to also go with a higher dilution and set it to 40. We get something like the following:


And you see, the shadows are even blocked up more. For that we also increase the dilution and set that parameter to 1.


Better but not good. But let us first have a look at the highlights, those need a bit more control and we go up with the highlight contrast to 3. This will also increase shadow density which we can work against by reducing tray movement - so down with it to 20.


We now do have way more definition in the shadow, but a lack in overall contrast. But that can get a healing by setting the exposure to a negative value of -3. And here is what we end up so far:


Now we get to the point that this episode is all about: Adding more grain and also adding some streaking or areas of uneven development - under-development in our case.

For that what we need is two more streaking modules. In the last episode you learned how to install streaking modules. And if you have not done so out of curiosity, please go ahead and install Extra Grain New and Blotchy Area New.

We start with using the Extra Grain module. The parameters for this kind of streaking module are:

  • Amount of Grain - the amount of grain to be added in percent.
  • Grain Size - the grain size which is a whole number with 0 be the size of a pixel, 1 be a 3x3 area, 2 a 5x5 and so on.
  • Strength - the strength of the effect. This is comparable with the grain parameter of the lith process.
  • Uniformity - the uniformity of the grains (if size greater than 0).

Just add the normal version and do a development with the default values. What you will end with is something like this:


This is not enough of an effect so go with higher strength of 0.5 and an amount of 30. This gives better visible extra grain. See here:


This gives us some more grain. Now let us try to get some streaking of under-developed areas. They shall be visible but not prominent. For this we use the other streaking module: Blochy Area Streaking and we use the Invert version for what we want to achieve. Please go ahead and select and add it. Here is the parameters of this module:

  • Amount - the amount of streaking to be added in percent.
  • Horizontal Spread - the horizontal spread of the blotches in percent of the long edge.
  • Vertical Spread - the vertical spread of the blotches in percent of the long edge.
  • Variance - the variance of spread and amount in percent.
  • Amount per Blotch - the amount of streaking per blotch.
  • Grain Size - the grain size with 0 be the smallest (pixel size), 1 a 3x3 area, 2 a 5x5 area and so on.
  • Strength - the strength of the effect. This is comparable with the grain parameter of the process.
  • Misalignment - a variance in the blotch which makes them less uniform in shape. This is a percentage.

We do want the streaking in vertical direction so we change the default parameters to a horizontal spread of 0.3 and a vertical spread of 20. And in addition to that we use a grain size of 1. Here is what we get:


Not exactly what we want. the effect is way too strong. So down with the amount to 30 and down with the amount per blotch to 50. This should reduce the streaking quite a bit as you can see in the next image.


But still it is not subtle enough. Let us trim the strength and set it to 0.15 which should reduce the effect. In the next image you see, the streaking is no longer as prominent and I would go with this result.


And this is also the final image of this episode. Did we make it through to a look of Fomabrom? Certainly not. Did we reach some nice look? Yes, I think so.

Some general notes about streaking. The amount and especially the strength of streaking depend heavily on the grain parameter of the process. And it also depends on the bromide/sulfite ratio as the streaking is applied to the paper layer and that means that the streaking has higher impact the more bromide gets into the equation. That means there is no standard streaking setting. It is always dependent on the process parameters and also on the image itself. You will have to adjust it for every image anew.

OK. That is enough for this episode. As ever: Have fun playing around with the program.