Users instructions for ImagOn HD photopolymer films

These instructions are based on ImagOn HD. However, these instructions can also be used for other photopolymer films (ImagOn, Riston, Puretch, Photec, etc.) These other films will probably react differently in some techniques. ImagOn HD is superior to the other films when used for the techniques as here described. Some properties of different films;
  • ImagOn (ImagOn "classic) has been used many years with great succes. Keith Howard based his book "Non-toxic Intaglio Printmaking" (available in Polymetaal's internet shop under "New books about printmaking") on this film. Actually the ImagOn film is technically the same as DuPont's film Riston. DuPont stopped the production of Riston in spring 2002. It became therefore a necessity to find an alternative film. Keith Howard did several tests on other films and came up with a film he called ImagOn Ultra. Since 2005 Keith Howard ended the relationship with Dupont and tested a new film from a different manufacturer, called ImagOn HD.
  • Riston (4720) This is the film that has been used for years and sold under the name "ImagOn". These days it is not anymore in production.
  • Puretch is perfectly suited for "etched intaglio-type" techniques. In these techniques it is superior to ImagOn (Ultra) (Riston) because the film is much thinner. It is therefore a perfect resist. The ImagOn films are too thick for this purpose. If used in the original thickness, it leads to loss of detail (dispersed light). Therefore Keith Howard recommmands to thin the film in a soda bath. By using Puretch however you do not need to thin the film, and even the quality of the print is better compared to a thinned ImagOn (Ultra) print.
  • DK-film (Danish) is similar to the ImagOn Ultra rapid film.

Copper or zinc.
Keith Howard uses always copper. Zinc is possible however. Zinc allows less prints than copper, but the quantity of prints is often not an issue. Lamination on zinc can be done. There is no problem if zinc is used in the "non-etch" techniques. It can also be used with a photopolymer films as a resist, etched in ferric chloride. However etching zinc in ferric chloride gives more fumes than using copper in ferric chloride. It is advised to use "The Bordeaux etch" (etching in a copper sulphate solution) if zinc is used. There must be done some more research however on the behaviour of acrylic grounds in a bath of copper sulphate solution.

User's instructions for Imagon
The following techniques were mainly developed by Keith Howard and mostly already described in his book "Non-toxic Intaglio Printmaking". Potopolymer film gives almost endless posibilities and even more if combined with traditional printmaking techniques. Keith Howard just tried to explore as many possibilities with this film and "distilled" it into some described techniques. In order to facilitate communication about these techniques he labelled them and gave them a name.

Click on the link.

  1. Plate preparation
    Different types of plates (different materials and/or techniques) require different preparations.
  2. Lamination
    How to apply a photopolymer film to a plate.
  3. Developer solution
    The developer is used to dissolve unexposed areas in the film. These areas will become cavities and contain ink when printed.
  4. Intaglio-type Quick Guide
    Main instructions for (non-etch) Intaglio Type
  5. Toner Wash Drawing
    A toner wash drawing simulates lithographic tusche washes. As "tusche" is used a mixture of photocopy toner, acrylic floor finish and alcohol.
  6. Aquatint Screen Exposure test
    Before using an aquatint screen a step exposure test should be done to determine the best Aquatint Screen exposure for your unit. An aquatint Screen is needed if your image has grey tones (convert continuous tone into half tone)
  7. ImagOn STEP-TEST for Mylar Stencils
    Procedure for testing the correct exposure for a Toner-Wash drawing onto single sided Drafting Mylar.
  8. Digital Positive Transparencies
    Computer generated images can be used to create positives for the ImagOn film.
  9. Direct Intaglio-Type
    This technique involves drawing, painting, or placing objects in direct contact with the top surface of the ImagOn-coated plate. No transparent positive is needed.
  10. Wrinkled Intaglio-Type
    A playful way to work with ImagOn; exposed pieces of film are laminated in a wrinkled manner onto an earlier exposed layer of ImagOn.
  11. Mezzo-type
    A film is exposed to an aquatint screen, some areas are then filled up with an acrylic filler. these "filled" areas will print white on a black background.
  12. Spit-Bite Intaglio-type
    A film is exposed to an aquatint screen. with a brush several concentrations of developer can then be applied to the film, thus creating darker "washed" lines on a white background.
  13. Construction-Intaglio-Type
    Pieces of ImagOn are added to the plate and either developed and exposed together or seperately. This provides a very creative way in which almost any plate can be explored.
  14. Layered Intaglio-type
    More than one layer if ImagOn can be applied at the plate at one time. This allows not only for greater ink deposits in the plate but also allows for a unique plate making technique where different ImagOn layers can be exposed to either the aquatint screen or other images.
  15. Crackle Intaglio-Type
    This technique allows to create a "crackle-effect" which simulates the type of cracking that happens to ancient Chinese pots. There is no exposure of the ImagOn in the creation of this effect.
  16. Liquid Aquatint
    A method of adding rich black areas to any intaglio plate, without use of rosin dust powder, aquatint box, aquatint screen or other equipment.
  17. Etched intaglio-type
    Using the "thinned" ImagOn Ultra as a resist in combination with a line drawing or half tone image and ferric chloride.
  18. Destruction-Ground
    Paint on the plate with diluted Screen Filler, let it dry, and etch in ferric chloride.
  19. Making a Transparency for 4 Color Intaglio-Type
    How to create on a computer 4 different transparent positives for printing, in register, a 4 color intaglio type
  20. Etching Ink Preparation for 4 Color Intaglio-Type
    How to mix the four colors for 4 color Intaglio type
  21. Acrylic resist: Hard-Ground
    Traditional hard hourd technique but the varnish is replaced with an acrylic resist.
  22. Acrylic resist: Lift Ground
    This lift ground is based on the fact that oil and water don't mix. The grounds in Acrylic Resist Etching are water-based and will not stick to an oily surface. Image appplied with oily media.
  23. Acrylic Soft Ground
    There are many ways to work a soft ground and there are several grounds that will stay soft for a short period of time.
  24. Acrylic Resist Aquatint
    Making an acrylic resist aquatint with an airbrush and spray booth.
  25. Degreasing an inked plate
    How to clean an inked plate
  26. Removal of Imagon film
    How to strip the ImagOn from a plate and make the plate usable again.