I have been doing a lot of this recently so I thought I’d write a post about it. Basically, the idea is to use photos with high contrast and to use photo editing software to take all the grey out and just leave black and white. When printed with a laser printer, the black areas are full of carbon which is heated up when the Gocco bulbs flash, then they stick to the Gocco screen, melt the plastic and expose the screen in those areas.
I use Paint Shop Pro 10.01 so these screenshots come from that. You can use Photoshop and probably other software too.
This is one of the photos I used.
They are some of the houses in the Slate Museum that we visited at Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. It has pretty good contrast – darks and lights. I opened it in Paint Shop Pro and clicked on Adjust – Brightness and Contrast – Threshold.
This was the first result I got from that. I thought that was too dark so I decreased the number in the box a bit.
That was better (97 is the number in the box for this second try).
However, large dark areas do tend to get splotchy and detail gets lost so I thought I’d decrease it a bit more, to 81 in the box. That was better, so here is the result:
I haven’t actually printed this yet but I’ll let you know how it works! This one would be best for the hi-mesh framed screens for paper (though you could use them to print on fabric as well). I have found myself mostly using the unframed film for repeat textures and patterns. Here is one such example, a photo of an unusual manmade “waterfall” at Villandry in the Loire Valley in France where we holidayed last year.
This is the image I came up with after playing with it in Paint Shop Pro using the above process. Again I haven’t actually printed it yet but I can see it giving an interesting texture on fabric…