They usually do look better in the flesh, sharper and with a better visual contrast.
In 1975, which was nearing the end where we did glass plates at work, I had a go at coating plates myself. This is a similar process, but different process to what you do.
I was struck with the ease of cleaning and getting preparation of the glass, but the coating of the emulsion as you direct the flow across the glass and ensuring you don't waste too much, was something that was where the art is. Eventually I got it right. The fact that I was coating plates all day helped in the learning process. I wasn't supposed to do it, but things happened and I got a chance to do it.
Once the plate was used, we then scrubbed the plate clean and started all over again. Scrubbing was messy, but with machinery, easy. Think of a big Dremel type affair with a 200mm floor scrubbing type brush with water running through the bristles. Cleaned the plates in a minute or so.