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-   -   Grays- Simple one can paints, and one very neutral... (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/110-diy-screen-section/741080-grays-simple-one-can-paints-one-very-neutral.html)

wbassett 10-24-2006 09:18 PM

I basically started this topic in the Alternative Methods thread, but I think it got lost in that thread and people haven't seen it because the topic wasn't about grays...

To start, an opening statement: There are many threads for advanced mixes, and threads for the development of new advanced mixes. The intent of this thread is not to re-cover that ground nor is it intended to replace them. The advanced mixes incorporate components that add to the gain and depth of the mix, and a simple one can is not going to have those elements.

There is a niche for simple off the shelf methods. Some people come to AVS looking for a DIY screen and quickly become inundated with so many methods ranging from advanced mixes to single sheet applications, to BOC, exotic fabrics, and Acoustically Transparent materials. It stands to reason that most people just look and read, and the percentage of people that actually post or create threads is smaller than we tend to realize. I'm sure we lose some people because of the confusion and they end up going off and buying something commercial, which is a shame. Others are very interested, but still not sure which way to go.

This is where the simple solutions are invaluable. They can get a new member up and running with a decent screen for very little money while they research the different methods. Some people may never change their screen from a simple one can. However they may someday think about it when they change projectors, and if they feel they got good information here, they will come back and look at the more advanced methods. There is also an outstanding thread teaching rolling techniques and is a beginners guide to painting a screen. That is a must read for anyone uncomfortable with the idea of painting a screen.

I also want people to keep in mind that although some of the one can paints can make for a very nice screen, do not expect $10 worth of paint to perform like a $2000 screen, or even a $700 screen for that matter. They will provide a very nice screen that is better than a bed sheet or bare wall though, and in some cases much better.

Now with the disclaimers out of the way, and without further adieu...

wbassett 10-24-2006 09:20 PM

I know I said this thread is about grays, but white is important to some people too, and this will only be a small section of this thread.

Matte white is pretty much a benchmark... a matte surface with a gain of 1.0... You'll get a good picture, but also know it can be better.

People have used a lot of different whites, the most common one everyone will see in here is Behr Ultra Pure White, called UPW for short. UPW is a very nice white with a RGB break down of 253 244 253. To try and put that in a mental perspective, a StudioTek 130 breaks down to 250 241 249, so it's close to that shade of white. Is it as good as a ST130? Go back to what I said earlier about what to expect from a $10-12 can of paint... but it is a very excellent starter white screen.

UPW is used as a base for some advanced mixes too, so it's a nice starting point for some.

Rosco Off Broadway White, and Rosco White White
Rosco paints are a little blast from the past. I am unsure why it lost a following, perhaps because it's not as easy to find as UPW, but it can be ordered online, and Rosco also has a store locator. I was surprised to find a store 17 miles away that carried it. At this writing I personally do not have experience with using it, but be assured I will very soon.

There are people on here that have used it and claim it is a superior paint. We have some data on UPW, I would like to get some on the Rosco paints too.

Yes it is a primer, and me personally, I always prime first. (Unless you plan on an advanced paint mix application, if so follow their instructions)

When applied it has a smooth flat look that surprisingly does make for a very nice temporary screen! This could be a very good first step for someone unsure which way to go since you'll already have a primer coat down. If the advanced mix calls for a substrate or no primer, again follow their directions, but you certainly won't be out of the game. Keep in mind this is a primer and a flat paint, and as such flat paints do not like any kind of dirt, and are not very friendly to clean. The plus side is, you can always throw another coat on.

Unlike Rosco paints and UPW you can get Kilzit almost anywhere. I picked up a gallon of it at Walmart for around $13. Why a gallon? I am remodeling a 143 year old Victorian house and like I mentioned, I always prime first, so I know I will be using it for other things as well. A lot of people may even have some at home already.

So there are three very nice whites to get people up and running with a nice matte white screen.

wbassett 10-24-2006 09:21 PM

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.

Munsell N8

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.

Munsell N9

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.

wbassett 10-24-2006 09:22 PM

Munsell Paint Matches
I couldn't find anyone that sells the GTI Munsell N8 paint other than RP Imaging... however I did find out that GTI is located in Newburgh NY which is around an hour and a half away... I have military buddy that lives down there so sounds like a visit and field trip!

Here is how I am approaching this as far as neutral grays. A lot of time and money has been spent by people trying to develop a neutral gray. GTI may have something already, but it also may be more than what some want to pay, although I still feel it's not that much. I went through the database of all cataloged brands of paints and did comparisons to Munsell N8 and N9 and I found some matches that are very close... as close as we're going to get from a premix.

The following color matches have the Munsell color in the center and it is surrounded by the closest matches. To the left is a quick color summary of the Munsell color, then at the bottom is the closest matching color from that manufacturer along with a quick color summary of that color. If anyone wants to see more detailed spectrophotometer data on any of the colors let me know and I can post that.

This data is 'supposed' to be accurate and spectro values provided by the manufacturers, but I am not going to give them a 100% at this point. What this does give us are some very close matches that can be narrowed down, and like we did with the laminates then have the most interesting ones analyzed.

I have never heard of some of these paint companies so some potential matches can probably be weeded out due to unavailability for most people. If anyone on here is familiar with the companies please speak up with any information you have.

Here we go...

Munsell N8 will be first since we know RP Imaging sells a paint in this color and we now know who makes it.

Munsell N8/Dunn Edwards

Munsell N8/Martin Senour

Munsell N8/Sherwin Williams

Munsell N8/True Value

Next are some close matches to Munsell N9

Munsell N9/Brunning Paint

Munsell N9/Caparol

Munsell N9/Colortrend (Take a close look at this one... this needs some further data for certain)

Munsell N9/Dunn Edwards

Munsell N9/McCormick (Here is another one that deserves a closer look)

Munsell N9/Sherwin Williams

There are two other companies but one looks like it is automotive paint, and I couldn't find anything on the other... they are Sikkens, and Sico.

If anyone is familiar with any of these brands (some are obviously well known names) let us know and we can thin this list down and then try to get some color analysis to cross check the above values. If the data the manufacturers provided is accurate, then we have some very interesting colors to start testing.

<^..^>Smokey Joe 10-25-2006 12:19 AM

Nice bit of information.

As a comparison could you show the values for non-neutrals. Like the typical Lamb Black in white. Typically most retailers of paint use a standard base white for this and is also the source of many push issues some get.

Dulux use 620-04912 Vivid White for example, have no idea what this is like in RGB values.

Also another issue is that mixing isnt totally perfect everytime. Especially with small volumes. One droplet can cause adverse effects for us. We need a way of testing a pot before applications.

wbassett 10-25-2006 05:39 AM

I can show some swatch comparisons, but it won't be in the above format. The reason is the software doesn't do two input samples, it takes one spectro sample or manually inputted data and then searches the database (by manufacturer) for the closest matches)

A while back we had a thread going about screen color matching with a very interesting discussion about colors that was led up by Prof55. He provided a very nice color swatch of various commercial screens and paints that had been analysed. The chart gives a nice visual representation of what the colors look like and how they compare to each other and also has the RGB values.

I took the RGB values and plotted them on a graph. I like the graph in addition to the swatch chart because I can see the order from light to dark, plus when graphed you can see the color curve better. We always look for a neutral color, but it is interesting to see a lot of commercial screens are slightly green deficient. Prof gave a few possible explanations for that and I'll post them here when I find it again.

I think we have some interesting colors to play with. I plan on getting a gallon of Rosco and a gallon of the Munsell N8. I want to send some out for a spectro test so we can confirm if the GTI paint is as neutral as claimed.

wbassett 10-25-2006 09:13 AM

Originally Posted by <^..^>Smokey Joe View Post

Also another issue is that mixing isnt totally perfect everytime. Especially with small volumes. One droplet can cause adverse effects for us. We need a way of testing a pot before applications.

That is always going to be a problem.

This is where the commercial companies have an advantage over what we do here in DIY. They literally have millions to spend on R&D and QA and their tolerance levels are very tight.

I tend to think that if we identify a color for both N8 and N9, say for instance say Gray Screen at 199 203 203 for N8, and it tests at that value, there probably would/could be a slight variance between cans... but I would say a point in either direction isn't going to make a blaring change. Even what you guys are doing over in the RGB thread is going to be subject to this to an extent, so unless the person mixing it totally screws up the mix I would think it should be fine for a simple one can solution.

Now the GTI Munsell N8 paint I would expect to be dead on for every batch, but I wouldn't call that a simple one can because it's not available locally and it costs too much for what the average person is looking for.

wbassett 10-25-2006 03:50 PM

Yeah I'll pull up N6 and N7 when I finish with work.

(Incase anyone is confused as to this post, it was a reply to a post that was deleted for unknown reasons.)

wbassett 10-25-2006 04:21 PM

I really couldn't find a match for N6 or N7

Munsell N6

Munsell N6/Sherwin Williams

Munsell N7

Munsell N7/Sherwin Williams

I'll look at the rest of the paint manufacturers and see if there is anything that is a closer match than what Sherwin Williams has.

wbassett 10-25-2006 05:26 PM

look at how popular the Grayhawk and Firehawk are and they are pretty dark in my opinion.

I don't like any of the Sherwin Williams colors as compared to N6 and N7, I'll look at the other paint manufacturers listed and see if there is a better match. I am very interested in checking out the matte finish Sherwin Williams has. Of course that really doesn't matter much for those that may try some type of top coating on one of these.

wbassett 10-25-2006 05:43 PM

Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

Thanks for the NR & N7.

I see many people say that a particular shade is too dark but that's their opinion. For example a lot of prople think Silverscreen is too dark but recently I have been quite surprised how good some of my experiments look and they are a lot darker than Silverscreen. Mind you my experiments include high quantities of mica so on axis they can produce white images quite well. I have noticed that as you move off axis the color of the base paint becomes more dominant. Anyway it is my intension when I offer up neutral gray versions of the Pearl mix that I will start with a shade or two darker than I would want and offer at least 3 shades between that and white.

Anyway that's why I asked for the darker shades.

I actually thought SS was a rather pleasing color and wouldn't mind painting a room with it, but I didn't like it for a screen, not because it was too dark, but because for my projector and tastes I couldn't adjust the colors in. I am starting to come up with a theory on why it works for some and not others... I have a business projector, it does the job and is super bright, but I am starting to wonder if being a business projector it's made with florescent lighting in mind... that's just a swag on my part though (Silly Wild Ass Guess) but I think I'll call Sharp none-the-less and just ask them.

And I know I said it earlier, but this thread wasn't to compete with any advanced mix out there, I was looking around and thought I found some very nice looking, and very neutral grays for a one can screen. Of course some of these might make a nice base coat for some future mix, who knows... personally... the only one I would really consider for an advanced mix would be the GTI N8 because that is supposed to be guarenteed neutral and should be consistant from can to can. I only say that because house paints are not considered the best quality paint, and what you guys are doing with the advanced mixes has gone beyond using low end components. At $68 a gallon and with claims of matching ISO specs GTI doesn't seem low quality to me... Tiddler want a quart when I get my gallon of it?

wbassett 11-02-2006 05:03 PM

The past couple days some of the advances mixes got a renewed interest, I thought I'd bring this one back around to page one so it would be easier for people to find.

There are some good looking grays here. One I want to test as soon as I can is Sherwin William's Gray Screen. It's pretty close to Munsell N8 in color and is only slightly red deficient at 199 203 203.

For anyone that wants to test or try this one, get it in the matte finish. That finish is more durable than flat and as I said earlier it is between an eggshell and flatt finish so it's not going to have a lot of sheen to it.

schooner2000 11-02-2006 06:06 PM

I'd like to maybe give that grey a go with poly and pow. Might make for an interesting and simple solution. Granted it would lighten up a bit in the mix. Do you have a swatch of it to compare in color/darkness with SS? I'd like to see them side by side.

wbassett 11-02-2006 07:23 PM

You can actually see the bluish hue in Silver Screen when it is compared to a more neutral color gray.

WAY back a long time ago there was a thread discussing colors. It was pretty interesting (to me at least). If it would have kept going the logical progression for the discussion would have been RGB, especially since it was talking about spectro data and the RGB equivalent, read through it sometime when you get a chance.

One thing Prof brought up in the Screen Sample Color Match thread was basically we have been conditioned to see colors slightly different than they really are. For instance, gray... most house paints have a shift to them, take Silver Screen, it has a blue push. A true neutral gray may actually appear greenish to some people and it's not really a 'pretty' color. Silver Screen is kinda 'cute' and definitely a more apealing gray than Gray Screen as far as something I would consider painting a room.

schooner2000 11-03-2006 03:35 AM

Thanks. Yes Silverscreen certainly has a blue tone to it. Unless you compare it to another sample however it isn't that noticable overall however I was jsut finding the skintones a bit off with mine and hence why I wanted to move away from it to more nuetral. The sample really shows this. Be interestign to see how that grey holds up in actual use in terms of blacks and color reproduction.

biglyle 11-03-2006 05:38 AM

its so blue that it makes the grey look green. Thats the problem with people trying to eyeball a true grey. If the first sample isnt perfect, the rest become skewed because of our own crappy perception.
Being able to actually test these samples is a total blessing, and I thank you guys for doing so.
You guys are what this forum should be about, true DIY'ers simply trying to make a better screen. No adgenda in sight.

Hats off to you.

wbassett 11-03-2006 05:51 AM

Lyle I think when data, tests, and specifications were brought in to play it really did change things.

This thread for instance isn't really a new topic, but it is a new way of looking at that topic. Before everyone went with the only thing they had available to evaluate something and that was their eyes. They would look at a color swatch and try to pick out the best looking gray. That's where the problem is though... it's not that we can't tell what is gray, as Prof pointed out and demonstrated in the Screen Match thread, since we were little kids we have been taught so see colors a little different than what the true color actually is. So when people were looking for a gray for a screen, they were looking at 'pleasing' colors, the ones they grew up being told were gray...

Take crayons for an example. That's one of the first way kids discover and learn colors. Gray is ugly... trust me on that one, from being in the military for over 13 years I learned to HATE gray and certain shades of green! Anyway, nobody would paint a room a real gray, it would look horrible. So the paint companies alter it some by adding blues or different pigments to get what everyone 'thinks' is gray and that way people will buy it.

We all know from shooting onto our walls that what looks nice on your wall doesn't mean it's going to make a good screen. Sometime it may, but the odds are it won't.

So I started this thread because people are always looking for a neutral gray, and saying there are none you can buy so 'we must make one'... well the GTI Munsell N8 IS neutral, and although some of the colors I have listed above are not completely neutral, they are very close (closer than any of the off the shelf grays I have been seeing people use and recommend) and will work for our purposes.

Now the problem is to get people to accept them. I actually told people about the GTI gray RP Imaging sells a long time ago, and after I found it, I discovered others had already run across it, but at $80 a gallon it was more than people wanted to spend. The paints I matched through the database are not $80 a gallon, so hopefully others will start testing those out too.

biglyle 11-03-2006 06:19 AM

YES, it really is amazing what hard data and facts can do to an argument isnt it?

wbassett 11-03-2006 06:36 AM

Originally Posted by biglyle View Post

YES, it really is amazing what hard data and facts can do to an argument isnt it?

Unless you're arguing with my wife

Topher 11-03-2006 12:29 PM

I've been reading this forum for a couple of weeks now trying to decide on a cheap way I might get a better picture from my PJ. It's a year old Hitachi PJ-TX100 with about 850 hours on the bulb, so it's getting dimmer. It's mounted about 14' away from a 120" Behr Quietude painted screen, but I'd like to try to get a little gain without breaking the bank.
I read in another thread about adding poly to the paint to up the gain. What's the proper paint/poly ratio? I seem to remember something about 25% poly, but these threads run together after a while of reading.
Edit: It's in a completely light controlled basement, but I like to have some abient light when I'm getting a beer.

wbassett 11-03-2006 02:05 PM

Topher I was really hoping Bud, benven, or one of the guys that work on the advanced mixes would answer your question. I'm sure they will when they see this. I have not develed into poly mixes yet and am just as interested in top coat mixes myself.

I know you haven't expressed any concern that this wasn't answered yet, I just wanted to say it's been seen and I am sure you'll get an answer soon

Topher 11-03-2006 07:42 PM

Thanks wbassett.
Here's a pic taken with my Olympus FE190 set to candlelight mode (no flash). The blacks are actually darker & the colours more saturated, but the camera holds the exposure to make up for the low light.
The pj's set with brightness at 7, contrast at 17, iris at 6 & whisper mode.
There are 2 potlights on at the back of the room (dimmed about half way) & 2 incandescant bulbs on at the end of a short hall at the rear of the room.

schooner2000 11-04-2006 05:54 PM

wbassett - What is the darkest neutral grey paint you have founf so far? I'm thinking something for us with a straight poly topcoat. Was thinking it may require the darkest since the poly will probbaly lighten the overall look of it a bit. Any suggestions?

wbassett 11-04-2006 06:22 PM

Originally Posted by Topher View Post

Thanks wbassett.
Here's a pic taken with my Olympus FE190 set to candlelight mode (no flash). The blacks are actually darker & the colours more saturated, but the camera holds the exposure to make up for the low light.
The pj's set with brightness at 7, contrast at 17, iris at 6 & whisper mode.
There are 2 potlights on at the back of the room (dimmed about half way) & 2 incandescant bulbs on at the end of a short hall at the rear of the room.

Tiddler may have an answer for you in the thread he started, you might want to check that out... it looks pretty easy too

wbassett 11-04-2006 06:30 PM

I found some dark ones that didn't push too hard (red and blue were fairly even in values with a slight green deficency) but I haven't found anything that is really close to neutral under a Munsell N8 shade, not yet at least. Bruce says he has a Firehawk clone, so that may be worth checking into, and if some gain and depth can be added to Dove Grey that could also be a contender. But I think Dove Grey needs a lot of play time to get it to a really viable option.

I think we nailed Grayhawk colors, but going darker needs more work but in '07 I think we'll have that down too in here.

schooner2000 11-05-2006 03:56 AM

I think your right wbassett we may be on to some good stuff this year. Tiddlers recent posts about a simple clear matte topcoat shows a lot can be done with simple solutions. The fact he was able to improve the look of SS that is far from neutral gives some hope. Imagine what this could do for a neutral grey that is on par with an actual commerical screen color.

You have done a lot of great work nailing down the neutral greys, I think now we have a great starting point for a base. The next step will be to see how many and in what mixes of base to poly to create a top coat.

Perhaps we should put together a list of the local suppliers that carry each of the neutral greys so we can start experimenting.

schooner2000 11-05-2006 04:01 AM

These guys really need to add a "screen" to their color visualizer online painter app ;-)


schooner2000 11-05-2006 04:37 AM

If we were to topcoat one of these neutral greys, I wonder wha tthe best finish type is for the base coat paint - matte, flat, eggshell, gloss? Anyone have any thoughts. Since the top coat is matte would it make sense to use a non matte base or might that cause hotspotting?

<^..^>Smokey Joe 11-05-2006 05:05 PM

Been searching through some local ranges here. Found plently of choice within close values too munsell RGB and if I want to shift towards Red I have choice.

From this web site, although probably not avaliable to you guys in the US.
Anyone in AUS or NZ could use this.

Click on the grey palette scale on the right for the shade range.

Heres some typical values.

Colour Name: Resene Double Concrete
Total Colour Code: N82-001-111

Chart Colour Code: 7GR15
Tone: White
Colour Palette: Neutral
RGB: 197 197 195

Converted LAB 83.44 -0.24 0.81

Colour Name: Resene Surf Spray Grey
Total Colour Code: N84-002-345

Chart Colour Code: 7GR25
Tone: White
Colour Palette: Neutral
RGB: 200 196 197

Converted LAB 83.53 1.31 0.10

Reflectance Value: 65

Colour Name: Resene Half Surrender
Total Colour Code: N85-002-225

Chart Colour Code: 6.5GR48
Tone: White
Colour Palette: Neutral
RGB: 202 204 204

Converted LAB 85.44 -0.57 -0.24

Reflectance Value: 65

Colour Name: Resene Mercury
Total Colour Code: N87-001-005

Chart Colour Code: 7GR20
Tone: White
Colour Palette: Neutral
RGB: 213 210 209

Converted LAB 87.59 0.75 0.76

Reflectance Value: 70

Colour Name: Resene Quarter Sidewinder
Total Colour Code: N69-005-322

Chart Colour Code: 6GR24
Tone: White
Colour Palette: Neutral
RGB: 156 151 155

Converted LAB 69.37 2.20 -1.09

Reflectance Value: 39

Colour Name: Resene Jumbo
Total Colour Code: N64-001-095

Chart Colour Code: 5GR16
Tone: White
Colour Palette: Neutral
RGB: 135 135 133

Converted LAB 63.25 -0.29 0.94

Reflectance Value: 32

Colour Name: Resene White Metal
Total Colour Code: M67-001-219

Chart Colour Code: -
Tone: Blast Grey
Colour Palette: Metallic
RGB: 148 149 148

Converted LAB 68.03 -0.47 0.32

Reflectance Value: 36

wbassett 11-05-2006 06:20 PM

Smokey Joe I like how they already have the spectro data up on that site. I have never seen a site with paints do that before.

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