So what's the big deal with a gray screen anyway? Well they help boost contrast for projectors with low contrast ratios, they make blacks appear black' or blacker, and they fair better in ambient light than white does.
Just because it's gray though doesn't mean it's an ambient light screen and all your worries are gone. And not just any gray will do, too dark and a projected image can look dull and muddy, too light and the advantages with ambient light are reduced or negated. The advance DIY mixes and commercial gray screen paints
literally have years of development and tweaking with the components. Many of them also employ a poly to the mix to add gain and depth to the image.
People are always looking for a simple gray though. The same reasons apply maybe they don't have a lot of money right now to spend on advanced formulas, or maybe they haven't decided which way they want to go, but they do know they like some lights on from time to time and they want a gray.
Same disclaimer as beforethere are already several off the shelf grays being used. This thread isn't to cover topics that have already been discussed or have ample information already.
The main drive and goal with grays has always been to find one as neutral as possible. In fact a lot of the advanced mixes have this as one of their primary goals. Why neutral? That way the painted screen will not have a color shift one way or another.
A little background
Alfred Munsell was a color theorist who published a book called "A Grammar of Color" back in the 1920's. Munsell's system was based on color as it relates to light; this was different because it dealt with how we perceive colors and not how they are physically made with paints. This topic has also been discussed in the RGB thread
, but we are not going to go too far into it here. If anyone is interested, here is a link to a nice article on the Munsell system
So what Munsell came up with was a system that has been used for over 80 years now. The grays in the Munsell system are neutral grays, so I decided that was the place to start.
What is so special about Munsell Gray? Well to start, Munsell isn't paint, it's a color system. Below is the Munsell gray scale.
Since there are already grays being used, and mixes trying to develop a true neutral gray, I decided to look for off the shelf grays that also had data as to how neutral they really are. That turned out to be no small task, but I did find a company called RP Imaging
that sells a neutral gray paint Munsell N8/ gray as specified by ISO 3664:2000.
I believe the reason why there hasn't been much written on this in here is because at $68 a gallon plus $12 shipping that is more than most people want to spend. Plus most of the people working on mixes and one can solutions strive to find something that is easy for the average person to find.
Well here is a neutral gray. It may be a little dark, but not much darker than SS or some of the other mixes I've seen.
Everything always seems to be one off... so close but not quite what we're looking for. If only RP Imaging made a gray in Munsell N9... this is a very nice looking color and shade.
I really think something can be done with N8. It may look a little expensive by the gallon ($68 plus $12 shipping) but that breaks down to $20 a quart. Is that really that bad? I know people on here have spent way more than that in paints trying to create a neutral gray. We may have one though that everyone seems to be ignoring!
Like I said before, if N8 really is 202 202 202 then perhaps we should stop trying to invent a neutral gray and work with the one that exists. From there a top coat could be developed that adds gain, maybe some texture or retro-reflection as well as angular reflection properties... this could be very interesting to work with.