Today the most logical and practical approach to making graduated masks for traditional printing is through using the computer. A classicist in my own work, I like to work in black and white with view cameras. I tray-develop my film and make gelatin silver prints, but I don’t consider myself a “purist.” I enthusiastically embrace the creative potential afforded by the growth of digital technology as tools I have available to further my aesthetic. I currently have no personal interest in using the computer to create new visions, but I use it as a tool to enable me to make better prints of images I already have on film. The graduated-burn masks made with the computer can be used in conjunction with all the basic selective masking techniques. In many cases, the computer may afford a more efficient means of achieving the effects of penciling or cutting holes in mask material.
The Layers feature, among others, in Adobe Photoshop or Elements is what makes these programs so perfect for Selective Masking. A color inkjet or laser printer capable of printing on transparency film is also necessary. As with working with most darkroom printing techniques, the process is one of trial and refinement. All the equipment mentioned below should be placed in close proximity to your darkroom to facilitate making adjustments to masks without undue running around.