Creating A "Pseudosolarization"


Rusty Truck Canon EOS 1v, 28-70mm f/2.8, Kodak Supra 400, F/16 @ 1/125, negative scanned with a Polaroid SprintScan4000,2400 x 1617 pixels, 11.7MB .tif

Yeah right, you say — a pseudosolarization — just what is that and do I really want to create one? There are chemical solariza-tions, and solarizations that can be created in darkrooms during exposure, and then some that can only be created in theory. The exposure necessary to produce true solarization is in the range of 1,000 to 10,000 times that necessary to produce total black in the negative, which is rather difficult to create — that is unless you are using Photoshop 7 and can take a little detour around the true definition.

As I am more the creative type than the technical type and the notion of swapping some or all of the colors sounds cool, consider this an official classic photographic effect, which means that it fits nicely in this chapter. (In reality, I just really enjoy messing around with Curves and wanted it covered in this book as it can produce some really cool effects.) These effects look even better when you create an entire portfolio of pseudosolarizations! Try this technique on a few of your images — you'll probably like them. If not, just consider this technique a break from all the seriousness in the other 49 techniques.

■ Choose File ^ Open (Ctrl+O) to display the Open dialog box. Double-click the \21 folder to open it and then click the rusty-truck-before.tif file to select it. Click Open to open the file.


■ Choose Layer >- New Adjustment Layer >-Levels to get the New Layer dialog box. Click OK to get the Levels dialog box shown in Figure 21.3. Drag the black slider to the right until Input Levels read 18,1.0, and 255.


■ Choose Layer >- New Adjustment Layer >-Curves to get the New Layer dialog box. Click OK to get the Curves dialog box. Begin setting and moving points around on the curve to make the curve look like it is a long rope being whipped up and down. Generally, you want to keep the two end-points where they are. I set points on the Curve, as those shown in Figure 21.4 to get the image shown in Figure 21.2. There are infinite varieties — experiment and see what you can create. Try two, three, and four sets of loops.

■ When you get an image you like, consider creating a new adjustment layer for Hue/ Saturation. Figure 21.5 shows the results of applying Hue/Saturation with the settings +101, -15, and 0 to the image shown in Figure 21.2.

Believe it or not — this technique should be tried on a variety of different kinds of images as the results are unpredictable and they can be quite good. Okay — enough of this fun diversion and the art of creating pseudosolarizations.




Lady in Light

Nikon 8008s film camera mounted on tripod, 105 mm f/2.8, Fuji Sensia-RH slide film, ISO 400, f15.6, image from Kodak Photo-CD, 2048 x 3077 pixels reduced to 1920 x 2400 pixels, 13.8MB .tif

I learned about the wonderful photography and unique techniques of William Mortensen from Alan Scharf's postings to an e-mail group that we both belong to. As a long-time photographer and darkroom printer, as well as one who is interested in the history of photography, Alan has created his own digital Steeline texture screens to get results similar to those of William Mortensen and his texture screens, which William used extensively in the 1920s and '30s.

A texture screen is a film that is used in the darkroom. The screen has a texture printed on it and it is placed over the photographic paper or sandwiched with the negative during exposure. The use of these texture screens enables photographs to take on the characteristics of an etching, canvas, charcoal, pastel, or fresco.

As there is limited space in this book to cover the techniques or the work of William Mortensen, I highly recommend that you search the Internet for Web pages about him or that you attempt to find one of his long-out-of-print books. One of William's students is still creating texture screens as he created them. You can learn more about these screens and purchase one if you'd like from the Web site

As William Mortensen's photographs frequently featured women (often nude) in rich brown-tones, with lots of grain, we use a wonderful photograph taken by photographer Peter Balazsy to try out the Steeline texture contributed by Alan Scharf.

■ Choose File ^ Open (Ctrl+O) to display the Open dialog box. Double-click the \22 folder to open it and then click the lady-in-light-before.tif file to select it. Click Open to open the file.


Digital texture screens can be created by photographing appropriate textures, manually creating them on paper and then scanning them, or creating them digitally. Alan Scharf found that Andromeda's EtchTone Filter (, a Photoshop plug-in, works beautifully for creating certain types of screens. After some experimentation, he found that different images require different screen line frequency (spacing) and line thickness. Using the EtchTone Filter, he created the sample screen found on the Companion CD-ROM, which you use in this technique.

■ Choose File >- Open (Ctrl+O) to display the Open dialog box. Double-click the \22 folder to open it and then click scharf-steeline1.tif file to select it. Click Open to open the file.

Using this screen full-size is important. After the screen is applied to an image, the image should not be re-sized or saved as a JPEG as it causes deterioration of the screen effect.


■ To apply Alan's texture effect, click the scharf-steeline1.tif image to make it the active image; then press Shift and click the thumbnail image in Background layer in the Layers palette; then drag and drop the image onto the lady-in-light-before.tif image.

■ To blend the screen with the image, click in the Blend mode box in the Layers palette and select Multiply.You can try other Blend modes as well. In particular, the Darken mode can work well. Additionally, you can reduce the Opacity level in the Layers palette. For this image, I used Multiply i


Peter Balazsy is recognized as one of the most accomplished photographers in the art of the Polaroid photo-image transfer technique.Peter currently divides his professional life, working as both a portrait photographer and artist, as well as heading up a small computer consulting company where digital-image-manipulation provides yet another creative outlet for his artistry. Increasingly, Peter is working with new digital tools,including Photoshop,to create exciting new photographic art. About half of Peter's works are female nudes and portraits while the other half are cityscapes and still lifes that present his unique artistic-style. You can read more about Peter and his work on his Web site at

as the Blend mode and set Opacity to 40%, as shown in the Layers palette in Figure 22.3.


This technique has many variations. Besides reducing Opacity, you can create a layer mask and mask out parts of the screens where there are either important details (for example, eyes) or where highlights occur, such as those on the back of the lady in the photo used for this technique. Figure 22.2 shows the results of carefully painting with a 300-pixel brush at 10% Opacity to remove the texture screen effects on the lady's back and in the brightest part of the light.

After you try this technique, consider creating your own screens textures and experiment with them on black and white photos as well as color photos. Thanks to Alan Scharf, this technique is a great start to what may well become a widely-practiced technique for those working in the new digital darkroom — thanks, Alan. Also, thanks to Peter for his perfect photograph for this technique! If you would like to contact Alan Scharf, he may be reached via e-mail at [email protected]. If you are interested in getting a set of his Steeline texture filters, send him an e-mail and ask him about them — he is continually experimenting and is creating a nice collection of them.



1 Layers \ > 1

Multiply V Opacity: 40%

Lock: □ ■/ A Fill: 10096


Layer 1



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