Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions - Page 7 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #61 of 179 Old 08-27-07, 10:10 AM
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

The Xrite tint for the behr UPW #1050 is interesting and quite similar to my own tints.

Lamp Black 0 15 1
Brown Oxide 0 3 1
Medium Yellow 0 1 1

It is similar in that the Brown Oxide + Medium Yellow would be similar in Spectral Reflectance as the yellow Oxide. The main difference would be the effect on the green wavelengths. So this has confirmed my speculations that some combination of brown + yellow or yellow + red would allow one to tailor the final spectral reflectance curve to be more flat and uniform.

The other thing it confirms for me is the basic ratio of Black to neutralizing pigment. It is very close to a 3:1 ratio. In my case I increased the ratio to 2:1 in order to balance the Red with the Blue. Based on the incorrect RGB measurements from that time, it appeared to produce a balance gray with a slight green deficiency. That however did not agree with it's appearance. It did have a slight greenishness to it. The second round of RGB testing indicated exactly that. The Green was slightly high. I therefore backed off on the Yellow Oxide.

Brown Oxide will have a spectral curve that slopes gently up towards the higher wavelength. The effect is to reduce the lower wavelengths (Blue) and raise the upper wavelengths (Red). More or less to rotate the overall spectral curve counter clock wise. If the Lamp Black in UPW was a flat spectral curve to begin with then that would be all that is needed. The higher wavelengths do tend to drop off so the addition of some Medium Yellow will actually absorb the lower wavelength reducing the Blue and Green to a lesser extent. The net result is to raise the Red relative to the Blue and get the balance back. By selecting the best combination of Brown Oxide and Medium Yellow this also results in the Green being level with the now balance Red and Blue.

I have been very impressed with the results of just the EasyFlex tinted UPW before the poly top coat was applied. The whites were surprisingly white while the blacks look appropriately dark. The big question now will be if the Xrite tint and the EasyFlex tint look different in a side-by-side comparison with a projected image. I suspect it will be just noticeable and some might find it negligible. I suspect if viewed separately most people may not even be able to tell the difference. Those like wbassett and mechman who have spent endless hours staring at various screen samples would probably be able to tell the difference though.

My approach to any scientific endeavor, at work or at play, is to do it as correctly as possible, even if the difference is negligible. I drive the engineers around here crazy because I insist on them providing full and complete aerodynamic calculation formulas for me to implement in my data processing software. They often complain that this or that is negligible and will not effect the final out come. My response to them is always, if it won't effect the outcome then humor me and let me implement the formulas properly. My approach to this paint tinting will be the same. If the Xrite tint indeed is more correct and produces similar or better results than the current EasyFlex tints, then the Xrite tint will superseded the EasyFlex tint.

The refinement of these neutral gray tints for UPW does not mean anyone who used my original tints has a bad screen though. It just means that we have arrived at a more accurate tint formula that will be easily matched against the Munsell Gray Scale. So don't race out and repaint your screen.

I'm glad wbassett has been able to get this type of tint formula from Xrite, because for me to develop it through experimenting and sending off samples for testing would be a lot of work and I may never get it right. This is a big step in the right direction as far as I am concerned.

Good Job Bill!

P.S. When I contacted the folks at the Behr Color Laboratory, my original hope was that they would simply provide us with this sort of neutral gray tint formula. I wonder why Xrite is able to do this without experimenting and testing?

Last edited by Tiddler; 08-27-07 at 10:21 AM.
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post #62 of 179 Old 08-27-07, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

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I wonder why Xrite is able to do this without experimenting and testing?
Like mech said, Xrite bought Greta MacBeth, who sells a lot of Munsell items. Kara said they did test it and I'm trying to get those numbers. I received a call back from the local Xrite rep but I was in class and we couldn't talk for long. When I get back Wednesday Bob and I are going to talk about things and I'll find out then if they have an N8 as well as get the spectro numbers.

I am very interested in Luminous White and am going to get a quart tinted to Gray Screen and test it against the Duration base. I may be putting up a new screen.

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post #63 of 179 Old 08-27-07, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Let's not forget though that we do already have two exceptional ones, Winter Mountain and Winter Mist. I would like to find a match for Behr and Sherwin Williams though too. We'll work on Benjamin Moore and the others.

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

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post #64 of 179 Old 09-15-07, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Some interesting news and possibly very good news once we test and confirm this...

I just picked up Valspar Cinema Screen from Lowes, and... Valspar Winter Mountain!

This wasn't a color match from a store color swatch (which are not really accurate, not like a fan deck) but it is from a color library of all manufacturer's paint fan decks. Lowes uses a software program from XRite that can call up virtually any color from any manufacturer and give the exact code to make that paint.

First things first, we need to spectro this to confirm if it is a real match or just a 'close enough for hand grenades' match. I talked to the guy at Lowes and he spun the monitor around for me to look at it. Up on the screen was True Value Winter Mountain 1982 no doubt! I asked if this was 'close' or the exact same color and he said "If it was 'just close' it wouldn't match what you are painting or repairing that was already painted with the original color." I am a little skeptical because we are talking about different base paints being used, but I felt it was worth checking so I bought some 1982 Winter Mountain.

If this tests out the same as what's already in the database, it means people can get any of the neutrals there, including the EF tints. Now, I am not saying EasyFlex shouldn't use Behr and go with this, but it opens the door for two sources (maybe more) for a very popular DIY method.

Before we, or I should say I go off doing a happy dance, this must be spectro'd to make sure that the colors are indeed the same for the OTS and the EF system or else it's all a shoot and that's the last thing I want to introduce. So don't anyone run off yet to Lowes and have them call up something on the XRite software, let's go slow and make sure this is valid. If so, it is very very good news.

I'll check with Home Depot and see if they have the same software. From what I understand ACE has it, so let's see how many others do as well. This will take the guessing out of going from one manufacturer to another... IF the readings come back positive.

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

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post #65 of 179 Old 09-19-07, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Reposted with permission from stevem911

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Ok, testing is complete...at least for now. I messed around with the calibration, what i found i couldnt quite do it. Due to the images for calibration spanned accross the different paint samples. But i will tell you that when viewing, it was a of alot easier to tone down the white's and add more black on the lighter screen, as opposed trying to make the GS produce a whiter white, AND brighter picture. The Behr mix was just easier to control....way eaiser! And i still couldnt get the GS to pop the whites as good, no matter what i tried. Two things though in comparison that were quite obvious; Full lights on(as you will see) The GS is FAR better. And with lights out, or some ambiant light (lamp on behind projector) The blacks were dead-evan. Watching HD basketball was also a treat for the Behr Poly coat as it made the court have a little extra "pop" ecspecially on the lighter screen. I dont think the extra pop shows up on the pics as it does with my own eyes. As far as color goes..I really have no way to test it, but both screens were very pleasing with color. So in conclusion...for me. Its a easy pick of the Behr "special mix" WITH the poly coating(a must) hands down. Reason being; The whites were clearer and brighter, the blacks were a push, and it had more pop. Bright scenes were just more pleasing, not by leaps and bounds, but noticeable. Remmember though, I watch mine either in total dark, or with a lamp on behind the projector.

I want to thank tiddler for helping me link thes images. And also for the "poly" coat. It added some pop that was more noticeable than these pictures show. I personally would recommend the poly highly!!


I found adding the polycoat had quite and improvement. It also adds tiny glitter speckles you can see at a certain angle in the right light.


Lights out


Lights out


Full lights on, as you can see....the GS did quite a bit better.

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

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post #66 of 179 Old 09-19-07, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Reposted with permission by stevem911

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Full lights on, again GS is much better.


Lights out, and the blacks are dead even. Interesting isnt it.

And more


Lights out, dead even again.


Full lights on, notice the freethrow circle...the black.


Lights out, blacks or a push once again


Lights out, As for color, both (all 4 really) did extremlly well


Full lights on, I wanted to show this because what i noticed is sports seem to fair better with more ambiant light. (maybe someone knows why) But the GS seems to look better with lights on, no question. But for ME....i wouldnt watch it this way because i know what i would be missing if i toned down the lights.

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

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post #67 of 179 Old 09-20-07, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

I got Steve's permission to repost this but would like to add some comments.

As always selecting a screen, be it a commercial screen or DIY ultimately comes down to personal preference. Gain gets used a little too liberally in my opinion. It's not the one definitive screen attribute that fits every situation and everyone's needs. With grays, especially darker grays, projector Lumens are a big factor in white levels. If you are not satisfied with how whites look to you, then a lighter gray is probably more suited to your tastes. I will say though that in most situations as long as the projector is bright enough for the shade of gray, without any white comparison reference, whites will look white. When side by side comparisons are done, there will be a difference. This even applies to commercial screens being compared.

In the above comparison Steve decided whites were a bigger factor than day time or full lights on performance, which is exactly what I was saying about personal preference.

I certainly am not arguing about this, it is a perfect example of screen selection and narrowing down choices. One additional step Steve could have done, but not something I would say would be a required test since he is obviously happy with the Behr solution, would have then been to test two similar grays that were both the same shade. He could have tested the Behr mix along side Sherwin William's Soothing White or True Value's Winter Mist to get an idea of performance between comparable shades.

Like I said, all in all this was a good comparison and example of someone auditioning grays to find the one that best fits their needs and tastes.

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

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post #68 of 179 Old 09-22-07, 05:49 PM
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Let's imagine I know nothing about mixing or buying paint.

Tomorrow I want to pick up 'winter mist' from the true value down the road. With everything I've read and all of the advice i've been given, i think this light gray is just what i need to deepen my blacks without sacrificing color accuracy/ white levels. It should also make it easier to view some hd programming with a bit of light in the room, if I ever choose to do so.

So I walk in and ask for a gallon of winter mist (I need a gallon because I need to paint the whole wall). Do I tell them I want it in a matte finish? A flat finish? Something else entirely?

Thanks for the answer. I know this question is entirely noobish, so I appreciate your tolerance of it!
post #69 of 179 Old 09-22-07, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

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Let's imagine I know nothing about mixing or buying paint.

Tomorrow I want to pick up 'winter mist' from the true value down the road. With everything I've read and all of the advice i've been given, i think this light gray is just what i need to deepen my blacks without sacrificing color accuracy/ white levels. It should also make it easier to view some hd programming with a bit of light in the room, if I ever choose to do so.

So I walk in and ask for a gallon of winter mist (I need a gallon because I need to paint the whole wall). Do I tell them I want it in a matte finish? A flat finish? Something else entirely?

Thanks for the answer. I know this question is entirely noobish, so I appreciate your tolerance of it!
True value doesn't have a 'matte' finish, not like the Duration brand Sherwin Williams sells.

What you can do is this, ask them what flat base is the most durable. Tiddler found some exterior finishes that are tougher than plain interior flat paint. They will be able to tell you what's available.

From your other posts, it sounded like you were leaning even darker. N8 really isn't a super dark gray and with a projector with the right amount of Lumen output it works very well with both lights off and total lights on. The question though is would you want your entire wall painted that color?

Gray Screen is very tough for a matte finish paint and doesn't look that bad. I used a program that lets you virtually paint your rooms and I was actually surprised at how it looked. Might want to try that to see how the room will look.

I agree with your PM to Tiddler, if you have already been shooting onto a white wall you probably already have your baseline, as long as the wall actually is white and not something like antique white or country white or some off white color like that. Still it should give you a good idea of overall performance.

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

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post #70 of 179 Old 09-22-07, 06:54 PM
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

It doesn't matter at all how the paint looks on the wall. The room is used solely for home theater- well, that and music listening.

It also doesn't matter whether the paint is difficult to clean or not. Again, this is a dedicated ht room, there are no kids in the house. There is a cat, and I have a couple of roomates.

I don't regret priming the wall today. The image is certainly better than what I was getting with the off white cream color that was there before. Also, this will make the painting process tomorrow much easier.

My projector is rated at 700 lumens, but unlike other projector's lumen claims, the Samsung actually comes close to what it claims.

So, gray screen, winter mountain, winter mist. I did spend fifty bucks today on primer and painting supplies. (i had nothing to start with)

If winter mountain is less expensive than gray screen, and it's closer to a neutral n8, and I don't have any concerns about being able to clean the painted surface (it will likely never be touched... except by the cat...) and a n8 is appropriate for how small my screen is, how dark my room is, and how bright my projector is, wouldn't it make sense to go with winter mountain over gray screen?

I'm certainly still open to the gray screen idea, but I figure I might as well save the 15 bucks on the gallon if winter mountain will work as well, if not better.
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