How do those color paint mixing machines work?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Dave Poehlman, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    You know, the one in the back of Home Depot that you take a paint sample to and they enter it into a computer and it squirts out the color you want.

    Let's say, for example I found a color scheme I like, but it's on my computer. Can I just take the hexidecimal color values into my favorite paint shop and they'll enter 'em in to their software and >squirt< ? Or, do they have their own numbering system to set color values?

    Just curious if anyone knows.
     
  2. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Okay, here is the theory.

    You take your color-chip in (assuming it's not on a pre-made paint-card from, say, Behr,) and they take it into the back room.

    In the back room, they plug it into a little machine that has a calibrated sensor, and a calibrated light source. The machine knows the pigments it has to work with. It churns and bubbles for a few moments, and then spits out a 'color recipe' for its pigment suite.

    They plug that into their machine, and it squirts out calibrated amounts of pigment paint into the paint-base, and then they shake it for you.

    Now, there's a lot of room for error here.
    1. Calibrated light source
    2. Calibrated sensor
    3. pigments
    4. measuring machine
    5. the tint-base.

    Okay, now, moving along to your case:

    What you see on a screen has nothing to do with reality. There is a fundamental disconnect between anything on a back-lit display and anything that is 'reflected light.' The color-space represented by anything you can make on your monitor does not exist in the real world.

    Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, but there really isn't a real conversion between your (uncalibrated) monitor and anything else out there. Even if your monitor was calibrated, it'd still not match reality.

    The best bet is if your color-picker will identify a Pan-tone color. Then find a Pan-tone book and see if the spec'ed color has anything to do with the book. If it's close, you should be able to find the color you want on that page. Then, you may be able to take the page, or perhaps even the Pan-tone color code to the paint store.

    Good luck, however; color match is one of the most devilish things to get involved with.

    Leo Kerr
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Thanks, Leo.



    Oh, I know... [​IMG] I'm aware of the margin of error with matching. That's why I was wondering if I could just circumvent the matching and deal directly with the color codes themselves. But, it doesn't sound like it'll translate according ro your description.

    The reason is, I have a color scheme of 3 colors I think look nice together. In fact, they were selected using a color scheme generator that supposedly uses the "golden mean" as the ratio between wavelengths. I don't know if that's true or not, and not that light wavelengths are something important to me... I just liked the colors and was curious how accurately I could have them reproduced.

    FYI: Here's the colors I'm talking about:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. joseph westcott

    joseph westcott Second Unit

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    The machines are extremely accurate until you get into shades of whitebeige.

    Otherwise, I would not hesitate to give them a color printout to go by if you are happy with your output to the printer.

    Otherwise, just give them a paint chip card that you like with a name or number from any mfg and they can match it up for you.
     
  5. David Noll

    David Noll Stunt Coordinator

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    You probably wanted to avoid this:

    If you like what is on your computer, go to the paint store and get a color sample pack. It's about a 3" thick stack of hundreds of colors. Take home to your computer screen and find the ones that are close. You should be able to find something very close to what you want. Take the names or formulas from the pack to the store to get mixed.

    David
     
  6. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Yeah, Dave probably has the right of it; that's the best way to account for differences in monitors, et cetera.
     

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