Gradient Photo Paper

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by John Terefenko, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. KurtB

    KurtB Moderator Staff Member

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    John,
    I bought one of the gradient backgrounds, and, like yours, it was rolled and in a cardboard tube. At first the curl bothered me, but I learned that if I use a pair of small spring clamps to attach it to the top of my photo cube, I can unroll it and put some weight on it at the bottom front and it works just fine. I don't trust storing it any other way than back in the tube for protection. Just a thought - you might be able to find a larger diameter tube that would allow it to relax a bit more while still offering protection.
     
  2. John Terefenko

    John Terefenko

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    Thanks Kurt. I will probably store it in the tube again but what has me so bugged is why so tightly wrapped and why is it wrapped side to side and not top to bottom. If it were top to bottom I can do as you say clamp to something and just roll it down. But side to side presents alot more challanges because you also have to allow a gradual curve. Not sure if this was money well spent. Jury is still out on this.
     
  3. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    John T, Just as an FYI, I found cardboard tubes for the picking from the place I bought a rug. (had to cut to length) Better tubes (lighter) were found at a drafting supply house, went there to buy a gallon of ammonia for fuming...You might be able to find a larger tube at one of these places for storage of your background...and if you have leftovers you can make a didgeridoo.

    cc
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    John, what diameter tube did your background come in? The Flotone comes in a thick-walled four inch diameter tube which does not seem to be too bad. If it were in a tiny tube, that would be a problem. You could always buy a section of PVC sewer pipe to store yours if the diameter is too small.

    Don't give up on the background paper -- it actually is easier to use and produces better results, in my opinion, than a light tent, if it is one of those tiny ones. Also, your camera is just fine. Don't think that a fancy camera is needed to get good results or that your camera is not worth having a good lighting set up. Far more significant than the camera is the effort that one puts into making a good image.

    I've always wanted to make a didgeridoo -- where can I go to get lessons on playing it?
     
  5. Joe Greiner

    Joe Greiner

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    Cardboard Tubes

    Newsprint cores. 4-inch OD, 1/2" wall, standard lengths up to 46". Free, or nominal cost, at local newspaper printing plants, copious amounts daily. Phone ahead. Also useful for custom-made turning fixtures, forming voids in concrete, and God knows what else. And usually about 1/4" thick (about 100 ft linear) of blank paper left on the roll, because new rolls are applied at full speed of about 30mph.
     
  6. John Terefenko

    John Terefenko

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    Ok here is the latest on my paper. I was able to put some heat on it using a heat gun yesterday and was at least able to get it to roll out enough that I was able to put it on the carpeted floor next to a radiator. Believe me when I tell you this was a chore. It took 2 people to do this because the curl was so tight. You may think I am exagerating but I am not. The results are it is now at least managable where I can now roll it top to bottom and place it back in the tube. Hopefully this will get it to shape the other way. The tubes is a heavy duty tube and is about 4" in diameter. The paper itself looks like a good quality plastic but I can see where it can mar easily if not careful. It also smells pretty bad and I am guessing from the color printing stuff on it. But even that has disapated somewhat.

    It looks like I will be keeping it and giving it a try with some photos and now will have to improve my photo taking abilities.

    Thanks all for your help and support and Joe that is a great idea with the tubes. It is amazing how we as turners or woodworkers in general look at things lying around differently and how the mind works. We are constanly thinking I can use this to do this or you file these things away in the back of the brain. The one problem with me there is so much other junk in the back of the brain and the older I get the brain is erasing too many things:)

    Thanks again and have a great day.
     
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If the tube that John got was tiny, I think that may explain why it was rolled side to side -- if they had rolled it from top to bottom, they probably could not have crammed it into a soda straw size tube. That also explains the extreme curl that he is seeing. The inside diameter of the Flotone tubes is 3 13/16 inches. I have never had a problem with curl. Once I remove the background material, it only requires minimal taping to get it to stay where I want it to stay. I think that a large diameter tube is what John needs provided that he ever manages to get the material to lie flat.
     
  8. Robert Manning

    Robert Manning member

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    In the masonry section at Home Depot they sell carboard tubes for forming concrete columns. I have seen 12" diam. and 6" diam. there, but many more sizes are available.

    Paper is manufactured with it's grain running in one direction, just like wood. If you take a flat sheet and gently bend it, you will soon find which way the grain runs, as it bends more easily in one direction. This knowledge can be used to advantage when working with paper.
     
  9. Mark Hubl

    Mark Hubl

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    Tube for Storage

    A source for tubes for storage, try a Kinkos or UPS store, Container Store. The USPS has triangular "tubes" for shipping rolled materials, and you can get them for free.

    P.S. I just purchased a 40 x 60 graduated sheet on ebay. Looks like off brand. Will review here upon arrival.
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that I like Robert's suggestion of a really large diameter tube.

    John, I know that something like that can be terribly frustrating. After all of that ordeal, I might just be tempted to let it just hang out flat somewhere. I would do that except that I occasionally need to take it to a club meeting if the person who normally does our instant gallery photos is not gong to be there. We are able to store some stuff at the community center where we meet, but we have hit the limit on what they will let us store.

    Robert the background material is some sort of plastic -- probably PVC, so I do not know how this compares to paper when it comes to flattening other than neither seems to behave the way one would like.
     
  11. Robert Manning

    Robert Manning member

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    Thanks, Bill, I've been using a sheet of white paper that I get at Michael's for half a buck. When it gets too grungy, I just buy a new one and use the old one for masking paper. It's white index stock.

    I have been thinking about spraying some dye on a sheet of paper to make one gradated and then spray Krylon Workable Fixatif over that to protect it (which is exactly what fixatif is for).

    I was unaware that those gradated backgrounds were available in plastic. That sounds cleanable, but they are pricey. Do they have a reflective sheen?

    Best wishes,

    Robert
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The finish on Flotone is quite flat -- maybe just a hint of satin. It is laid down with a swept-back curve which means that the lights should not create any problem with reflection. White background paper can be used to produce a gray appearance if it sweeps back far enough and the lights are kept off of it.

    The way that automobile painters create a graduated blend of colors is to lay down the lighter color and then feather in the darker color -- increasing the amount as they work towards the darker area. They may also shoot some reducer over the feathered area to help with blending. They probably also do incremental mixing if doing a really top quality job. I would guess that this requires a lot of skill to do it well. My only effort with poster board looked terribly blotchy.

    The backgrounds are cleanable, but things can scratch the finish such as grit or a turning with a rough bottom so do not slide things around -- just gently pick them up and set them down. Occasionally, wipe clean with a damp cloth -- if necessary some dish detergent can be used on something sticky or oily. Considering the cost of materials and likelihood of good results from a DIY project, $40 is not too bad for a ready made 31 X 43 background. Everything related to photography is overpriced.
     
  13. John Terefenko

    John Terefenko

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    Yes they are plastic and as Bill has mentioned is more flat in color with a hint of satin and the idea of not getting glare is what I liked. I have tried using the black marble tile for effect and am not sold on that so I put that on the side and will try this. I do not have large turnings so I can not do experimenting with those yet. I mainly do small items like pens and ornaments for now but will doing some clocks as per my other posts. I do alot of scrollsawing items and wanted to try the paper with them. I need to work on the lighting thing and all that too. Photography is a whole field in itself. I only wish I had more time to do all the things I would like to do but I am afraid I will be dead and buried before my appetite will be quenched.

    As far as storing laying flat or hanging somewhere that will not happen. No room for that. Like I said if I can get it to relax and be abled to roll and unrollfrom top to bottom I can deal with it. I am thinking of making a collapsible bracket so I can clamp it right in place and have a place for my lights and all. Just some thought running through my head again.

    Right now we are bracing for a huge snow storm that can keep us busy for a couple days. Glad it is the weekend.


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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Robert, see the sketch that I did in post #6 for an approximate idea of how to lay out the graduated background. The sketch is not really precise, but just gives the general idea. The main idea is that you don't want to just hang it straight on the wall or to have it laying flat on the table and then suddenly go vertical on the wall because that will show up as a very pronounced line in the photo.
     
  15. Vaughn

    Vaughn

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    The Sonotubes I've seen were all coated with a thick paraffin-type wax, used as a form release agent. I don't think I'd want my plastic gradient backdrop to come in contact with the wax. I've learned the hard way that soft waxes (like Quake Hold) will stain the backdrop.
     
  16. Robert Manning

    Robert Manning member

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    That's a good point, Vaughn. The tubes I got at HD, were not the Sonotube brand, and a lot cheaper. I don't remember them having a coating, but if they do, the solution, of course, would be to line it with something, if that's worth it.

    Bill, your #6 sketch looks like a studio I used to work with. They built a cove at the floor out of 1/8" luan plywood and feathered it into the wall and floor with joint compound and then painted it white for that seamless effect. They had the whole building dedicated for photography, so they could keep the background at a distance to control the darkness. The models had to change in the darkroom.

    Product photography, such as woodturnings, was generally shot with 4" x 5" Ektachrome and models were generally shot with 2 1/4" wide roll film. If we wanted to enhance red and yellow, then Kodachrome was the answer. 35mm was really looked down upon for reproduction purposes because it was so hard to keep clean with enlargements. For 35mm to work, it just had to be of extraordinary quality and it rarely was. The other reason was that the studios would duplicate photos so many times that we might be working with fourth or fifth generation images, and with 35mm, well, the quality would just start to fall apart. Sometimes I would receive 8" x 10" or even larger color transparencies with the quality on those being less than ideal. I think they were enlarged from smaller formats to impress studio execs. Everything was at a furious pace so there was less than ideal control with the stills. That's all history, now with the advent of digital photography, which has provided a giant leap in quality for every day photographic production.
     
  17. Joe Greiner

    Joe Greiner

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    Blue Screen?

    How about blue screen? Now actually green, but still called "blue" because an earlier Kodak film had a stepwise response curve at blue. Extensively used in traveling-mat optical printing for movies.

    My neighbor is a video producer, and claims he can put anybody anywhere, any time. You see this every day, on the TV weather forecasts. It can be made as weird as you like, too.

    Shoot the piece in a green room, and add the separately-shot background in software. The background could even be built in software alone.
     
  18. Robert Manning

    Robert Manning member

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    Before digital, there were many processes that could be classified as better photography through chemistry. One process was where the film emulsion was separated from the clear film, like a decal, and floated off in a liquid, and then transfered onto another transparency. There was little margin for error with this technique.

    I knew a photo retoucher who lived a block from the Warner Brothers lot, and he was actually able to do some retouching on 35mm slides, but it was not recommended. One of the basic techniques was to mask off a transparency, and then etch a section of the image back to clear film, then either paint or airbrush the image to whatever was needed. Again, there was no redo button. It's so much easier and forgiving now.
     
  19. Joe Greiner

    Joe Greiner

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    Like these.

    Bear in mind, this was a quick experiment - about 2 hours total. And the Photoshop guru was in some unfamiliar territory too. He preferred a mirror for the first two, to protect the carpeted floor, with reflections removed by hand. Also more hand erasing in the second background - not quite perfect. For the tumble rings, I pulled back the carpet, because erasing the reflections would have been awkward. I think that one was most successful.

    An old Russian proverb: The first pancake is never any good.

    <2010_02_08/ 4, 4copy; 6, 6copy; 7, 7copy
     

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  20. Joe Greiner

    Joe Greiner

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    Last picture
     

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