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Hokkei Dragon (1) - Tracing

Posted by Dave Bull at 6:56 PM, May 9, 2006

This series of posts will track the 'construction' of this print, start to finish ...

There will be delays at times because lots of work on other projects is going on at the same time, but eventually, there will be a sequence of photos here that should cover the process pretty thoroughly.

Here's where we start - with a high resolution scan (600 dpi) of the original print.

A scan of this print at that resolution gives a file of around 168Mb. I use Photoshop for the tracing process, and open the image into a background layer of a .psd file. The resolution of 600 dpi results in an enlargement to the level shown in the next photo when viewed at 'Actual pixel size' on my monitor; enough to catch all the detail in the original.

I'm using a Wacom tablet for input, as a mouse just doesn't 'cut it' for extended sessions of drawing on the screen. This tablet has excellent pressure sensitivity, and with a single setting of the Photoshop brush size, lines can vary from quite fat, right down to a hair's breadth. Here's the setup:

At this point I haven't quite decided the actual procedure to use in making this print. There are two basic ways to go:

  1. Use the same procedure as was used when making the original: cut the key block first, then use printed impressions from that to make the 'colour' separations.
  2. Make the full set of colour separations by tracing from the original.

But in either case, it will be necessary to trace all the details of the block that will become the keyblock. In the case of this design, that block contains the outlines of the dragon body, along with most of the little marks and 'jots' giving texture to the skin.

The next three images show the procedure (using the area of the upper claw). The first image is the original:

The next image is the same thing, but with the addition of my tracing (on a separate Photoshop layer). I'm ignoring everything that is not part of this block (you can see the scattered dots that are actually printed from a separate block, with metallic pigment).

Here's the same area, with the base image now hidden. This is how I will print out the tracing for cutting the key block:

This thread continues in Hokkei Dragon (2) ...





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