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starwarsgeek

Learning to mix color

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Anyone have a recommendation on a good tutorial or book or blog or something that can help with trying to mix colors? I have a basic understanding of color theory and basic mixing... red and blue make purple, blue and yellow make green, etc.  But I need help with understanding what colors to add to match another specific color. For example - I have a figure in a shade of blue that I need to match. I’ve tried - literally - about 100 various bottles of blue paint including every blue Reaper makes, along with some Vallejo, Model Masters, Warpaints, etc. I found a few “close” matches, but I need to learn what colors I need to mix in to those “close enough” colors to get them closer to where I need to go. 

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Well, if you don't get better advice, you can always ballpark it by putting different colors that are close on a wet palette and mix, "trial and error". You may want to include ink and washes. Unfortunately, the color of paint when wet isn't necessarily the same as dry, either. You can also cheat by washing the newly painted area and the previously painted one the same wash color. For advanced tabletop, "close enough" is "good enough". Putting the miniature aside a day and returning back may make us realize we didn't have to be so picky / accurate in the first place.

 

Additionally, there's also technique when color-matching. Frex, purple can be used to shade yellow, but you don't do this by mixing purple directly into yellow.

 

fwiw, Reaper also has a color matching webpage. You could take a photo, upload it, then see what Reaper recommends. But I think that's too much work, especially since, with photography, the lighting will affect the color of the object. EDIT: Might be gone. If someone knows the link, post. ::(:

Edited by ced1106
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I don't have a site recommendation, but I can suggest starting with a pure blue pigment rather than a bottle of paint that has god knows what in it.  From there try adding white (tint), or black(tone) to get closer to the value that you want.  Then decide if you need to add a different color, like green or red to shift it towards what you're looking for.  Think of it in 3 dimensions. You not only have to go up and down the light-dark scale, but also around (and maybe across) the color wheel. 

 

Take a piece of paper and make a grid of 1" squares and record your results. So you'll end up with something like this, but only in blues:

 

080C3A3D-6C92-4B52-BEE6-CEC69CB93D0D.jpg.70455a92bf48f57ce2e626fb86b4ad82.jpg

 

You'll be able to see what is working and what isn't, and have a record for next time you need to mix something. 

 

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I love Reaper paints, but most of their paint will not be the best if you really want to learn true color mixing. Granted, I mix bits all the time, but not in a Proper Color Theory way. They are pre-mixes with many pigments in them, so mixing those further can create dulled colors accidentally. Sometimes works great, sometimes not, depending on what you mix. Their "Clears" would mix well.

 

Paint like Kimera (high end fancy stuff) is designed to be mixed because it is all thick single pigment paint, so you really know what you are adding to a mix.

 

If you are trying to replicate a specific color... I may just write that off and find a pre-mix that is really close using the PaintRack app.

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Echoing what people are saying about Reaper paints being unpredictable when mixing.  May I ask why you're trying to match a color?  There may be a more helpful answer with a different painting technique.

In my experience, I try not to ever mix more than two colors.  It's easier to recreate if you can only add a bit more of one or the other.  Layering techniques are also a great way to cheat the color-matching problem.  You don't have to perfectly match, just get close enough.  And like others have said, washes and glazes can really help blend two slightly different colors.  If you're just working with Reaper paints, you can water them down just a bit so they aren't completely runny.

Hope you find a solution!

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Mixing with any brand of paint while trying to match a color is hard. Not just Reaper.

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On 10/1/2020 at 4:54 PM, MoonglowMinis said:

Echoing what people are saying about Reaper paints being unpredictable when mixing.  May I ask why you're trying to match a color?  There may be a more helpful answer with a different painting technique.

 

I do a lot of action figure customizing, and I’m trying to paint a replacement head for the new G I Joe Cobra Commander to match the rest of the figure. 

 

Thanks for the insight all. 

On 9/30/2020 at 12:57 AM, ced1106 said:

 

fwiw, Reaper also has a color matching webpage. You could take a photo, upload it, then see what Reaper recommends. But I think that's too much work, especially since, with photography, the lighting will affect the color of the object.

 

When did they bring the power palette back online?!? It’s been gone for a while. Do you have a link? I have seriously missed it, I used it all the time. 

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On 10/3/2020 at 12:18 AM, starwarsgeek said:

I do a lot of action figure customizing, and I’m trying to paint a replacement head for the new G I Joe Cobra Commander to match the rest of the figure

Not sure if you ever found a solution so here's some more thoughts. 

 

Assuming it's some shade of blue, that's definitely a tricky one. Have you checked around on any G.I.Joe specific forums? Someone may have found a matching color.  Your best bet is to find a single color that's close enough, or a shade that doesn't match but is complimentary.

 

If you want to try mixing, Reaper's "Clear" paints might be easier to work with.  

 

You could also get the color close-enough, then cover it and and the "matching" areas with a wash or a glaze to help unify the two different colors. 

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On 10/3/2020 at 12:18 AM, starwarsgeek said:

 

I do a lot of action figure customizing, and I’m trying to paint a replacement head for the new G I Joe Cobra Commander to match the rest of the figure. 

 

Would it be easier to just repaint the rest to match what you paint on the new head? Trying a glaze of that colour over the rest would be a quicker thing to attempt that might work well enough. (I'd mix that with brush-on sealer or matte medium so you get the same kind of adhesion as you would with a full strength paint though.)

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On 10/4/2020 at 1:00 PM, Wren said:

 

Would it be easier to just repaint the rest to match what you paint on the new head?

 

Absolutely. But... I'm selling prepainted copies of the head that I've printed and cast, and I'm not sure all the customers would want to paint their figures over lol 

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Mark Carder's youtube videos are a good resource for color mixing. Carder uses a 5 color palette, yellow, blue, crimson, dark brown and white, and shows techniques to match nearly any color by following a few simple guidelines (yellow & blue make green, blue & red make purple, lighten colors by adding white or yellow or both, darken by adding blue or brown or both, etc). He's doing fine art oil painting, but 95% plus of color mixing is medium-independant, so well worth a look for an easy intro to mixing colors. You'll want to combine viewing with as much playing with mixing paints as you can, but it's a great starting point.

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