'Pigment' Free Gray- Initial Development and Testing - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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'Pigment' Free Gray- Initial Development and Testing

Index
  • PFG Introduction and Initial Performance Shots (Posts 1-4)
  • Theory and Further Testing and Discussion


This is a new gray made from Kilz2 and Aluminum. I say 'pigment free' because other than the pigments in Kilz2 no conventional paint tint pigments were used. For now We'll shorten it to PFG until a better name is thought up.

Preliminary testing is looking very good so I decided to take this out of the teaser thread and start a thread on it. This is still in a beta stage, but moving further along. Someone questioned me about doing some teases, but there's nothing wrong with a little tease now and then as long as it's not just that, a tease and nothing materializes out of it. That is not my intent.

Okay, so we know it has Kilz2. I used that because it's inexpensive and I already have a couple gallons of it. Testing is promising enough that I am going to make a test panel using Luminous White.

So the Aluminum part. It's a paint comprised of
  • Resin
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Aluminum
  • and Water
That's it.

I made up two test panels, one with a 3:1 ratio, three parts Kilz2 to 1 part Aluminum. It is gray as can be seen here and the 3:1 panel is darker in shade than Sherwin William's Gray Screen, but not down to an N7 shade of gray. The 4:1 is slightly lighter, but still darker than GS.

I did some preliminary screen tests and have a SW Gray Screen test panel for a side by side comparison since I know GS is a solid performer.

The 4:1 panel seems to be a little better but over all for shades getting this dark I was pretty impressed with both the 3:1 and 4:1.

Here is a lights out shot, 3:1 on the left, 4:1 on the right, with a light gray (roughly N8.5) as the background screen.

I was pretty impressed with not only the blacks but the overall image. The shot above makes the background screen look washes out and almost like it was a lights on shot. Previously that screen was looking exceptionally good on its own, but these panels really put it to shame. Just looking at the image above it's like a veil was lifted.

No hot spotting either. I am going to test out other movies too since Van Helsing is a dark film and the director also chose to shoot everything with a slight blue cast (Like Cameron did with T2)


Lights on, there was a dramatic difference. First is lights off, then lights on.






Finally for now Van Helsing the werewolf vs Drac, and the fate of Anna.



I will be testing against a SW Gray Screen panel, and also running a test with a poly top coating. If I am satisfied with those then it's time to get some spectrophotometer readings and see where this stands.

Overall this was extremely easy to make.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
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post #2 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Round Two

A couple changes were made this time. I coated the 3:1 panel with Behr Matte Poly, and I added a Sherwin Williams Gray Screen panel. So in the up coming shots, the panels from left to right are Sherwin Williams Gray Screen, PFG 3:1 with Poly, and PFG 4:1 with no poly. There is a small strip to the far right of the screen that is my test screen and it's roughly an N8.5 shade.

The Run Down














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post #3 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Round Two

Serenity

















"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

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post #4 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Round Two

Serenity Continued














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post #5 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 09:03 AM
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Re: 'Pigment' Free Gray- a New Gray

The most amazing images to me are the ones with both dark and light areas, where you can really see the effects on both. Take this one for example:



The blacks on the PFG screen absolutely blow away the SW screen (in fact, it looks washed out compared to the PFG screen). Yet, in the brighter part of the image (the planet), the seam between panels is almost imperceptible.

This is the only screen I've seen that (to my admittedly amateur eye) doesn't have just about an equal trade-off between darks and lights. The benefit to darks far outweighs any hit to brights...

I have to say, I'm super impressed at this point. The other point I'll make is that this is next to SW Grey Screen, which is as good as any DIY solution out there (at least any verifiable solution...some on AVS claim that the heavy metallic/silver screens are wonderful, but there's no hard data to support the claim). And, to me, PFG vs the SW GS looks like a step-change in performance. One other comment: many times, I take screenshots (even side-by-side) with a grain of salt. That's because when a projector is calibrated for one screen sample, it will by definition not be calibrated for the other samples in the same image. So, we see a darker grey screen next to a lighter grey screen...both blacks and whites are darker on the darker grey, and the panel that the pj happens to be calibrated for ends up looking "better". But, in this case, it clearly seems to be an expansion of the "range" of greys that can be displayed...blacks get MUCH blacker, while bright colors don't darken too much at all. This screen seems to really capture what the pj is sending, at all points of the greyscale.

Bill, does it look a lot better than any other panels you have in person? I'm sure that soon we'll see it on someone's website for $150/gallon.
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post #6 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 02:23 PM
 
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Re: 'Pigment' Free Gray- a New Gray

definitely very impressed though i still kinda feel like the sweetspot might be a lighter shade still - 5:1 or 6:1

the only thing that did catch my eye was the the 3:1 with poly panel looked kinda weird in the text credits screen shot - text almost seemed to be blooming but not like a hot spot?
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post #7 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 03:26 PM
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Re: 'Pigment' Free Gray- a New Gray

Looks good. Reminds me of my first posting at the other place. I had an aluminum screen with a clearcoat to knock down the hotspotting. Removing the topcoat and adding some white to the mix really made it shine. Just an FYI, at least in my experience, that adding a topcoat will reduce those nice dark blacks and muck up off axis viewing.

Just curious, how do mineral spirits and water mix? Also, how is off axis viewing? Can you please post some pics? Thanks!
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post #8 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 03:29 PM
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Re: 'Pigment' Free Gray- a New Gray

Quote:
GbrNole wrote: View Post
definitely very impressed though i still kinda feel like the sweetspot might be a lighter shade still - 5:1 or 6:1

the only thing that did catch my eye was the the 3:1 with poly panel looked kinda weird in the text credits screen shot - text almost seemed to be blooming but not like a hot spot?
Great Britain:

Is this the pic you're talking about?



It definitely looks like the poly is causing some light scatter of the white foreground on the black background...a little too much of the diffusion effect, I guess. I would assume that different polys will cause that to different extents, so it may take some experimentation to find the best poly (if that's what it is...keep in mind I'm still a novice) for this application.

If I think about using this for my personal situation, I definitely would want to be able to protect it somehow, if the main mix is Kilz. Otherwise, my kids (and maybe even I ) will smudge the screen by doing something stupid. Another option is a more durable basecoat...I think Bill said he's going to try some things other than the Kilz. If it works with a matte SW paint, a topcoat may not be needed for protection, since it's fairly durable/washable.

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for future developments.

<-- My eyes
<-- are peeled.

Oh, I kill me...

Wait, I've got another...

With the opacity and reflective properties of the aluminum, very little light is lost. I think that's what allows the brights to still look good while the blacks improve disproportionately. So, more total light is returned to the audience. In other words, the screen efficiency is improved. That insight is especially for mech and Bill...they love it when I talk about efficiency.

<DISCLAIMER: For anyone reading this who isn't familiar with the efficiency discussion of a few weeks ago, please do not take my last paragraph seriously...I'm just joking around with our fine mods.>
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post #9 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 'Pigment' Free Gray- a New Gray

Quote:
mechman wrote: View Post
It looks extremely promising to me! Send me some for testing!!

It appears that the poly lightened the image a bit on the 3:1 when compared to the 4:1. What do you think Bill?

So far I like the way it looks! But I've always been about contrast and deeper blacks!

mech
I think it looks very promising too and I'll be sending you some samples to test. I don't think it's going to come in as a dead on neutral though, we'll see.

The poly definitely lightened the 3:1 panel and I am still debating which of the three I like the best. I asked my wife and she said she liked panel #3 the best (PFG 4:1) The poly lightened the 3:1, and whites do look good, but there is something about it I'm not sure about. Some scenes looked fantastic, others didn't look as good as the other two panels. Still some work needed but this is definitely worth pursuing.

As far as the blacks, wow, yeah I like them too and in certain brighter scenes I couldn't tell the difference between GS and the other two panels. Some shots I definitely could see all three panels very distinctly. Blacks were the worse on GS (and GS is a great screen with no reference like this) but the 3:1 poly coat took a major hit with the blacks after adding the poly. They were still darker then GS, but had a washed out duller look compared to the 4:1 ratio.

Quote:
cynical2 wrote: View Post
The most amazing images to me are the ones with both dark and light areas, where you can really see the effects on both. Take this one for example:

In some scenes it was difficult to tell the difference between all three, in others I could. GS still wins for whites though, but without any white reference all three panels would be fine in that area.

The blacks on the PFG screen absolutely blow away the SW screen (in fact, it looks washed out compared to the PFG screen). Yet, in the brighter part of the image (the planet), the seam between panels is almost imperceptible.

Yes the blacks with the PFG are better than anything I have seen so far, and the whites are looking very good as well. There is an extra level of brightness and detail that I can only attribute to the Aluminum. I have a couple more test panels to make, a 5:1 and 6:1 and I also have some GS with Aluminum and now that I have some more Winter Mountain I'll make up one with that.

I agree, as good as Gray Screen is on it's own, these panels are making it look pretty bad black wise, but as I mentioned it's still better with Whites. Overall I liked panel #3 the best I think, but I'm still not sure.


This is the only screen I've seen that (to my admittedly amateur eye) doesn't have just about an equal trade-off between darks and lights. The benefit to darks far outweighs any hit to brights...

Whites will definitely show a hit if a white reference screen was thrown up there, but so do the commercial screens we've seen, so I'm not really focused on that. In this case the black levels and still very bright colors and white levels are a very acceptable trade off. Again I go back to what my wife said, she said the 4:1 looked the best to her. She said the colors looked brighter and better. Most likely it was because the blacks looked that much better and the whites and colors didn't take as bad of a hit as they seem to do with a gray made the more conventional way.

I have to say, I'm super impressed at this point. The other point I'll make is that this is next to SW Grey Screen, which is as good as any DIY solution out there (at least any verifiable solution...some on AVS claim that the heavy metallic/silver screens are wonderful, but there's no hard data to support the claim). And, to me, PFG vs the SW GS looks like a step-change in performance. One other comment: many times, I take screenshots (even side-by-side) with a grain of salt. That's because when a projector is calibrated for one screen sample, it will by definition not be calibrated for the other samples in the same image. So, we see a darker grey screen next to a lighter grey screen...both blacks and whites are darker on the darker grey, and the panel that the pj happens to be calibrated for ends up looking "better". But, in this case, it clearly seems to be an expansion of the "range" of greys that can be displayed...blacks get MUCH blacker, while bright colors don't darken too much at all. This screen seems to really capture what the pj is sending, at all points of the greyscale.

I put the GS panel up because it is much closer in shade to these panels than the new N8.5 test screen and I wanted a better reference that I was very familiar with and around the same shade. This may take some time to tweak it out, but unless something comes up that's even better, I'll most likely be changing screens after this.

I agree, this isn't just a marginal increase, it is a dramatic one. Again in certain scenes GS looked just as good, but in other scenes it didn't fare as well. Right now the scale is tipped in the direction of the PFG, but much more work needs to be done.


Bill, does it look a lot better than any other panels you have in person? I'm sure that soon we'll see it on someone's website for $150/gallon.
Lol, well two things, first I haven't said exactly what the name of it is, but a resourceful person can find it. Second, I don't want to say it right now until all the testing and tweaking is done. It's not a finished solution at this point and I don't want to jump the gun and later come to the conclusion this particular approach has too many problems to recommend to someone. If that ever does end up the final outcome, I am convinced Aluminum and non-interference methods have some incredible potential and I'd like to think these shots are showing that. If this ends as a failure, we still will have obtained some very valuable information from this.

Mech I'll be sending you the actual mix when It's finalized. I'd like to see this up against some of the other higher end DIY screens and you have those prepared already. These blacks are more than just slightly better, they are a magnitude better while still keeping everything else bright and white. Maybe I'll try a color match for the shade of gray and test two panels out that way. I suspect that the paint alone isn't going to look anywhere close to the same. Again, something that has to be tested out though to be sure.

Quote:
GbrNole wrote: View Post
definitely very impressed though i still kinda feel like the sweetspot might be a lighter shade still - 5:1 or 6:1

the only thing that did catch my eye was the the 3:1 with poly panel looked kinda weird in the text credits screen shot - text almost seemed to be blooming but not like a hot spot?
I am definitely going to be testing both that you suggested. If anything a person can very easily pick the level of blacks that fit their tastes the best without a major sacrifice in other areas.

The poly and text did look a little strange to me too, but wasn't that bad in person. Still it did have a more blurred look than the other panels. As far as hot spotting, when I first fired my projector up, yes the poly panel looked like it had a 'circular' bright area in the lower half. It could be hot spotting or possible a problem applying the poly. I'll check it out further. The 4:1 panel doesn't appear to be exhibiting any perceivable hot spotting issues, just the poly coated panel.

Quote:
benven wrote: View Post
Looks good. Reminds me of my first posting at the other place. I had an aluminum screen with a clearcoat to knock down the hotspotting. Removing the topcoat and adding some white to the mix really made it shine. Just an FYI, at least in my experience, that adding a topcoat will reduce those nice dark blacks and muck up off axis viewing.

Just curious, how do mineral spirits and water mix? Also, how is off axis viewing? Can you please post some pics? Thanks!
The mineral spirits and paint don't separate or act like orange juice and milk (yuck). Also since it's not just pure Aluminum, but Aluminum and a white base, I am not seeing any hot spotting other than the possible hot spot after I put the poly on. I'm sure if I used the Aluminum straight, it would be hot spot city, it's a pretty bright and shiny substance.

As far as your poly coating statement, I concur. It lightened the 3:1 panel but I think a 5:1 would be just as bright and lighter but possibly help with the backs better than the hit taken with the poly. This isn't regular paint as we know so in this case my opinion is definitely leaning towards the thought that poly caused more negative affects than positive ones. I'll try a 5:1 side by side with it and we can see how they look.

Quote:
cynical2 wrote: View Post
Great Britain:

Is this the pic you're talking about?



It definitely looks like the poly is causing some light scatter of the white foreground on the black background...a little too much of the diffusion effect, I guess. I would assume that different polys will cause that to different extents, so it may take some experimentation to find the best poly (if that's what it is...keep in mind I'm still a novice) for this application.

I agree the trade offs with the poly do not seem to be worth it in this case, but it was something that had to be tested and still could be used if it's refined for this application.

If I think about using this for my personal situation, I definitely would want to be able to protect it somehow, if the main mix is Kilz. Otherwise, my kids (and maybe even I ) will smudge the screen by doing something stupid. Another option is a more durable basecoat...I think Bill said he's going to try some things other than the Kilz. If it works with a matte SW paint, a topcoat may not be needed for protection, since it's fairly durable/washable.

I'll be testing it with other white paint, specifically SW Luminous White. I am using Kilz2 right now solely because of a cost factor. I will say though that it seems pretty durable. A bug decided to hop on one of the panels while it was drying and I didn't see it until it was completely dry. I managed to get it off the panel with only a minor imperfection caused by it being embedded in the paint. No finger prints were left or anything like that. Now... the background test screen was sprayed with a flat paint around an N8.5 shade and when I was putting up some commercial screen panels, it picked up finger prints just from the oils we have in our hands. Flat looks great when first painted, but usually doesn't stay that way for long. This seems a little tougher than that.

When I'm done, I'll run it through a torture test like I did with the laminates but not as rough as those tests... no way would it hold up to being soaked in water for 24 hours and then frozen over night! But I'll test to see if it is at least cleanable.


I'm keeping my eyes peeled for future developments.

<-- My eyes
<-- are peeled.

Oh, I kill me...

Wait, I've got another...

With the opacity and reflective properties of the aluminum, very little light is lost. I think that's what allows the brights to still look good while the blacks improve disproportionately. So, more total light is returned to the audience. In other words, the screen efficiency is improved. That insight is especially for mech and Bill...they love it when I talk about efficiency.

<DISCLAIMER: For anyone reading this who isn't familiar with the efficiency discussion of a few weeks ago, please do not take my last paragraph seriously...I'm just joking around with our fine mods.>
Overall I think it is well worth continuing development. This is a bit more advanced than a simple OTS but still very easy.

Next I am going to run the Aluminum through a filter. I have noticed there are some larger flakes in the Aluminum paint that do show up as larger pronounced particles on the rolled panel. Once these are removed by running it through a filter, this should be able to be sprayed at that point as well as rolled.

I'm actually kind of excited about this.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
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post #10 of 82 Old 10-07-07, 05:48 PM
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Re: 'Pigment' Free Gray- a New Gray

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wbassett wrote: View Post
I'm actually kind of excited about this.
Somehow I don't think you're alone.
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