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My experiments in color

Discussion in 'Color the World!' started by Robbyrockett2, Feb 13, 2018.


  1. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    So I've started to do some experiments with color, the end goals are
    1. Give myself a better understanding of mixing as it applies specifically to paint and especially to wicked color
    2. Create a basic mixing wheel with formulas that anyone can use to get in the neighborhood of the color they want quickly and without wasting a bunch of paint

    This will be long and boring, or fascinating maybe but either way it will get a little complex.
    The end result will be very simple, so this thread is more to show the process of how im getting there and share what I learn along the way.

    These very first bits are crude and rather inaccurate, but they are there to demonstrate certain points to show why I go forward in the way that I do.
    I will get more accurate as I go.

    Initially @huskystafford was going to try and create some reference card book type thing for himself.
    I had an idea of the way I would organize it, which turns out to be wrong (It would work, just wouldnt be the best)

    There are two main reasons I believe people have a hard time mixing paint especially for airbrushing.
    1. Your usually creating such a small amount of a mix that minor adjustments are extremely critical
    2. Most color theory is based on hypothetical perfect paints and generally skips the effect of value.
    So that looking at a wheel would lead one to believe you could mix equal parts of say yellow and blue to get green, It doesnt work out that way. Most of us realize quickly that the colors vary greatly in strength.

    Reason two is why my original Idea of organizing a "mixing wheel" would not work out great.
    Here is a fairly typical wheel.
    color-wheel.jpg
    If I were to organize a mixing wheel by equal volumes blues would dominate everything on either side of blue, red would dominate over yellow and youd end up with a tiny amount of yellows and the center of the the wheel would off to the right towards the edge on this particualr wheel.


    Most wheels you see will be flat like this but yet evenly distributed somehow, this is not reality.
    Each of the "pure" colors reside at different values and a color wheel actually looks more like this;
    8689156_orig.jpg

    The lower values are closer to where black resides on the greyscale, the lower they are, the stronger they are in a mix. So to mix equal volumes of yellow and blue and get green, they must be the same value.
    Scanned Image 1.jpg grayscale value adjust.jpg
    In the first picture at the top are the colors straight from the bottle. As you move down blue and red have had white added to take them closer to the value of yellow. I did not take them all the way even but I did adjust them enough to illustrate the concept.
    The little dots are the result of mixing yellow and blue or yellow and red at 1:1 ratios.
    You can see that yellow is nearly completely drowned out at the original values but even though they arent equal yet, at the bottom you see you get much closer to green or orange at 1:1 ratios.
    The picture on the right is the colors converted to greyscale to show the values.

    So the darker or lower the value, the more dominant the color will be.
    To make a flat and evenly distributed wheel you would need all the values the same and you would be looking at yellow and some very pale blue and pink.
    Or
    You can adjust for this by using less of the stronger colors.

    To be continued.....
  2. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Herin lies the next problem. If we are mixing very small amounts of paint and say we want to limit our mixture to 10 or 20 total parts (be those drops or ml or whatever) then we rarely if ever can move in straight lines inward on the color wheel.
    For example I start with blue and want to "darken" it so i need to add orange(red and yellow). I have a ten drop mixture total. So i use lets just say
    3 yellow,1 red and 6 blue.
    Well with a limited number of colors because we are using small volumes I end up zig zagging toward the center of the wheel, crossing from Blue-green to blu-violet back and forth as my color gets darker. Then I need to adjust again by adding either some more red or more yellow at the end in order to actually have something in the hue of blue.
    whathappens.png
    As in that red line

    Those blobs from left to right are a premix of the colors on the left (looks black more or less), and then with white added moving right.
    Call it Primary grey, complimentary gray, near black, chromatic gray, Umber, Sepia, yellow I don't care what you call it. Its a balanced mix of three primaries. Balanced optically, not by volume.

    It resides right in the center of the color wheel.

    To be continued......
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  3. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    61410-20070323_sidebar_fg1.gif d1.jpg MUTED-AND-CHROMATIC-GRAYS-WHEEL.png

    Ill be adding some lines and things to these images to demonstrate the movements you make on the wheel when mixing.
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  4. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    path4142.png

    If you add yellow and red, you move in a straight line (in a perfect world) represented by the green line here.
    If you are right dead center of orange, you can add blue to move inward on the wheel, represented by the red line.
    If you are at a orangey yellow and want to move inward you need to add a purple-blue, represented by the blue line.
    So, One option, If you want to move toward the center of the wheel from anywhere on the wheel is to add the color mix that resides at the center of the wheel.
    Allright, tomorrow I'll add more experiments with actual paint.....
    I promise this is all leading to simple and useful tool.

    And as a side note, these wheels that have gray all the way around the center would only be accurate for transparent paint.
    With opaques we get the special beast known as browns, which you can think of as dark orange, or desaturated oranges, thats where they reside on the color wheel. Pretty much anywhere inward from orange and in between red and yellow.

    We will see all this as I start to actually make a wheel from wicked paint.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  5. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    In the above post Notice the slight arch of orange thats cut off by the green line, These are colors you cant make without real orange.


    One of the first things I'll try here is to see If I can find a predictable amount of white/ black that can be added for each step up or down in value and to try and find a constant that corresponds to the differences in chroma for each of the colors.
    For instance how much white do I need to add to blue to bring it to the same level as red, how much for yellow.
    Then at the same level can I predict the effect of for instance the fact that reds chroma is 8 steps out where greens is only 6.

    Also I need to figure out why in munsells model blue-green is reds opposite instead of green and some other examples of slightly different compliments than what we are used to and which tends to be more accurate in actual application to this particular paint line.

    For right now its all about mapping the mechanics of it in this specific application.
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  6. huskystafford

    huskystafford Needle chucking Ninja

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    Great thread!
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  7. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Very Likeable!

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    That’s one of the clearer explanations of how I colour wheel works that I’ve come across. Being a Wicked user, I’m into anything that can help me get a grasp on mixing. Great start to this Mate.
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  8. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    My brain hurts !
    Thanks for taking the time to do this and share what you’ve learnt.
    I’m sure a lot of people will be bookmarking this thread for future reference.
    I’ll come back and read it when my brain is in a more receptive mood
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  9. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    It will eventually get to a point ( I think)
    For now Its a lot of side info that may or may not be useful to anyone not trying to model a real wheel but I find it fascinating.
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  10. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Some playing with values;


    Ok, First thing I learned as I started mixing compliments and then checking values on greyscale is this. Myself and @musicmacd sort of kind of disagreed on this before but as it turns out we were both right.
    Macd had said that adding a compliment does not darken, but desaturates a color. ( Sorry Macd If I mis-quoted you but I thought you would find this part interesting) I did some experiments before and found that was totally true....with transparent paint. Its a different animal, its values are largely controlled by how heavy you lay it on. Plus some technical stuff happens with reflection and refraction that I wont get into.

    With opaques and a slightly lesser degree with semi opaques they have a fixed value so adding the compliment both desaturates the color and lowers its value (darkens) , even beyond the value of the darker of the two compliments. You can check this yourself by mixing compliments and then converting an image of them to greyscale.
    This means that a real color wheel would also take on the shape of a funnel. Values go down as you near the center.
    whathappensgreyscale.png
    You can see it in this image as well.

    So lets play with the wheel, Or cone shaped spiral staircase if your in the real world and you have opaques.
    path4142.png
    We move in basically straight lines toward any color we add right?
    So this means if I add violet to orange I should cross through red somewhere right?
    Well I thought maybe but;
    Nope not really. This has to do with values as well and what I am going to refer to as the black hole effect.
    Adding red-violet to orange will actually cross you through the red hue (especially if it contains magenta), But if you get too far apart you get too close to the center of the wheel, you no longer move in a straight line. You get sucked into the middle zone and spit out the other side.
    Violet lowers oranges value so quickly that it drops into browns before it ever gets pulled straight toward violet.
    Something like this;
    61410-20070323_sidebar_fg1.jpg

    Just to demonstrate;
    Orange brown.jpg
    The top row is orange on the right mixing with violet to the left
    You do sort of get a darkened red in that first step, but it wouldnt correlate to anything directly inward from red.
    I tried a million mixes and never got there. you get sort of dark orange-red, then plummit right into brown before you cross in the middle and start getting violets.
    I hypothesized that this was due to values so I adjusted violet closer to oranges value and tried again, well it doesnt look like anything youd get by crossing under red......Until you also adjust red close to an even value (the pink dot). Aha! Now you can see that I do cross through the hue of red as i get a desaturated version of pink.
    So it appears the value hypothesis was correct.
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  11. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

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    Hey bud you are correct, it will darken it because you are adding more colour to it. What I use the compliment for is de saturation of a colour.
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  12. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

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    And think of the colour wheel as a ball! To include values
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  13. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Browns Magic trick (one of a few)
    We all know that red,yellow, blue make brown....If youre heavy on the yellow and red
    So brown contains all the primaries, but so does any color that is not right on the outside of the wheel.
    All of those colors will do this to a degree but brown is obvious and sort of magical about it.
    Take brown and start mixing in white....Gray...WTH!
    brownmagic.jpg
    Ok take an even darker brown and put a little white in.....crap....its gray even faster. The way to lighten brown is with yellow and a some red or orange.
    Heres why;
    Munsell_1929_color_solid_cylindrical_coordinates.png
    Notice that the available chroma of each color gets less and less as it nears white or black in value so as you add white they start to equalize in effect,
    So that they come into balance, the center is balance and it is greyscale.
    This is why it happens more quickly with darker brown, darker brown is actually closer to the center.
    This realization I thought was kind of cool.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  14. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

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    And yes using transparents is a different animal and requires great control and restraint!
    Learning colour stuff I would use Opaques then the knowledge transfers to transparents
  15. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Well, i was not exactly correct.
    Using trans you have control of the values, so you can actually just desaturate.
    So I say you were correct :)

    Above is the ball
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  16. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Heres what you wont see though....that funnel thing. none of the colors go in a straight line in at a given value. The pure colors reside at only a given value but they all drop as you move in, its not a straight inward progression.
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  17. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Your input is definitely appreciated! Youve helped tremendously along the way with this, whether you knew that or not.
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  18. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    So Brown is a very special animal. Every time It gets involved it has some sort of exception to put into the mix.....The fact that it even exists as something diferentiated from just calling it dark orange is special.
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  19. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Thats all for today..... Plenty more to come
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  20. Robbyrockett2

    Robbyrockett2 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Oh yeah, I hadnt quite thought of it that way....Youre adding more colors, or absorbing more colors, so of course youre moving closer to black in value. Thank you
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