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Reaperites! I give you: My Colour Comparator Spreadsheet!

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Hello Reaper Forum-goers!

 

I began painting minis with the first Bones Kickstarter. You may have noticed that I've never actually posted a WIP or Shown Off anything...that's because I've been working on something else.

 

Oftentimes I'd find a great tutorial on brushthralls, or YouTube, but invariably the author would use Citadel or VMC or P3 paint colours. Even here on the Reaper forums, Buglips pulls out Coat d'Arms from time-to-time. My colours consisted entirely of Reaper, and I needed a way to determine which colour I could use in the Reaper line to approximate the author's colours. Well, I did some research, and found the Vallejo colour compare spreadsheet PDF like everyone does. The problem is that it's sparse. It only contains exact matches, and not "near matches", and is incredibly difficult to read.

 

Then I found the CIE2000 colour difference formula: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_difference#CIEDE2000 on wikipedia.

 

After slamming my face with the math for a bit, I broke out my crappy programming skills and started to do SOME SCIENCE!

 

I wrote a script to compare two colours. Then I extracted the colours of each mini paint company that I could think of, and created RGB colour arrays for each brand. I compared each brand's colours to each other brand's colours to find the best match by first converting to sRGB colour, then XYZ colour, then CIELAB colour and finally determining the colour difference. Sometimes, there was no best match but at least I knew which colour was the closest by selecting the value with the lowest difference.

 

And finally, I compiled the whole thing into a spreadsheet for you to use. Please ignore the bit about the best match being bold, I haven't got around to that yet.

 

Please make as much use of this as I have. Also, if there's a savvy web programmer that could use my script to compare a custom list of colours (or two custom lists to each other) then let me know and I'll post the javascript.

 

Enjoy: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuXf-f-0SRiHdDk5Q0VOOVUyaUJtR0dvTnNHY3UzdlE&usp=sharing

 

Also let me know if that link works, it's my first time sharing a Google Doc.

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Woah, this is very cool!! It will definitely come in handy as I watch more tutorials and look into other brands, thank you so much for tackling this monster of a project! :)

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

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Thank you for sharing.

 

How did you generate the initial color values? Did you use the paint swatch on the various websites or get a color from a painted (on white paper or similar) swatch?

 

Ron

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There was a reference in the document introduction to starting with the assumption that the company producing the colour loaded the swatch on a colour calibrated monitor. Next time I have the opportunity, I will try to talk to various people at Reaper to see if that is the case for Reaper paint colours.

 

I know my own personal experience has been that the colour I see on a paint swatch online often bears very little relation to the actual paint colour as I perceive it when painted on something.

 

I don't know if the Reaper website Power Palette was based on the digital swatches or on physical scans or some other method. I will also try to remember to find out about that. (Or maybe someone could do a forum search and it was explained and I'm just forgetting. I've got to run off to Knoxville paint day now!)

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Does this include discontinued Reaper colors? If not, it would be great to see that in here to find suitable replacements for colors we don't have anymore.

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I know my own personal experience has been that the colour I see on a paint swatch online often bears very little relation to the actual paint colour as I perceive it when painted on something.

 

 

Is your monitor calibrated? If not, you may not be seeing the colour that Reaper has input on their end. However, just because you're not seeing the correct colour, doesn't mean that the colour difference will be calculated differently. I could easily strip out the little colour swatches that I included in the spreadsheet without affecting the calculations. You can do a "cheapy calibration" by just ensuring your monitor's temperature is set to 6500K.

 

I know that the use of a calibrated monitor is probably a stretch, but unfortunately there's really no better way to handle this problem. I can either create a personal colour swatch page (and buy many thousands of dollars worth of paint) and then use a colorimeter (~$800), and pay for a monitor calibration...or I can assume that someone took the time to hold their swatch up to a screen or use a colorimeter themselves. From what I can tell, the RGB colours on the paint page are pretty darn close, certainly within "good match" range.

 

That said, if someone wants to donate a colorimeter and the entire Citadel, Reaper, Vallejo and Coat d'Arms paint lines to me, and wants to pay for shipping to Canada, I can provide my address :;):

 

 

Does this include discontinued Reaper colors? If not, it would be great to see that in here to find suitable replacements for colors we don't have anymore.

 

Nope. Couldn't find a swatch set for "Reaper Pro" set, nor could I find a swatch set for the old Citadel line. Citadel has a conversion chart, but I wasn't sure if the colours on the chart were the new colours or the old ones....and I also wasn't sure how accurate they were since they weren't provided in a marketing context.

Edited by unidentifiable

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Thank you for sharing.

 

How did you generate the initial color values? Did you use the paint swatch on the various websites or get a color from a painted (on white paper or similar) swatch?

 

Ron

 

I grabbed RGB values from the respective companies' websites. As explained, this isn't exactly ideal, but on a budget of $0, it was the only choice.

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Have you compared your output to Anne's compatibility recommendations? If it mostly matches up to She Who Mixes The Paint, I'd say you're on to something good.

 

http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/34534-color-equivalencies/

 

Citadel changed their paint line since that was written. Technically I could use their old citadel to new citadel conversion chart thing, but then I would compound any errors.

 

They broke their latest line up into 5 different ones, which makes things extra difficult. "Citadel Base" is, I think, akin to Reaper HD and are designed for base coating. "Citadel Layer" is more similar to all pre-thinned hobby paints like VMC and Reaper MSP, "Citadel Dry" is a weird gloopy substance designed for drybrushing, "Citadel Edge" is the same colours as in the Dry line, but with the same consistency as the Layer line. Last, Citadel Shade is a bunch of pre-mixed washes.

 

All said, it'd be grand to have Anne give input here, or anyone with a bunch of paint (Mr 'lips?) just to spot-check. Anyone know how to launch the Bat-Anne signal? (na na na na na na na na BAT ANNE)

Edited by unidentifiable

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My monitor is not colour calibrated. (At least not to my knowledge.) I have found the same sort of discrepancies with all of the many monitors, tablets and so on that I've used, though I have been able to look at pictures of miniatures I've painted that I feel reasonably faithfully reproduce the colours I see when I look at those figures in the real world.

 

Though thinking about it truthfully, it's been a while since I even attempted to judge paint by online swatches after those first few years of it being so fruitless. Maybe the difference in the way monitors and paints create colour throws me off. Maybe I should try looking again, but I guess I just adopted a policy of acquire all Master Series paints and try to avoid the temptation of buying other brands since I will packrat paint if I don't watch myself.

 

As far as swatches for Pro Paints and the old GW line - if you find online swatches of those anywhere (I know some online stores have the Pro Paints, I would assume some stores and tutorials and such have the old GW), anyone who used those would likely have just lifted the company-produced swatches from the company site at the time.

 

Several years ago there was a colour match tool that someone had created. He posted on the Reaper forums as Joe Kutz, his website was http://www.silicon-dragons.com. It is unfortunately defunct now. I found some snapshots of it on the Wayback Machine, but since the actual colour tool used database coding, the actual tool itself won't load through the Wayback Machine. He claimed to be scanning in actual paint chips, although I found discussions on other forums from people who felt the colour matches were pretty inaccurate and doubted the claims. (http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/17678-color-equivalencies-chart/page-4#entry439462)

 

If someone wanted to try to recreate such a project, would they need to own all the paint themselves? Or would they only need volunteers who own paint to paint up some swatches and mail those? That might become a much more doable project. I could contribute swatches for a fairly obscure paint range, Adikolor. (At least until such time as I get around to selling or giving them away.)

 

Anne is having to limit her computer use right now. And even were that not so, she and everyone else at Reaper are a little chicken with its head cut off preparing for the Kickstarter and unlikely to be able to check in on threads like this in the near future. I will probably be at Reaper within the next month, and I will attempt to check with Anne or whoever else might have been involved with the swatches whether those are as precise as assumed for the colour comparison that you've made. I will also try to talk to All-Terrain Monkey about how the Power Palette matches colours.

 

If it'd be helpful before that, I could try to do swatch comparisons between some of the Reaper paints and P3 paints that your chart suggests are equivalent and scan and/or photograph those to give an idea of how in the ballpark the equivalencies are.

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If someone wanted to try to recreate such a project, would they need to own all the paint themselves? Or would they only need volunteers who own paint to paint up some swatches and mail those? That might become a much more doable project. I could contribute swatches for a fairly obscure paint range, Adikolor. (At least until such time as I get around to selling or giving them away.)

 

Anne is having to limit her computer use right now. And even were that not so, she and everyone else at Reaper are a little chicken with its head cut off preparing for the Kickstarter and unlikely to be able to check in on threads like this in the near future. I will probably be at Reaper within the next month, and I will attempt to check with Anne or whoever else might have been involved with the swatches whether those are as precise as assumed for the colour comparison that you've made. I will also try to talk to All-Terrain Monkey about how the Power Palette matches colours.

 

If it'd be helpful before that, I could try to do swatch comparisons between some of the Reaper paints and P3 paints that your chart suggests are equivalent and scan and/or photograph those to give an idea of how in the ballpark the equivalencies are.

 

I'm not sure how Silicon-Knights ever did their colour compare. As such, I'm not really sure how you could possibly recreate that project. My only thought would be to use a colorimeter, which returns the wavelength of light reflected from a given surface. Then you need to translate the wavelength into some colour based on the CIELAB gamut...it's beyond my knowledge at that point, but you'd need to generate an "infinitely thick" layer of paint so that the reflected light was just from the paint and not from the backing. Each colour swatch would need to be based on something very black and very matte. I just threw this together as a quicky project but realized that colours are really, really complicated. There's a ton of literature on this stuff.

 

Edit: You could also use a professional, calibrated scanner. Again, you'd need to have an 'infinitely thick' layer of paint, but you could then just scan in the chip and use the average RGB over the whole chip from the scanned image. You could have friends mail you their chips in either case but you'd need to ensure you all used the same process (ie, identical backing material, same # of layers, no thinning, same dry time between layers, etc).

 

Spot-checking would be super, even if it's only P3<->Reaper. There's quite a few colours that are listed as "perfect matches" in that range, so try those first...you can probably safely exclude Black and White.

 

Sanguine Base -> Bloodstain Red

Skorne Red -> Carnage Red

Cygnus Yellow -> Lemon Yellow

Umbral Umber -> Dark Shadow

Bootstrap Leather -> Chestnut Gold

Gnarls Green -> Pine Green

Cygnar Base -> Coalition Blue

Cygnar Highlight -> Ultramarine Highlight

Frostbite -> Ghost White

Battledress Green -> Okavango Swamp

 

Any or all of those that you can spot check would be super, thanks Wren! Even if my "perfect" matches are instead "damn close" I would probably consider this project a success.

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The reflected color of light from a sample approaches the color reflected from an infinitely thick sample asymptotically. For optically thick paints, you really don't need a particularly thick sample.

 

Pigments don't reflect on a single frequency, and not usually even on a narrow single peak. Given pure black-body illumination, you'll normally see multiple wide peaks for a given pigment, and a given color will be even more complex. Frequency (singular) is not a very useful descriptor of paint color.

 

All that said, IME (and I do use a calibrated monitor), online samples are nearly useless. There are several contributors to that:

 

1) There is no way to know what light was used to generate the original online sample. It could be generated under lights anywhere between 3500K and 8000K (tungsten to north light), which will result in wildly different overall results.

 

2) Further, there's no way to know what the color rendering index of the original light was, or where the spikes in the light might have been. And since pigments preferentially reflect narrow frequency bands, CRI and the precise position of the peaks is crucial.

 

3) Online swatches are viewed on an emissive monitor, not a reflective surface. That radically changes the experience.

 

4) Even if all of that were perfect and the customer's monitor were calibrated perfectly, there's no way to know what light the final figure will be seen under, which has all of the CRI and color temperature problems as the original scan/swatch.

 

5) Finally, I use very few unmixed colors. And simply knowing the color of the paint says only something, not everything about what a mix will look like, which depends on the precise pigments and ratios used, not the aggregate color of the paint.

 

None of which is to say that your work is useless, but simply that its use is limited.

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Did you mean Silicon Dragon? That project was built from actually scanned color swatches. If it was in the database then he owned the paint. It was a terrific resource.

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Very cool! Thank you very much for this - I've already found a dozen colours I need to complete some old minis painted with old CItadel paints (now COat D'Arms as I understand it). I really want to stay with Reapers paints as I love the dropper bottles, consistency and price and this will prove invaluable!

 

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The reflected color of light from a sample approaches the color reflected from an infinitely thick sample asymptotically. For optically thick paints, you really don't need a particularly thick sample.

 

Pigments don't reflect on a single frequency, and not usually even on a narrow single peak. Given pure black-body illumination, you'll normally see multiple wide peaks for a given pigment, and a given color will be even more complex. Frequency (singular) is not a very useful descriptor of paint color.

 

All that said, IME (and I do use a calibrated monitor), online samples are nearly useless. There are several contributors to that:

 

<snip>

 

None of which is to say that your work is useless, but simply that its use is limited.

 

My spreadsheet only intends to communicate the mathematical similarity between colours. It doesn't pretend to be able to represent those colours accurately on a screen. As you pointed out, that's a whole other bag of cats. Your point remains valid though, because there's no given guarantee that the colours were accurately represented to begin with.

 

I tried to account for that, and graded the matches, with a fairly wide berth given for error (except perfect matches, which use the hard 2.3 value given by the CIE). Given the math is perfect, this should account for error introduced when brand XYZ decided to upload it to the interwebs. The marketing guy likely just said "good enough" and slapped it up there, so even colours that are graded as "mediocre matches" in my spreadsheet could very well be perfect matches when you go to paint with them, and, by equal token, they could be right out. YMMV. My hope was that anything that was listed as a "good match" would at least be passable.

 

I don't think anyone would be daft enough to blame me, but I'll add a disclaimer that I'm not responsible for the wide variety of reasons why your colours may not match once you get them.

Edited by unidentifiable

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