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I was playing with the calc at ProjectorCentral and it estimates that I get 13fl at 124" with a Screen Gain of 1.0. But what is the gain for scorpion painted on a wall? I saw the link in mech's sig but could not find Scorpion or Cream & Sugar in the list.
The gain values of those mixes haven't been measured yet. Mech should be doing them soon.

BTW, the minimum fL. numbers we state for mixes uses the default 1.0 gain value at PJC. At least that's the way I do it.

Also, do the screen gain numbers on PC assume the lamp is in high mode? I am running mine in low, so what would be the typical impact of this?
My understanding is that they are for the default mode of the PJ, which most of the time is high or normal. A few PJ's actually default to low or econo mode. I believe they also under-value the fL. number by 25% to account for some lamp aging, but I may have misunderstood that.

As a very rough guide, I would take off 25% from high mode for using econo mode.

I know most people are on a shoe-string budget, but it really helps to actually have a light meter to take accurate illumination readings of your PJ; then there is no guessing or assuming involved. An inexpensive Lux meter is all that is needed. I got mine for something like $35 at Amazon.com. These are not photographic light meters, they are more sensitive that those (and cheaper!). They do a great job of measuring the light output of flashlights too. I mean who doesn't want to know exactly how bright their flashlight is right? :rofl: Being more serious, such a meter will let you monitor just how much brightness you PJ lamp loses through use. It will also allow you to measure the real Contrast Ratio of your PJ.
 

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Well, a long time has passed and I have some updates. I am now at the point where the only thing in the way of a DIY screen formula is my procrastination...

Here's a shot of the room as it stands right now:

The screen is three coats of Kilz2 primer.

I have run through a calibration with a Spyder3 and saw improved results. I would like to run through the calib again to recheck all my numbers but its, uh, so boring/time consuming to do.

I can also say that I am very happy with the results I see just on the Kilz2. I can tell my blacks are not black enough, but it doesn't yet bother me.

My gauge is this: Widescreen content adds black bars top and bottom. Blacks displayed in the picture are indistinguishable from the black bars top and bottom, mean my greyscale calibration /contrast/brightness must be pretty much bang on. Right?
However, the blacks are nowhere near as dark as the brown paint on my wall around the screen (which is not surprising).

How black would a DIY get my blacks compared to the chocolate brown paint surrounding my screen?

The other reason I have not got to DIYing is I am scared to spray with the Wagner Control Spray. I am not looking forward to using it and did not get a chance to practice outside before the weather got cold. I'll have to mask the hell out of the room and am fearful that I will not spray evenly. Right now, my screen surface (rollered) is very nice with no obvious lap marks, etc...

So, do I stop at "good enough", or forge ahead with a Scorpion spray job? I need some encouraging and confidence building, because right now we are thoroughly enjoying the theatre as is.

BTW, if you wanna see a nifty 3D panorama of my theatre, check this link:
http://fieldofview.com/flickr/?page=photos/dmswart/4081995654/] (requires Shockwave Player)
 

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... I can also say that I am very happy with the results I see just on the Kilz2. I can tell my blacks are not black enough, but it doesn't yet bother me.
This is key; there is no law anywhere (that I know of :rolleyes:) that says you have to make your screen to a given standard. Your satisfaction is all that is required. :T

My gauge is this: Widescreen content adds black bars top and bottom. Blacks displayed in the picture are indistinguishable from the black bars top and bottom, mean my greyscale calibration /contrast/brightness must be pretty much bang on. Right?
I would assume so, but I'll let others with more experience with PJ calibration answer that one.

However, the blacks are nowhere near as dark as the brown paint on my wall around the screen (which is not surprising).
Is this with all room lights out and only the PJ on? I find that even in my all-white shop (where my PJ is) when the lights go out my screen looks like a window into another reality and I focus on the image rather than on the surrounding walls/floor/ceiling. :dontknow:

How black would a DIY get my blacks compared to the chocolate brown paint surrounding my screen?
At some point, as you go darker and darker with your screen paint, I would expect you would reach a point where the PJ "spill" on your dark wall would appear to have the same blacks as the screen, but this point depends on the combination of many things (PJ lumens, PJ contrast, scene brightness, screen gray shade etc.) and finally on your ability to see the difference. As a guess, I would say that the screen would have to be pretty dark before blacks looked as they do when projected on a dark brown (which is really a dark yellowish-orange!).

The other reason I have not got to DIYing is I am scared to spray with the Wagner Control Spray. I am not looking forward to using it and did not get a chance to practice outside before the weather got cold. I'll have to mask the hell out of the room and am fearful that I will not spray evenly. Right now, my screen surface (rollered) is very nice with no obvious lap marks, etc...

So, do I stop at "good enough", or forge ahead with a Scorpion spray job? I need some encouraging and confidence building, because right now we are thoroughly enjoying the theatre as is.
Since you have run out of warm weather for the year, I would recommend you enjoy your screen as-is until you can get some practice time in with the Wagner. Get a feel for how the gun works and how much over-spray it produces (which isn't much, but some). My experience is that if I'm afraid I might mess something up when I'm doing it, I usually do. It's a mind-set that almost ensures something will go wrong. Paint with confidence, not trepidation. :T

That said, even if you decide to stay with a white screen I would recommend eventually painting over the Kilz2. It is a primer and not designed to be used as a top-coat. All my Kilz2 samples have visibility discolored over time (about 6 months) if not coated with regular paint. And while spraying will generally produce a smoother screen than rolling, BW/Scorpion/C&S can be rolled. ;)

BTW, if you wanna see a nifty 3D panorama of my theatre, check this link:
http://fieldofview.com/flickr/?page=photos/dmswart/4081995654/] (requires Shockwave Player)
That is cool! :bigsmile: For folks that don't know, you can control the panorama using your mouse and also zoom into and out of the image while right-clicking the mouse.

Two things: 1. I didn't know you were a member of identical septuplets, and 2. I don't know what you or your brother are doing to that right-hand speaker, but it's unseemly. :devil:
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Is this with all room lights out and only the PJ on? I find that even in my all-white shop (where my PJ is) when the lights go out my screen looks like a window into another reality and I focus on the image rather than on the surrounding walls/floor/ceiling. :dontknow:
This is with the lights out. I would agree with your "window into another reality" statement for ym experience. Which is the point of the brown paint mostly, to make it be non-distracting.

Since you have run out of warm weather for the year, I would recommend you enjoy your screen as-is until you can get some practice time in with the Wagner. Get a feel for how the gun works and how much over-spray it produces (which isn't much, but some).
The most I was able to do was fill it with water and spray my brick work. I've never really worked with a sprayer before. I am basically going to cover every surface in the room with plastic drop cloth since I am very afraid of the mess it could make.

My experience is that if I'm afraid I might mess something up when I'm doing it, I usually do. It's a mind-set that almost ensures something will go wrong. Paint with confidence, not trepidation. :T
I would agree with that. I'll find a 4x8 sheet of hardboard and spray multiple coats of something on it, but its going to be a while.

That said, even if you decide to stay with a white screen I would recommend eventually painting over the Kilz2. It is a primer and not designed to be used as a top-coat. All my Kilz2 samples have visibility discolored over time (about 6 months) if not coated with regular paint. And while spraying will generally produce a smoother screen than rolling, BW/Scorpion/C&S can be rolled. ;)
So, what if I were to mix up some Scorpion and roll it. Will it "act" much different than the Kilz2 from an application standpoint? My theory being, if I could satisfactorily roll the K2, surely I can do the same with Scorpion... If I am happy with the result, then perhaps I am done? If not, I can lightly sand and then spray a few coats on top next spring (or force myself to learn the Wagner sooner). Also, if I mix up enough to both roll and spray, should it be fine to store the Scorpion for a few months in the can or is it best to use it soon after mixing? There's nothing in there that would make me think it can't be stored...

That is cool! :bigsmile: For folks that don't know, you can control the panorama using your mouse and also zoom into and out of the image while right-clicking the mouse.

Two things: 1. I didn't know you were a member of identical septuplets, and 2. I don't know what you or your brother are doing to that right-hand speaker, but it's unseemly. :devil:
As you can guess, the image is stitched together from multiple shots and I am in each one. :) As I told my kids, Daddy is pretending to climb on the speaker. I will say, I love my Paradigm Studio speakers though...

Oh, don't forget to look down.
 

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The most I was able to do was fill it with water and spray my brick work. I've never really worked with a sprayer before. I am basically going to cover every surface in the room with plastic drop cloth since I am very afraid of the mess it could make.
Perhaps Mech can address this soon, but I have never used the Wagner CS. All I can say is that my compressor-feed HVLP normally has around a two foot maxium area beyond the screen that has any danger of getting liquid paint over-spray on it. Other items within about 8 feet might get some paint DUST on them, but it literally is dust (as in very small droplets of paint that have dried before landing on the object). I understand your concern though, better safe than sorry! :T

I will also say that shooting plain water is much different than spraying thinned latex paint. The water will make a finer mist and a wider "fan". I have found that even properly thinned paint will only have 1/2 to 3/4 the fan width of water through my HVLP gun.

So, what if I were to mix up some Scorpion and roll it. Will it "act" much different than the Kilz2 from an application standpoint? My theory being, if I could satisfactorily roll the K2, surely I can do the same with Scorpion... If I am happy with the result, then perhaps I am done? If not, I can lightly sand and then spray a few coats on top next spring (or force myself to learn the Wagner sooner). Also, if I mix up enough to both roll and spray, should it be fine to store the Scorpion for a few months in the can or is it best to use it soon after mixing? There's nothing in there that would make me think it can't be stored...
Scorpion™ is a bit more than a full "N step" down from Kilz2 and will appear visibly darker in room light, but compared to the dark brown of your wall it will still be very light. You will get darker blacks with Scorpion™ than with Kilz2, and also richer colors. How much difference there is varies from person to person due to personal preferences and perceptions. I don't think you would regret using Scorpion™.

Scorpion™ is a reflective mix and will require a bit more care in rolling that Kilz2, but not an inordinate amount (it ain't rocket science :)). Many have rolled BW/Scorpion/C&S with no problems; And if you like the appearance of Scorpion™, you're done!

BW/Scorpion/C&S stores just like regular latex paint (don't let it freeze!). Some have reported a problem storing BW mixes that used Black Jack Aluminum, but BJA isn't an authorized BW ingredient.

As you can guess, the image is stitched together from multiple shots and I am in each one. :) As I told my kids, Daddy is pretending to climb on the speaker. I will say, I love my Paradigm Studio speakers though...

Oh, don't forget to look down.
I had a bit of fun at the end of my last post, I hope you didn't mind. That really is a cool panorama, I enjoyed it very much! Yep, I looked down... building a HT is exhausting work! :bigsmile:
 

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Perhaps Mech can address this soon, but I have never used the Wagner CS. All I can say is that my compressor-feed HVLP normally has around a two foot maxium area beyond the screen that has any danger of getting liquid paint over-spray on it. Other items within about 8 feet might get some paint DUST on them, but it literally is dust (as in very small droplets of paint that have dried before landing on the object). I understand your concern though, better safe than sorry! :T

I will also say that shooting plain water is much different than spraying thinned latex paint. The water will make a finer mist and a wider "fan". I have found that even properly thinned paint will only have 1/2 to 3/4 the fan width of water through my HVLP gun.
Okay, good to know. I ran out of time this summer with all the other stuff to do... I certainly got far enough to be able to impress people with a demo of my HT and they certainly think its done, but I am not done yet... Mostly I have to bite the bullet on a custom formula and build my velvet frame for the screen (a bit uncertain about how to hang it, plus velvet is bloody expensive...)

Mech? Any tips on using the Wagner Control Spray? Should I be scared?

Scorpion™ is a bit more than a full "N step" down from Kilz2 and will appear visibly darker in room light, but compared to the dark brown of your wall it will still be very light. You will get darker blacks with Scorpion™ than with Kilz2, and also richer colors. How much difference there is varies from person to person due to personal preferences and perceptions. I don't think you would regret using Scorpion™.
Ye, I have done an agonizing amount of reading both here and AVS. I am set on a Shack formula as opposed to some of the formulas touted at AVS, and am really picking Scorpion as the compromise between C&S and BW since I am scared BW will be too dark and C&S not enough of a diff from the Kilz2.

Scorpion™ is a reflective mix and will require a bit more care in rolling that Kilz2, but not an inordinate amount (it ain't rocket science :)). Many have rolled BW/Scorpion/C&S with no problems; And if you like the appearance of Scorpion™, you're done!
Well, I feel like I am wimping out, but maybe I'll just roll it. I am a dab hand at rolling since I have painted most of my house (and am a three coats of paint guy). If I do not like the results, then it will force me to practice with the Wagner after which I will lightly sand the rolled Scorpion and spray over top.

BW/Scorpion/C&S stores just like regular latex paint (don't let it freeze!). Some have reported a problem storing BW mixes that used Black Jack Aluminum, but BJA isn't an authorized BW ingredient.
I have all my paints stored in a room in basement, so no risk of freezing.

A while back we were PMing about a new formula for Scorpion based on C&S plus an N6 paint, did that go anywhere?

I had a bit of fun at the end of my last post, I hope you didn't mind. That really is a cool panorama, I enjoyed it very much! Yep, I looked down... building a HT is exhausting work! :bigsmile:
I don't mind at all, the picture itself is supposed to be fun, as well as a neat demo of both my HT and my friend's abilities with a fish eye lens. I believe he wrote the algorithm that stitches the pictures together.
 

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My two cents is that yes spraying results in a smoother surface, but as much as some people insist and say it is, it isn't required in order to get an exceptional screen. I have been saying this for years and it is true... If you can paint a wall or room in your house then you can paint a screen.

I find it baffling that so many people can paint a wall without a single roller mark, but then are scared off when it comes to screens. Probably the biggest possible problem is that people may be over working the paint when it comes to painting a screen.
 

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Well now I am all excited to go with a custom formula again... Didn't take much to get there. I am going to try rollering it first.

So I can get the ingredients for C&S at Michaels/Home Depot. But I can't seem to easily find the alu needed for BW. Should I just try C&S first? How different will it be than the Kilz2?

Would I be able to roller two coats of C&S on my 126" diag screen and have enough left over to do a Scorpion? Or should I not bother and go straight to Scorpion. I am most confident it is Scorpion for me, I just don;t know about getting all the ingredients. Unless you have the "easier" Scorpion formula ready for me to try Harp...
 

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Using the Wagner CS is no different than an HVLP with a compressor - over spray wise. Very little travels very far. I'd guess most stays within 4 feet.

And I agree with Bill, if you can paint a wall, you can paint a screen. No sprayer should ever be required.
 

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Well, I feel like I am wimping out, but maybe I'll just roll it. I am a dab hand at rolling since I have painted most of my house (and am a three coats of paint guy). If I do not like the results, then it will force me to practice with the Wagner after which I will lightly sand the rolled Scorpion and spray over top.
You are not wimping out by rolling instead of spraying! I prefer to spray instead of roll just because I think it's easier and a bit faster. Others feel differently, so it again comes down to personal preference.

Mixes that are sprayed on are by necessity thinner than most mixes that are rolled, so they naturally level out better than most rolled ones; but a mix that is rolled on with a good self-leveling paint and a high quality low nap roller is many times indistinguishable in use from a sprayed screen.

The main proponent of spraying at AVS is also the main proponent of mixes that are very high in mica content. Such mixes are almost impossible to roll because of so much mica.

A while back we were PMing about a new formula for Scorpion based on C&S plus an N6 paint, did that go anywhere?
In fact, yes! Several new mixes are in the works that are showing a lot of promise, but have yet to be proven out by large-panel testing - and we are all about testing here. ;) The sad fact is that myself, and others on our development team, got precious little done on the mix front this summer due to a number of factors that I will just lump together and call "Life Situations". A number of health issues arose (one very serious, but the prognosis is good). We don't do this for a living so it takes longer to get things done. Sometimes "spare time" is very hard to find. :rolleyes:

It turns out that the mix we were talking about via PM may also have an International version available as well (although the ingredients will be different and it will have a different name). A full range of N values will be achievable from C&S to below BW (bottom N value not determined at this time).

While it is possible to create literally any N value of mix in this system (from N9 to ~N6), this can't reliably be done during mixing. Paint dries darker than it looks when wet so making a shade "by eye" when mixing the two paints (one light, one dark) just doesn't work. We have also determined in our testing that it makes little sense to have mixes any closer than about 0.5 N value apart, any smaller "N difference" is almost imperceptible in a screen.
 

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In fact, yes! Several new mixes are in the works that are showing a lot of promise, but have yet to be proven out by large-panel testing - and we are all about testing here. ;) The sad fact is that myself, and others on our development team, got precious little done on the mix front this summer due to a number of factors that I will just lump together and call "Life Situations". A number of health issues arose (one very serious, but the prognosis is good). We don't do this for a living so it takes longer to get things done. Sometimes "spare time" is very hard to find. :rolleyes:
Sorry to hear about medical issues... as for spare time, all I am doing is trying to finish my HT and have been unable to get the spare time for that, so I can fully sympathize. I almost feel guilty if a weekend goes by and I didn't do something to progress things along - I say "almost", because last weekend I watched two movies with my older two kids and played a couple of hours Beatles Rock Band as a family down there, so there's not too much guilt when we are actually thoroughly enjoying the space :)

I for one appreciate (and am somewhat blown away by) the dedication you guys have to all this. You have already put in enough effort/hours to be guilt free, peons like me must simply wait, or get developing our own formulas. I am happy to contribute in some way if I can, such as being an early guinea pig for one of the formulas, I don;t really know how else to contribute other than sing your praises...

It turns out that the mix we were talking about via PM may also have an International version available as well (although the ingredients will be different and it will have a different name). A full range of N values will be achievable from C&S to below BW (bottom N value not determined at this time).
International version? Does it speak with a foreign accent? Le Scorpion? Das Scorpion? I take it you mean made with products more readily available outside the US. I am in Canada. We certainly have some of the same mainstream paint brands: Behr, Benjamin Moore, etc. Its the more "exotic" ingredients I couldn't find (e.g. AAA). Delta was at our Michael's last time I checked.

While it is possible to create literally any N value of mix in this system (from N9 to ~N6), this can't reliably be done during mixing. Paint dries darker than it looks when wet so making a shade "by eye" when mixing the two paints (one light, one dark) just doesn't work. We have also determined in our testing that it makes little sense to have mixes any closer than about 0.5 N value apart, any smaller "N difference" is almost imperceptible in a screen.
Awww, I was hoping for an N8.274 for my screen...:sneeky:

Out of interest, is it linear, the amount of dark you add?
i.e. If I start with an N9 C&S. Do I add 1 "measure" of N6 per 0.5 N level I want to go down, or is it more complicated than that i.e. 0.5 goes to N8.5, 1.2 goes to N8, 2.1 goes to N7.5?

If it matters, I'd be shooting for an N8.
 

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I for one appreciate (and am somewhat blown away by) the dedication you guys have to all this. You have already put in enough effort/hours to be guilt free, peons like me must simply wait, or get developing our own formulas. I am happy to contribute in some way if I can, such as being an early guinea pig for one of the formulas, I don;t really know how else to contribute other than sing your praises...
If you are interested, I should be able to come up with a N8 version of the experimental mix using standard C&S™ and a N6 paint, but it might take 2 or 3 days (I have to wait for the paint to dry and cure before taking spectro readings). Keep in mind this mix is untested under projection.

International version? Does it speak with a foreign accent? Le Scorpion? Das Scorpion? I take it you mean made with products more readily available outside the US. I am in Canada. We certainly have some of the same mainstream paint brands: Behr, Benjamin Moore, etc. Its the more "exotic" ingredients I couldn't find (e.g. AAA). Delta was at our Michael's last time I checked.
The International version would use all Liquitex artist paints; they are available in most countries.

Out of interest, is it linear, the amount of dark you add?
i.e. If I start with an N9 C&S. Do I add 1 "measure" of N6 per 0.5 N level I want to go down, or is it more complicated than that i.e. 0.5 goes to N8.5, 1.2 goes to N8, 2.1 goes to N7.5?

If it matters, I'd be shooting for an N8.
Nope, it's not linear, and that is a potential problem with these mixes. When we develop a mix we try to make things as simple as possible for the end-user. Of all our mixes so far only Scorpion™ N8.5 needs to be measured in any way; the other mixes are just emptying paint cans or bottles in a bucket and stirring. We like simple, simple is good. :bigsmile: The problem is that designing simple isn't so simple.

To get a N8 with the C&S™/N6 mix you will probably have to measure out the N6 paint.
 

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If you are interested, I should be able to come up with a N8 version of the experimental mix using standard C&S™ and a N6 paint, but it might take 2 or 3 days (I have to wait for the paint to dry and cure before taking spectro readings). Keep in mind this mix is untested under projection.

To get a N8 with the C&S™/N6 mix you will probably have to measure out the N6 paint.
I'd be prepared to give it a try. The theory is sound in that C&S is already well tested and adding a N6 shouldn't skew it if it is a "good" N6. Measuring the N6 is no biggie on the assumption that the impact of mis-measuring it slightly simply affect the resulting N# as opposed to skewing its R, G or B. Is that good logic?

So if, for example, you say "take 40oz of C&S and add 5oz of this N6" and I end up adding 4.9oz, then I would simply get an N8.1 instead of an N8, but still a neutral colour. The custom measures in the other formulas are more "scary" because adding slightly more of the red than the green has an impact in the neutrality of the resulting mix.
 

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Using the Wagner CS is no different than an HVLP with a compressor - over spray wise. Very little travels very far. I'd guess most stays within 4 feet.

And I agree with Bill, if you can paint a wall, you can paint a screen. No sprayer should ever be required.
mech you know why it is always pushed don't you? Especially since the person that pushes it used to be a die hard roller...

It has very little to do with it 'being the best'. I fully agree that it does make a smoother surface, but we also don't necessarily need a glass smooth surface. Some surface texture helps to diffuse the light, too much of course is bad. My opinion is the more complicated people make things look, the more dependant others are on that person for help.

Spraying has it's own set of issues, especially for someone totally new to it. The number 1 problem- RUNS. Now... I know exactly what the master sprayer would say to that. 'If you use the sprayer right and take your time and listen to advice you won't have any problems with runs!' Interestingly... I can say the exact same thing about rolling!

Don is right. It is a matter of personal preference. I know a guy that can use an adhesive roller and could get a coat of paint down so smooth you'd swear it was sprayed glass. I never could get it that smooth myself, but he sure could.
 

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mech you know why it is always pushed don't you? Especially since the person that pushes it used to be a die hard roller...

It has very little to do with it 'being the best'. I fully agree that it does make a smoother surface, but we also don't necessarily need a glass smooth surface. Some surface texture helps to diffuse the light, too much of course is bad. My opinion is the more complicated people make things look, the more dependant others are on that person for help.

Spraying has it's own set of issues, especially for someone totally new to it. The number 1 problem- RUNS. Now... I know exactly what the master spraying would say to that. 'If you use the sprayer right and take your time and listen to advice you won't have any problems with runs!' Interestingly... I can say the exact same thing about rolling!

Don is right. It is a matter of personal preference. I know a guy that can use an adhesive roller and could get a coat of paint down so smooth you'd swear it was sprayed glass. I never could get it that smooth myself, but he sure could.
I agree with you Bill, theres a lot of variables when spraying (gun settings, air pressure, thinning) and unless your experienced it's too easy to make a mistake, the trade off between a sprayed screen and rolled is minimal and if your sitting a normal distance back it's near impossible to tell the difference IMO. FWIW, I'm fairly experienced in spraying but I still opted to my roll my screen.
 

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I'd be prepared to give it a try. The theory is sound in that C&S is already well tested and adding a N6 shouldn't skew it if it is a "good" N6. Measuring the N6 is no biggie on the assumption that the impact of mis-measuring it slightly simply affect the resulting N# as opposed to skewing its R, G or B. Is that good logic?
That is correct. A neutral added to a neutral equals a neutral. :T

So if, for example, you say "take 40oz of C&S and add 5oz of this N6" and I end up adding 4.9oz, then I would simply get an N8.1 instead of an N8, but still a neutral colour. The custom measures in the other formulas are more "scary" because adding slightly more of the red than the green has an impact in the neutrality of the resulting mix.
Again correct! Adding too much or too little of the N6 would only affect the shade of the resulting mix and not the color neutrality. While they say "never say never", I simply cannot think of a reason we would ever have a formula that called for separate RGBY pigments such as the "scary" (good term :bigsmile:) mix you alluded to; there is simply no rational reason to do so.
 

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While they say "never say never", I simply cannot think of a reason we would ever have a formula that called for separate RGBY pigments such as the "scary" (good term :bigsmile:) mix you alluded to; there is simply no rational reason to do so.
The rational, or sham, has always been that the Red, Blue, and Green pigments interact with the projected light in a 'specially designed and engineered way' that makes the screen better than anything else. I find that extremely unlikely right away considering the person that says this has never had a single reading taken on anything. It's hard to 'special engineer' something without actually using science or taking readings to verify the results! Without conducting QC tests, it's nothing more than trail and error based on personal preferences and eyes. D65 neutral is the industry standard for a reason and without testing, a person will never know if they hit a bullseye, are close, or a mile off.

Once again, and this has been stated many many times too... if a spectrophotometer sees something as neutral, it is neutral. It doesn't matter how it was made, it is neutral. So an RGB neutral gray (extremely difficult to make in a laboratory let alone by eye without any equipment- one thing off even in the slightest and you don't get neutral) is no different than a neutral gray made from RYB, or (a mind blower) Yellow and Blue, or any other combination of pigments that result in a final product of neutral gray.

As ZMan mentioned in another thread, there is one thing that does kind of come into play, and that is pigment purity. The purer the pigment, the more it will reflect that particular spectrum. This is because it doesn't have other impurities absorbing the light, so a higher percentage gets reflected back. It also makes things easier to reproduce with a lower DE. So if you make a neutral gray using as pure of pigments as you can get, you will have the brightest screen possible before even applying an optical coating! This is because you don't have a lot of impurities in the mix that are absorbing the spectrum you actually want reflected back. The best balance is when the lab 'a' and 'b' channels are under 1.0 and equal but opposite in polarity. These spectral curves are the flattest of all I have seen.

We have been able to consistently get a low DE with house paints, but we have also seen some wild variations too. Even professional house painters have a trick they do. They never use one 5gal bucket until it's empty and then open another... they always pour buckets together and mix them up. This way they get a blend between the two batches so when they run out of paint you can't tell where they opened the new can. House paints are okay, but probably the lowest quality paints out there aside from craft paints (note- there is a huge difference between craft paints and artist grade paints).

Black Widow, Scorpion, and C&S may look simple, but a lot of hard work went into making something complex simple and repeatable by anyone! :)

So to everyone out there, don't ever forget that just because something is complex or complicated doesn't mean it is the best, it is just more complicated is all. And the more complex something is, the higher the odds are that something will go wrong. I can also say with very high confidence that repeatability with such an item is almost non-existent because a little too little color here because not everything came out of the syringe, or a tad too much color there... I'll say each and every screen made with more than a couple components will all have different readings. The method simply is not repeatable, at least not within an acceptable DE I should say.

Nobody is saying everyone has to take readings if they want to play around with DIY screens. It's when people start saying something beats everything hands down is when some specs and proof is needed. Plus we did the hard work so users don't have to!
 

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Wow wbasset, quite the in-depth explanation there. While some of the more technical aspects of the art and science will likely always evade me, I can follow along well enough, especially with the helpful posts from you guys.

I'll sum up your post for you though: K.I.S.S. It applies to much of life, not just screen formulas!

One question/thought occurred to me when reading your post, what is the expected variability from the paint store? How precisely calibrated are the pigment machines from store to store? Any formula that uses as "non-base" paint (i.e. where someone in the store will shoot pigment into a base to give you Winter Mist or whatever) is surely at the mercy of:
1. The accuracy of the pigment shooting machine
2. The care or skill of the employee mixing the paint
3. Other factors (such as subtle diffs in pigments from time to time/region to region, etc)

Even the base paints could "drift" over time as the factory that produces them makes changes...

It strikes me that we encourage a fairly decent amount of anality in the care with which we add our ingredients, but there's no guarantee that each ingredient is identical to that of the formula creator.

It certainly seems like you have mitigated as much of this as you can, especially by minimizing the places in which the user can screw it up (e.g. multiple colour pigments) but there's still some elements that are out of everyone's control.

I am basically looking to roll a close proximity to an N8 and have the variability be in the shade of neutral, not in the RGB "mix". If it ends up as N8.27, then, my eyes will tell me if its good. As I said yesterday, I am actually quite happy with the results from Kilz2. So any improvement on this would be a great thing.
 
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