Do certain colorants cause more shifts in different lights?

saydeOctober 20, 2010

Going crazy looking for a color to work with the floor -- chocolate and cream checkerboard tile. Want to "match" the cream tiles -- but they themselves shift in the light from cool ivory to much warmer/creamier. They have little almost invisible flecks of grey, pink, yellow that probably contribute to the color shift. The light comes from an east window. The lighting is GE Perfect Color low voltage halogen. I have been sampling light tans/creams. BM Lighthouse Landing looks neutral with lights on but orangey in daylight. Everything I try shifts from either too grey/cool to too rosy/orange. Barbados Sand comes closest so far but just isn't as pretty a color as some others. Would love some suggestions for neutral to warm cream/tan that tends not to shift or advice on which colorants seem to drive greater color shifts. Planning on Aura but welcome opinions.

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Yes. And some paints that look the same on a chip will shift more than others from a different manufacturer. There is more than one way to get a pale cream, and more than one colorant to think of.

The easiest way is to use your lighting, your eyes, and your room:

Go get a bazillion BIG paint chips from different manufacturers in the general shades you are thinking of and lay them on the floor tile ... remove the ones that clearly look "wrong", but leave the ones that are "pretty close".

Leave them there a few days, and check them at various times as the light changes. Remove any that have shifted into "wrong" at any time of day.

When you have narrowed it down to a few stable or at least tolerable colors ... sample them, and do NOT change manufacturers. If you like a Behr color, get Behr, because matching it with a paint that uses other colorants might not work.

If nothing is really good, pick the one that is best during the hours you are most likely to be using that room.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 9:54AM
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lazygardens, thanks for your response.

I have a SW sample here ("Creme") that seems to be emerging from the pack. Are you saying that I cannot hope to get a good match to this in BM Aura? I am not dead set against using SW Duration but seem to have read here and elsewhere that man/most prefer the BM.

If I were to try to match, do you think that the My Perfect Color does a good job of matching or should I go to the local store? Or not try to match at all?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 5:27PM
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If you are interested in Aura paint, I believe the Affinity colors are the only "full-spectrum" colors. Aura is quite good (IMO) for any color, but it is very special in Affinity colors regarding light shifting and depth of color. Maybe you need an affinity color to do the job???

personally, I do not like to do color matching. It is too risky if you ever need more to get an exact match. I even use the same store whenever possible if I need more of the same. It is possible that brand-name colors *might* be okay in another brand if the brand formula is in the computer and they are not matching.

Also, I noticed that you said you put the samples on the floor. Samples on the wall will play much differently with light and thats what is going to count with matching the floor tiles.

Did you look at Aura "Frappe" (affinity). That is my kitchen cream cabinet color and I like it a lot. I think the color is pretty consistent. The sample looks beige, but it is really very light.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 5:58PM
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Although Aura has special pigments it is not full-spectrum. Donald Kaufman, Citron & Ellen Kennon are full-spectrum. I've used Ellen Kennon in my entire house & her colors are constantly shifting. Also less expensive than Aura.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum Paints

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:08AM
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What's really driving me crazy is that the color seems to shift so dramatically from the floor (very light) up to the ceiling (much darker and warmer). I've tried Lighthouse Landing (BM), Barbados Sand, Frappe, Barely Beige -- it is the same phenomenon with all of them. It seems more dramatic in daylight where the color also shifts from cool and light near the floor to warm and darker higher up. Really light ivories/whites do not shift but any color with slightly more intense chroma seems to shift significantly. My other main rooms are papered with a Nobilis paper in a pale-medium yellow gold color. The color shifts dramatically from sun to clouds to night, but not from floor to ceiling! What is going on here?????

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 11:54AM
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What's really driving me crazy is that the color seems to shift so dramatically from the floor (very light) up to the ceiling (much darker and warmer).

Yup. That's what color does. When you get a few you like, tape them in various places and see what happens.

I like the way colors change with the changing light.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 4:49PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

The idea of assembling a wad of randomly chosen paint chips from the stores boggles my mind. I've said many times before that I do not agree with that method.

Just because you, the consumer, doesn't have to pay for those paint chips, someone does. One round of refills for color selectors (chip racks) can cost a paint store on average $3,000 - $5,000 or maybe more. Thousands of dollars of collateral that people totally take for granted; parents use the color displays to keep junior busy while they shop, people remove chips and put them back "where ever", etc.. Stores would rather you just lay the chip down on the counter if you don't want it - don't put it back in the wrong place in the rack.

I guess I have to take solace that on the other side of this incredibly inefficient process, at the very least, all these unwanted, unused chips are being properly recycled.

Yes, it is true that the price of color collateral (paint chips, etc.) is built in to the price per gallon. But it's a moderate, reasonable, average margin. The margin isn't huge to support each person taking a "bazillion" paint chips.

And if you make an effort to properly educate yourself on even the basics of color, there is no need for a "bazillion" paint chips to begin with.

Not to take a "scolding" tone, it's just there's absolutely nothing about the suggested process that I agree with or think is a good plan. Strikes me as wasteful and a little lazy to be honest.

I agree, however, that you should never look at wall color on a horizontal plane. Walls are vertical and that's how you should evaluate the chips/sample boards.

Debbie is correct, Aura/Affinity colors are not full spectrum What makes Aura special is the actual paint, not the color palette.

If you want SW Creme via MyPerfectColor, you have a really, really good shot at getting the best match possible in a BenM base to a SW color. I know the quality standards for color matching from My Perfect Color and they are best-in-class. They ship paint/color and they fully "get it", they understand the need for precise calibration and standards. MPC is a good option.

As far as individual colorants and formulas - there isn't any one data point *within* a paint color that you can identify as more constant or not constant. It's all the factors wrapped up together that contribute to more constant or less constant.

A general rule of thumb - not set in stone rule - is the fewer colorants in the can, the less shifting will occur. Black in the formula also aids in capturing light beams and stopping them from reflecting back into the space. Some people equate that to more constant paint colors. Others label it as "dead" color.

The expectation that color should not shift or change is, arguably, the core issue. Perhaps it's not the color that needs adjusted as much as the expectation for how the color & light relationship is suppose to work.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 7:28PM
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Just want to say thank you to all who responded and especially funcolors who took the time to respond to my questions about matching in the post above. Consistent with what funcolors has said, it does seem that the colors that have a slightly more grey tendency are also the ones that manifest more of a shift in value from floor to ceiling. Frappe, which seems to have just a touch of gray shifts more than Subtle, for example.

Tans seems especially tricky and also seem to be a class of colors where all these discussions about full spectrum versus traditional really matter. For pure colors or very very light colors, there is not likely to be a lot of grey or black in the formula no matter what system they are mixed in. But for tans, greige, grey, whether you mix from color plus black, versus using complementary colors, is likely to make a noticeable difference. May-be that's what I'm experiencing since I am looking at these nuanced colors.

I think if I can get the chroma right (i.e works with the tile and also a pleasing color) I can "adjust" to the shifts in value.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 8:17AM
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Regardless how they are made or in what medium (dyes/fabric, inks/printing or colorants/paints), beiges tend to be somewhat inconstant and will indeed shift with the light regardless how many different colors were combined to make them. Your own observations about the BM colors that perhaps have 2 or 3 colorants is a testament to this. Once you narrow, sampling (painting a large piece of foam core) a few of the finalists is your best bet.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 9:01AM
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Just as an observation, there are some thing learned from fine art painting that seem to apply here as well. I paint portraits and am gaining experience in mixing flesh tones --i.e. "beiges." One of the things that surprised me is how cool or "blue" skin tones really are. Most people start out mixing too warm. One of the traditional methods is to start with no color which is really a cool grey monotone -- this used to be called dead color. This is to help keep the bias more cool and add the warmth over the top gradually. So many of the paint chips I saw that I originally liked turned out to be too rosy or gold -- too warm. Then I started looking at cooler ones, which still had warmth in them.

The other observation about number of colorants also applies in fine art painting. Students are told that you should use the fewest number of colors to mix the color you need -- two, and no more than three. You often learn color by doing the entire painting with white plus one warm and one cool color -- it is amazing the range that can be achieved.

I've now narrowed down some more and am looking at Benjamin Moore Opaline. It is similar to Najaho white. There is a grouping of BM whites-- marble, spanish white and niveous that are very interesting colors.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 8:21AM
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I think the whole "complex color" concept is as much a marketing point as anything else.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 1:48PM
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The best advice I ever was given, and it works, is to put some color chips (even if you need 4 strips to make a 3 x 3 square) and tape it to the wall in the darkest part of your room. Furniture, flooring, lighting all effect/reflect the color throughout day/night! Then look at it from a distance, not close-up. If you can narrow down your color and can get a sample jar, paint the color on foam core poster board (3 x 2 feet) and again put it up in the darkest portion of the room and watch it for several days. Remember that light coming through windows also change through the seasons!

Example: getting the right color for my dining room incorporated all that I stated above, but I also viewed the room from the living room where my eye looked at the oriental rug on the living room floor and followed into the dining room through the arch way. It was worth it in the long run to take all these steps to find just the right color!

Just thought I would pass along these tips.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 6:55AM
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treeskate, thanks for the tips. I think you are right -- I have always been told to squint and/or to look from further away -- helps you see the value of the color more truly.

I have been sitting in the dining room where I have my MAC, and looking at large test swatches on the far wall in the kitchen which is also the main wall opposite the window. From here I seem to be able to get a better feeling for how the color I'm testing will work in the room overall.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 9:18AM
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