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making a transparent into an opaque

Discussion in 'Beginners Airbrush Questions!' started by Lt4-396, May 17, 2017.


  1. Lt4-396

    Lt4-396 Gravity Guru

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    Ive read alot out "buffering" but never could find a rough estimate of how much white is needed.
    Say you had a yellow or blue or whatver color where would you start with X amount of color to X amount of white.

    Also say you needed a darker blue (cobalt blue). So you take your white and add it to your blue to make it opaque, but now the blue is way to light in color. How would you go about darkening that color.
  2. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    In reality you need very little white to opaque a color but its a little common sense..the white isn't mixing as such it is just one pigment molecule beside another color pigment molecule, or slightly layered on top, interwoven molecules of different colored pigment..More white molecules the faster the "coverage" we want from opaques will occur, less white the more layers it will take but will still achieve the same opaqueness properties, just takes longer to get it there and can look over painted done that way purely due to the nature of the white pigment and the amounts and how it refracts or blocks light travelling through..An opaque pigment does not allow light to go through but refracts it..BUT..the amount of white you add has more to do with the color you actually need or want rather than its coverage ability...You want a pale blue? Mix more white in, a more vibrant opaque blue..less white but essentially both blues made say from the same source paint with various amounts of white will still both be opaque blues, just different pastel shades of that blue..If you want to then darken that you've added white to you add black or in the old days its complimentary or if you just want more vibrancy you add a trans base blue back in..Its all just a ratio between the amount of each color pigment molecule that creates what we see by how those pigments play with the light..
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  3. AndreZA

    AndreZA Elite Member! Elite Member!

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    I do not buffer colours as I hate using white. But apparently you only need a tiny amount of white. I've even tried using opaque medium and that also did not work for me.
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  4. musicmacd

    musicmacd Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    For skin tones I use mostly white! For an opaque Red maybe 2 drops as it loses saturation quickly, that's where Infind Umbers and Sienna's are useful for hyping up the saturation lost from the white! The white also makes the paint more buttery to look at too :)
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  5. Ronald art

    Ronald art Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    like Rebel and Musicmacd said the trick is white paint , I know how to make a "buffered" paint but I never use it in fact I dont like it at all as a portrait with only opaque colors look real flat and dull to me
  6. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    I don't buffer as to me it looks chalky which I don't like, but on the rare occasion I do, I use the smallest amount of white possible so that you don't go too pastel (unless that's what you need) then maybe add the teeniest amount of black or purple (going to take some experimenting) to deepen the colour.
  7. Lt4-396

    Lt4-396 Gravity Guru

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    I thought you werent supposed to mix white an black together, i read it makes the color muddy.

    This is what I am trying to paint.
    I have the illustration pink,reds, and purples but don't feel comfortable doing it in transparent since you can't really hide a mistake and if you put to much paint down in an area there's no covering it up.

    Attached Files:

  8. Ronald art

    Ronald art Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    the down side and the reason I never work with opaque colors is you need to put on many layers to reach max saturation as in the final color you want , the painting you want to do is not that hard to do with transparent colors even a transparent cant get any darker then the pigment in it
  9. Lt4-396

    Lt4-396 Gravity Guru

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    How would you all go about this painting? Would you mask all the little pieces on the top and botton pieces or just go freehand? Work light to dark or dark to light?
    Im going to be using clayboard so i can erase for some of the highlights.
  10. Ronald art

    Ronald art Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    I would go from dark to light , I would only mask the overall shape to save me some clean up work afterwards and erase textures and high lights
  11. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    This is where the testing comes in. You really need to play around with mixing colours, go too far and it can all turn a sludgy browny mud. So you need to use very small amounts. I'm no colour expert, there is a fair bit of colour theory on the forum, and much of it goes over my head, but I don't have muddy paintings.:) Just work on the theory that you can add more, but you cant take away, and use tiny amounts.

    The other option if you need to use opaque for solid coverage, is to come in over the top with trans to darken up, and build the colour on the surface.
  12. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    You might (or I am :p) be confusing afew things/terms here.

    Buffering (adding white to a color) is done to prevent one from going too dark with that specific (opaque) color. So buffering isn't adding white to make the color opaque (side effect when adding it to a transparant), its adding white to get the exact shade of color you want.

    This means thare are no rough estimates possible of the amount of white needed as it just depends on at what point you want to "buffer" the color from going any darker

    As stated above if you need a darker color there is no need to add the white. If you want the paint to be opaque just use an opaque as that's what they are for (no reason to start making a transparant into an opaque by adding white when it results in too light a color as that is basicly the oposite of what you want to achieve with buffering).

    Both opaques and transparants have their uses, use them what they were meant for in this case
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  13. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Traditionalists hate black but in many cases its the best way to "tint" a shade..In the Airbrush world its much more common than in the art world but can go bad LOL often thats simply due to the fact more in the airbrush wold paint from photo's, photo's unfortuantly though will add more say a black than whats truely there in nature which will be an assortment of darker shade color, adding black can make something though appear more photorealistic....really depends on the artwork, type of paints your using etc..Now to the term "buffering"..Its simply a made up term that means nothing LOL..Your simply making an opaque color if adding white to a transparent..i'll explain what I mean..You have trans and opaque colors yer..Lets say a Cobalt Blue Opaque and a Cobalt Blue Trans..In many brands and cases all they have done for you is added white..The color is still cobalt blue as after a little white is added, add more trans base to adjust its hue back to a darker more "Cobalt Blue" Shade or its complimentary to redarken that pastel..It will be opaque or "buffered" unlike the original Trans..You see there are organic and synthesised pigment, some pigment is naturally opaque, some are naturally transparent..Unless synthesised in a lab to make say an organic compound appear transparent when in nature its actually not is much, much harder than the company just adding white to what they use for both their opaque and trans range..So in essence if you buy a opaque paint, there is no true guarantee its not just a trans mixed with white already for you...Which of course you can do yourself..All I've ever bought in paint is trans paints primary set, a white and a black and then any color is possibly made besides metallics, neons and the like..But for me the word "buffer" is essentially the same word as opaque...A few mention how opaques can look chalky..thats generally why most will finish of with pure trans colors and adjust the tone of their base layer opaques that way and as I would with your needed work above, light to dark and then use a trans red to adjust the pinks below..

    PS Some colors dont exist in the trans world....and have to be opaque...Color theory though isnt Trans Vs Opaque, its using both to best represent the color you see in front of you, in the world, some may be see through or trans, most though are naturally opaque...
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  14. Lt4-396

    Lt4-396 Gravity Guru

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    Wow a lot of good info here, I guess I will practice with different colors to see what works best and maybe I will leave out the detail to have more time spent with the colors.
    I currently only have textile create in opaque and the rest of my paint is CI trans.

    You said adding trans base to a color will change its hue? How does that work if trans base is clear?
  15. Lt4-396

    Lt4-396 Gravity Guru

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    Is CI white really a Trans white? I thought there is no Trans white or black?
    CI does sell opaque colors including a white and black.
    To "cap" "buffer" whatever it's called should I use the opaque white or is normal CI white OK to use.
  16. Ronald art

    Ronald art Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    black and white are opaque colors no matter what , the amount of pigment in the paint can be reduced so it will take more layers to reach max saturation but that doesnt make it transparent colors
  17. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    Trans base is the paint carrier, minus pigment. Using it disperses the amount of pigment by volume, making the colour less intense.
  18. Lt4-396

    Lt4-396 Gravity Guru

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    In many brands and cases all they have done for you is added white..The color is still cobalt blue as after a little white is added, add more trans base to adjust its hue back to a darker more "Cobalt Blue"

    How would adding Trans base to a color adjust it's hue if it's nothing more than pigment less paint?
  19. AndreZA

    AndreZA Elite Member! Elite Member!

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    It only affects the hue if you spray it on white. A light coat will be a light blue and the more coats you do the darker it gets until it is 100% saturated.
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  20. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    It does't LOL..The use of clear molecules amongst colored pigment doesn't change the hue but it kinda does..It changes the saturation which s another way to essentially change the color, but in effect your not changing the color, just painting less of it...This does obviously affect the hue of the paint as you have to remember how often on a canvas your essentially adding white...All the time, your canvas in most cases will be white so essentially in a way your utilizing that also to potentially affect hue of a pigment unless the paint is opaque and 100% saturated across the surface, color is also affected by simply the color thats beside it..EG a white will look whiter next to a black than it may a blue, even though both may be fully opaque and the same white..EG paint on black and note the difference to what it does to your colors by simply being able to see a darker color next to it..It can completely trick our minds that its not quite the color it shld be and prob is the color it should be its just how our eye can read that info, no difference as in seeing the piece in darker conditions or a well lit room..The piece will appear different in each case due to the way its reacting to surrounding light sources although the color in reality isn't changing at all..Color Theory is fun :)
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