Thursday, August 18, 2016

'Step Test' for ImagOn Film

It's been a busy summer but I finally had a couple of days back in the studio and was eager to begin work on a new project. After working out some ideas and sketches, it was time to create a test plate to determine the correct exposure for my image, which is on frosted Mylar. I'll be using ImagOn photo polymer film.

After adhering the ImagOn to a plastic plate, I exposed it to an aquatint screen for 45 light units. Next, I divided the plate into 8 segments and uncovered one section at a time as I exposed my film positive to 3 second increments ranging from 15 to 36 light units. I know this is hard to see in the photo but if you look closely you can just make out the image on the plate.

I ended up with a great test print and was able to determine the amount of exposure needed for this particular positive. An exposure between 30 and 33 light units appears to give me the best detail and clarity. Now I'm ready to go ahead and make the plate I'll use for the edition.

I know it seems tedious to spend time doing a step test plate, but if you want the best results it's a good practice to do this with each new image. It's equally important to keep notes as you go along so if you step away for awhile or need to make adjustments you have a record of your progress.

I probably won't get back to the studio for a couple of weeks but at least I have the satisfaction of having made a start and will be able to pick up where I left off.


  1. what are you using for light exposure? can't figure out what to use to try my plates sine we def don't get enough sun for it

  2. I have a Nu-Arc exposure unit that I found on Craig's List a few years ago. It can be very frustrating to work with this photopolymer film without a good exposure unit.

    1. thank you for the info, will have to keep my eyes open for something similar here :)