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Digital darkroom - setup advice

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  #1  
Old 05-04-2011, 06:23 PM
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Digital darkroom - setup advice

Hope this is the correct forum section but as it is workflow related it seems to fit.

For a long time now I have been working in less than ideal conditions with a space in the bottom corner of our downstairs family room.

Like many here I imagine that we all have accumulated lots of Computer related paraphernalia, printers, books etc etc. And I must admit that I am not always the world’s tidiest worker and occasionally/often need to have a good tidy up, particularly if I want to keep in my wife’s good books!

She is and has been very understanding and accommodating to my needs but I think I finally have overstepped the mark by suggesting that I am going to add another monitor to my setup to give me twin 20”!! The printable answer from her to my suggestion was along the lines of ‘no way Jose’

So for now we seem to have reached a potential resolution and SWMBO has given her blessing for me to turn our smallest guest bedroom into a digital darkroom. Although I must keep it tidy and also keep the bed available for guests - or even me in times of trouble
I was also quite surprised when she agreed that I could even paint the walls grey – seems that grey is currently seen as a trendy colour

Currently I need to accommodate computer with dual monitors, A3 and A4 printer, A4 scanner, light box, viewing light, computer accessories, growing library of reference books. All this to be housed in a rather small place in a room that needs to still have a bed and some semblance of something other than a workroom - in other words hidden or disguised as much as possible.

I would appreciate any views (and images if possible) of your ideal digital darkroom (or should that be lightroom?) or how you would design one.
I am looking for design tips, sources of info, things I should be doing, things I shouldn’t etc. etc.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:12 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

IMO Less is more Tony. After 20 years I've honed it down to 2 G5's and fast BB. I don't even use my Epsons these days. Light box, scanner, daylight lamps etc all down to the skip! I've got a Barco 28" calibrator monitor heading the same way as soon as I find someone to help me lift it! A black out curtain is a must and a digi camera for reference pix. Good to go!
R.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:19 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

Wow, R you have really gone Zen like in your clearing away the clutter and I do like the philosophy 'Less is More'

For me though, I still feel I need my gadgets . For instance my printers I do use. In fact imho I can produce better quality prints than those labs I have tried in the past and of course on demand. So Light box, scanner, daylight lamps etc I need to keep and have reasonably handy for use.

So perhaps I should have clarified what I mainly intend to do which is quite a lot of image manipulation from DSLR captures, old photo restoration, B&W and Colour printing up to A3, CAD design etc etc.

What I think I am looking for is design inspiration ideas for equipment placement with a logical workflow in mind. This needs to be tempered with the need to keep the area looking tidy and not like a workroom when not in use - perhaps some form of cupboard covering to hide items?

I am going to be working in quite a small area of an already small room.

Of course I do appreciate the ideal scenario is to have a dedicated room, however this is just not possible for me at the moment so I will just have to accept some compromises along the way.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:11 PM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

Depends if you got the budget or the time or either but you can try to "hide" it all with rolling furniture or for example this : http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/40196241
I used to have both of them one for a printer and one for the scanner that were going back under the desk after use (got to be tidy). I think you can also use a curtain, mounted on wires that runs along the wall to hide the workspace...Keep the width of the desk narrow so you won't take too much space, the desk can be a long one, placed and screwed along the narrowest wall with 3 or 4 legs (a bit like a kitchen worktop)... I'll try to make a sketch...I been dreaming about that too long
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:54 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

Thanks 4personnen. The idea of keeping the workbench narrow will be necessary and the rolling storage is a great idea for the printer as it has to be moved away from wall when printing A3. Before the move I am intending to make a scale drawing and would be interested to see your sketch.
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:27 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

I made a quick sketch on Illustrator, with my "dream set up" with some of your requirements. Keep in mind that even if I tried to keep everything in scale, it might be not very accurate as I'm not a technical drawing person. As well, my DIY english terms may not be exact, just ask if something is obscure...


All the things explained can be found in your local swedish furniture shop (or from any other country, of course)
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File Type: jpg sketch.jpg (69.4 KB, 37 views)
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:58 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

Hi 4personnen
Really liked your drawing and the ideas you incorporated. Your English DIY terms are quite correct and everything was very clear and understandable. Nice touch with the Wacom - and yes I am worth it

I used to use a lightbox buried in a benchtop with a cover for when not in use. I am also thinking that the scanner would sit in a rolling draw unit under the bench. Inspired idea of bookshelf serving double duty as leg end.

I had thought about a length of nice looking bullnose kitchen worktop - probably reduced to a minimum width.

Unfortunately since having the idea and started to measure I do not quite have the space I imagined - I knew it would be tight but did not realise just how tight

The room is quite tiny and L shaped being approx 3.2m x 2.3m maximum with a corner cut out of approx 1.4m x 0.80m. This would not be too bad except for the fact of having to accomodate a single bed as well.

Anyway I am just starting to do a CAD layout and just maybe I will be able to find an acceptable solution.

Many thanks for going to the trouble of making the drawing I suspect now that you may even start your dream setup?
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:07 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

My dream set up is there in my mind since I saw Bert Monroy's shed in one of his books some years ago...It has never been possible to build something acceptable since... But I'm working on it.

Even though I'm a woman, I'm quite a DIY person and I always tend to look for the Make-do-mend type of office furniture than buying ready made stuff usually made for lazy-pretend-to-be-overwhelmed-by-work deputy managers... (coffee machine nearby....) unusable for real work...

Mine would be a L-shape with separate areas for analog drawing (with Lightbox, scanner, art supplies) and the computer area. And wider as well as I don't like these collapsible keyboard tablets, they are too low for me and my elbows are sore.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:41 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

Solution Tony; put the books in the loft, ditch one printer and one monitor. How often do you use a flatbed scanner? To make a living all you need is a pooter, a wacom, decent BB and MailBigFile. A nice desk from ikea and a decent blind will set the tone. Try it - you can always go back! Ditching stuff is liberating and you'll score some brownies with SWMBO!
R.
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Old 05-07-2011, 04:21 AM
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Re: Digital darkroom - setup advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Repairman View Post
Solution Tony; put the books in the loft, ditch one printer and one monitor. How often do you use a flatbed scanner? To make a living all you need is a pooter, a wacom, decent BB and MailBigFile. A nice desk from ikea and a decent blind will set the tone. Try it - you can always go back! Ditching stuff is liberating and you'll score some brownies with SWMBO!
R.

Now, that's obscure!
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