How to make negatives

I recently purchased an Anderson Vreeland platemaker,
my hurdle now is making negatives. I am thinking of buying the Epson Black Max, will this give me what I need? I print wedding invitations so lots of detail and small print. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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You can actually do a really good job of creating a blacker than black negative with a simple HP9800 and the right print settings. That is how I create my films for screen printing. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a printer if you don’t want to. You just can’t use refurbished ink cartridges. HP’s have an internal memory, and as of today, I have not found a way to reset it with the 9800. I bought mine a few years back for $199.00 I think, at office depot. You can even create half tones WITHOUT any fancy ripping software. You can use a simple freebie.

Hope this helps.


Screenprinters get away with a dpi of 300 and a lower density than what will be required for small details and fine Lines on your plates. We ended up running imagesetters and processing Film. You want a density better than 3.0 and you want Film with high resolution. I would look for a Company to make Film for you until if you ever get the proper skill set together to run a Wet Film setup and Imagesetters and rip.

I use Serichrome Seps in Dallas, TX for film output. They usually develop the film same day if in by 1 pm. They’ve been making my film for several years now. I email the eps file with type outlined and the “Subject” line is Film for Letterpress. Densities are perfect.

(214) 631-5400
[email protected]

1352 Crampton St.
Dallas Texas 75207

Inky Lips Letterpress

Not only does screenprinting use lower resolution than is needed for photopolymer letterpress plates, it also uses positive rather than negative film. You just won’t get adequate density for letterpress without an imagesetter, especially if you are using fine type, where 2400 dpi or greater is needed. You’ve got to need a lot of film to justify the purchase of an imagesetter. Getting film set at a service bureau is really the best and cheapest way, and I say that as someone who still makes and uses camera negatives.


If you have an A&V platemaker, you certainly would not want to then use self-produced toner based film. Sort of like putting on ten pound weight on one leg when running a marathon. Buy silver-based imagesetter film negatives. It’s a no brainer, especially if you are interested in fine detail and have to deal with small type.


Epitomic, what are the settings and film you are using in an HP printer? What software do you use to create your films?

Thanks, Robert

Thank you all for the replies, I think I will have to go with the imagesetter. I am having a difficult time finding a company to make my negatives here.


Maybe I should have started my post with “I certainly don’t know what the hell I am doing and I certainly don’t want to start a controversy, but people once told me I couldn’t print screen printing films with this printer either….lol”

I use the following settings:

Normal quality (you can actually print dang near rendered 1200x1200 DPI with this printer in black!)

paper type: other transparency (I use a film designed for ink jet printers and screen printers - they call it waterproof film - but it’s a bad name)

Advanced tab: printer features: ink volume: change to heavy

I had to experiment with the settings to achieve a total blackout of the film, and it works exceptionally well for me in the screen printing industry, half tones and all in CMYK.

The program used to rip halftones is called ghostscript. Handy little free program that does a good simple job of ripping halftones, when they say you can’t, to printers like the Hp9800.

I hope I haven’t overstepped my bounds, just wanted to try and shed some light where others have told me, NO, you can’t do that.

This is all new to me, so I am learning as someone who is greener than green. Please don’t take my advise on anything other than, is that beer? Yep!



Wow, I must be old….I still use a camera and film.