« TechNotes

Print Borders

When I first started out with Platinum printing, I loved seeing the black border brush strokes around my prints; it was visible proof that I was an Artiste. Nowadays, not so much.

Here's the problem with black borders (or I should say, the advantage of white borders) on your prints: a white border will allow you to easily see any problems with insufficient print clearing or bad ferric oxalate.

There's an additional benefit to the white borders: they allow you to do very easy, clean-looking matting. A single 4-ply over-mat looks great on a print with white borders showing. I usually leave about 1/4 inch of the white border exposed on the top and sides, and about 5/8 inch on the bottom, allowing enough room to sign the print.

The way I do this is to print my negatives with a thin black border on all four sides, and then mask the edges with rubylith tape. (Rubylith is a transparent red tape that blocks UV. You can search the web for rubylith tape, it's available from Amazon and other places.) Adding the black border on the negative makes it easier to lay down the rubylith tape, you don't have to quite as precise.

Rubylith taped edge and simple overmat:  
rubylith edge white border

Adding the thin black borders on each negative was tedious, so I wrote a script to speed up the process. This works for CS5 and probably most other flavors of Photoshop. When you run the script, it adds a 3/16 inch border to each side of the image. Run it just before inverting the image to create the neg.

Save this script as a text file, rename it to PrintBorders.jsx, and save it in your Photoshop scripts folder. (In Windows, mine is at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5 (64 Bit)\Presets\Scripts). The script will be available the next time you open Photoshop (Select File/Scripts from the menu).

The Script:

/* This Photoshop script sets background color to white and then adds about a 3/16 inch white border to each edge of the image. */

// =======================================================
app.preferences.rulerUnits = Units.INCHES;
var newColor = new SolidColor;
newColor.rgb.red = 255;
newColor.rgb.green = 255;
newColor.rgb.blue = 255;
app.backgroundColor = newColor ;
var newColor = new SolidColor;
newColor.rgb.red = 0;
newColor.rgb.green = 0;
newColor.rgb.blue = 0;
app.foregroundColor = newColor ;

app.activeDocument.resizeCanvas( app.activeDocument.width, app.activeDocument.height + .175, AnchorPosition.BOTTOMCENTER)

app.activeDocument.resizeCanvas( app.activeDocument.width + .35, app.activeDocument.height, AnchorPosition.TOPCENTER)

app.activeDocument.resizeCanvas( app.activeDocument.width, app.activeDocument.height + .175, AnchorPosition.TOPCENTER)

// =======================================================