1126. Vignetting is a term applied to the method of printing, by which the margins of the picture are made to gradually fade or blend away. This softness is produced in various ways. The vignette is usually made of cardboard, with a hole cut the size and shape to suit the requirements of the picture. The edge of the opening is cut all around with teeth or slits, and covered with a sheet of thin tissue paper, to lend softness to the vignetting. This is placed over the negative during the printing operation.

1127. An important point is the distance between the negative and vignetting card. Usually this should be at least one-half inch. The greater the distance, however, the smaller should be the opening.

1128. While there are a number of methods employed and a variety of ready made vignetters that can be purchased from any photographic stock house, yet it is absolutely impossible to employ the same vignetter for all purposes. Therefore, it is more practical to make your own, fashioning them to suit the particular negative it is desired to vignette. The ready made devices are intended principally for portrait work, and have oval or other shaped openings. Some are made of glass; others of zinc having openings with serrated edges; and still others like the Dixie vignetter, the opening of which can be adjusted to negatives of any size or shape. (See Illustration No. 10.)

1129. All of these are intended for cabinet portrait work. Perhaps the most practical ready-made vignetter is the Dixie. It consists of a thin board which fits over the entire printing frame, having a large opening fitted with cardboard wings, operating on a pivot similar to the diaphragms of a shutter, except that they may be adjusted to openings of any shape desired, by simply moving the wings. With this any part of a negative may be vignetted, as it can be adjusted up and down, sideways or oblique.

1130. Suitable vignetters may be made at practically no expense, other than a little time, and be in every way serviceable, in fact this method is used in all large studios. Quite a number of vignetters are composed of different shaped openings for various sized negatives, insuring some one opening out of the lot to fit the negative you wish to vignette. If a negative requires an odd shape vignette it will take but a few moments to make one especially suited for that particular negative.

1131. Tools Necessary

Tools Necessary. Small tack hammer, pocket knife or scissors, small bristle paint brush, also an ordinary paste brush.

1132. Materials

Materials. Covers of dry plate boxes, tissue paper or onion skin, tacks, opaque and paste. It is not advisable to use the ordinary starch paste for pasting tissues, as it sours quickly and soon becomes spoiled. Gum arabic is the best paste to use. One-half ounce of gum arabic dissolved in from 6 to 8 ounces of water makes a good paste, which will keep for a long time.

1133. With the tools and materials mentioned proceed to make your vignette in the following manner; if you wish to vignette a 5 x 7 negative, use a 5 x 7 dry plate box cover. Cut a hole in the cover, the size and shape to suit the requirements of the negative. For a bust portrait the opening may be oval or pear shape. The opening should be a trifle smaller than the portion of the negative to be printed, allowing for the tissue and serrated edges to do the main work of grading or blending. (See Fig. 1 of illustration No. 11.)

1134. Next, notch the sides of the four corners, about one-half inch, and score the side by making a light cut from corner to corner, all the way around; so that these ends and sides can be bent outward, forming a flap, which can be tacked to the printing frame.

Illustration No. 10 Dixie Vignetter

Illustration No. 10 Dixie Vignetter.

See Paragraph No. 1128

Illustration No. 11 Vignette for Printing Out Papers

Illustration No. 11 Vignette for Printing-Out Papers.

See Paragraph No. 1133

LIGHT BEYOND Study No. 18 By W. E. Bertling

LIGHT BEYOND Study No. 18 By W. E. Bertling.

1135. With a pair of shears, cut small notches all around the opening, in the form of teeth (See Fig. No. 2); then apply a little paste along the edge of the opening, covering with a piece of French tissue paper, or onion skin. When dry, the vignetting device is ready to be attached to the printing frame.

1136. Place the negative in the frame, holding the frame containing the negative in your left hand, towards the light, at an angle so that it can be seen through. With the right hand place the vignetter in position. When properly adjusted so that it will vignette (cut off) the parts to be eliminated, remove the negative from the frame, firmly holding the vignetting device in position. Then turn the frame over, with the vignetting device on top. Lay on the table, being careful that you do not change the position of the vignetter while turning over the frame. Place a small tack at each corner; tap each tack lightly with a tack hammer - just enough to fasten the vignetter. Next turn the frame over and again place the negative in the printing frame, noting whether the vignetter properly registers with the negative. If it does and has not been moved during the adjusting, again remove the negative, while placing a tack on each corner to firmly hold the vignetter in place. The vignetter will then be securely fastened.

1137. Next, cover the opening of the vignetter with tissue paper, and place the negative in the printing frame. Hold the negative to the light so it can be seen through, carefully observing the effect produced by the vignette. If the opening appears too large, permitting too much spread of light at the sides or over the head, again remove the negative, and around the edge of the opening apply opaque to the tissue with a small paint brush.

1138. Good opaque can be prepared as follows: 1 ounce chrome yellow, 1 ounce vermillion, and 1 ounce gum arabic. Mix the yellow in 2 ounces of water; then add gum arabic, which must be previously dissolved in a little water; and last, mix the vermillion with 2 ounces of water and add to the former. This makes an excellent inexpensive opaque.

1139. When applying the opaque to the tissue paper, draw the brush sideways along the opening, spreading the opaque more lightly in approaching the parts you want to blend to. This will give a gradual blend from the picture. See Fig. No. 3.

1140. Where you wish to vignette more closely (sharper) at the bottom than at the top, it can be done by making the vignette bevel shaped, in the following manner: Cut the corners of the sides of the box, a and b; then draw a line from these corners to the outer edge of corners c and d. With a pen-knife lightly score this line, sufficient to bend back, forming the flap which is attached to the printing frame (See Fig. No. 4).

1141. Another simple method is to build up your printing frame with wooden strips about 3/4 of an inch, covering the frame with cardboard, with the opening made the same as previously described. Between the negative and the vignetter place absorbent cotton loosely around the opening. If the cotton is not packed too solidly and is quite fluffy, the light will filter through the edges, giving an excellent vignette.