Split toning

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Hello everybody!

I am going to try split toning sepia / selenium to get yellowish highlights and purple/blueish shadows. What should I do - bleach first, then sepia, then selenium? Or bleach, selenium, and then sepia? Any sugestions? Paper - Ilford RC Multigrade neutral tone.

Thank you,



-- Eugene Safian (safian3@rogers.com), March 25, 2002


what you're talking about is not really split toning. split toning occurs with certain papers and selenium where the mid-high gray values take on a pinkish tone and the lower values ramain black. That's not to say you can't do what you are suggesting. keep in mind that sepia toner acts first on the high values while selenium works first on the low values. why not try the sepia first which will provide tone to the high end if you don't bleach too long, and then use selenium. of course, the results you get will probably be very difficult to duplicate from one print to another.

-- ricardo (ricardospanks1@yahoo.com), March 25, 2002.

It depends on the exact kind of look you are looking for. The sepia bleach actually bleaches all across the scale - it is just noticeable in the highlights first because they go to white (whereas the shadows get so marginally lighter that you won't notice it). Selenium typically does start at the shadow end of the scale and then works up - as a result, it is a little more difficult to see how far the toning has progressed. For this reason, I typically find sepia first easier because it is easier to get repeatable results - you can decide to bleach till a particular area is gone and then redevelop, wash and move to the selenium. Papers - any warm tone paper is likely to provide better results. Good luck. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (dhananjay-nayakankuppam@uiowa.edu), March 25, 2002.

Thank you very much. What about bleaching the paper a little and then selenium toning? (no sepia) What effect would it be?

Thanks again,


-- Eugene Safian (safian3@rogers.com), March 25, 2002.

I'm going to guess that it would look like a regular selenium toned prints with lost highlights (and you might get some staining). The sepia bleach is a rehalogenating bleach i.e., it converts the silver to a silver halide. The redevelop (sulfide) converts this to silver sulfide which provides the characteristic sepia color. If you omit the redevelop step and move to the selenium toner, the thiosulfite in the selenium toner will fix out the bleached, rehalogenated silver and the selenium will tone the remaining silver. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (dhananjay-nayakankuppam@uiowa.edu), March 25, 2002.

I regularly selenium tone and then follow up with bleach/sepia. It controls the effect of the sepia, especially in the shadows. I have not tried this with warm tone paper, but maybe that would get you the kind of look you want (yellow in the highlights). I know that with warm tone papers, sepia brings out a distinctive yellow tone (which I personally do not care for). But maybe it's worth trying. Perhaps you would want to pull the print out of the bleach just after the highlights begin to disappear so that the sepia effect in the shadows is minimized.

-- Jim Rock (jameswrock@aol.com), March 25, 2002.

Thank you all!

Jim, what paper do you use? What effect do you achieve toning in selenium first, and then bleach/sepia?



-- Eugene Safian (safian3@rogers.com), March 26, 2002.

You will have to experiment and find the right paper. I've gotten split tones like that. I think it was by overprinting, then partially bleaching the whole print with Farmer's reducer, then toning in brown toner for less than the recommended time. Paper might have been Agfa Multicontrast, but I don't remember for sure.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), March 26, 2002.

In response to your question, when I use sepia I always use Ilford Multigrade neutral tone. Warm tone papers and certain other papers such as Forte Nuetral tone and Berrger neutral tone turn a putrid yellow that I personally find unappealing. (Forte nuetral tone is actually my "warm" tone paper. With selenium, both Forte and Berrger neutral tone papers produce a nice, rich brown.)

So when I use selenium and sepia, I also use Ilford multigrade neutral tone. First I use selenium, which reduces the effectiveness of the bleach. I then bleach and tone in sepia. The effect of the sepia is more subtle, and I get stronger blacks. Sometimes the sepia effect is very subtle, even in the highlights. The strength of the bleach and bleaching time are two variable I take into account to get the look I want.

I have not tried this combination with warm tone papers, but maybe it would give you shadows that are a darker brown and highlights that are yellow.

If you use sepia first, I don't believe there is any reason to use selenium as a second process. I don't think you will get a color shift, and sepia is actually more archival than selenium.

-- Jim Rock (jameswrock@aol.com), March 26, 2002.

eugene, if all you want is yellow highlights, try toning your print (after the final wash after exposure) in a very strong green tea. it will produce almost no effects in the shadows and the highlights will be yellow. fix afterwords in a hardening fixer. adam

-- adam rowe (dementiax1@yahoo.com), April 07, 2002.

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