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Thread: Match paint mixtures with a portable colorimeter?

  1. #1
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    Match paint mixtures with a portable colorimeter?

    Is there a way to use a portable device to analyze the color of a surface and determine how to mix a paint color that matches it?

    Presumably, a device to analyze the color of surface is a "colorimeter" and such portable devices exist: (e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Anal...ds=colorimeter ). However, I haven't found any information about using such a device to mix paint colors.

    The way I imagine color analyzers in hardware stores working is that they analyze the color in some objective manner and then use a table to convert this analysis to a mixture formula - a certain "base" plut so many "shots" of various pigments. So the way I imagine matching a portable colorimeter working is that you'd measure the color in some physical units and then use a table or algorithm to determine how to formulate the paint mixture - which would probably be different for each different brand of paint (e.g. Behr vs Glliden vs Dunn-Edwards). Is that reasonable?

    Edit: I found this: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Muse-co.../dp/B01KKEMIF0 Anyone tried such a device?
    Last edited by Stephen Tashiro; 11-13-2017 at 2:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sherwin-Williams has an app for your smartphone. https://www.sherwin-williams.com/hom...lorsnap-mobile

    Benjamin Moore also has an app.

    As does Behr.

    Just search for "paint color analysis app"
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Sanford View Post
    Sherwin-Williams has an app for your smartphone. https://www.sherwin-williams.com/hom...lorsnap-mobile

    Benjamin Moore also has an app.

    As does Behr.

    Just search for "paint color analysis app"
    From my point of view, it would be easier to have a standalone device than figuring out how to use my smartphone! However, if the smart phone apps really work, I suppose I'll "bite the bullet" and learn.

    It seems to me that the color sensors on phones would have to be standardized in order for such an app to work well. Perhaps the sensors are indeed rigorously calibrated to some standard.

  4. #4
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    Stephen, every brand of phone and paint company combination will be different as you suspect. However, if you stick to one phone and one manufacturer you will probably be able to learn the idiosyncrasies of the set up. Colour matching is a skill. All paint I purchase for the shop is cross checked by eye at the supplier end to make sure the computer hasn't stuffed up which they do. Do you want to do this so you can order a from the shop or are you going to mix it yourself? If I need to match something, I take it into the distributor and they analyse it for me. Their $20K machine is heaps better than any app and a skilled matcher checks it. If it's wrong, they pay. Cheers
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Lomman View Post
    Stephen, every brand of phone and paint company combination will be different as you suspect
    If that's a prediction, I'd agree with it. However, I'd like to know the details of some particular situations.

    Do you want to do this so you can order a from the shop or are you going to mix it yourself?
    Initially, I want to order the paint from a store.

    If I need to match something, I take it into the distributor and they analyse it for me. Their $20K machine is heaps better than any app and a skilled matcher checks it. If it's wrong, they pay.
    But if I need to match a color of a painted concrete block wall, I don't want to try chipping off thin pieces of concrete block that will fit into the hardware store's paint analyzer. Also, for many applications where a surface is not of a uniform color, it would be better to have an application that worked from a photograph instead of focusing-in on a small area of the surface. The photograph could be taken under the lighting conditions that are of interest.

    I agree that for matching paint to uniformly painted surfaces, the hardware stores' paint analyzers do a good job. Even in that case, it would handy to have a portable analyzer so you wouldn't have to do things like cut-out small samples from drywall.

  6. #6
    I'd just have fan decks on hand for every brand you have available in your area. A color in at least one of the decks will match any color in the field by eye with a physical visual confirmation. You can then have your paint supplier dispense primary color tints into plastic squeeze bottles for field adjustment of the actual mix if needed. Thats what we do.

    Color calibration of digital photos with daylight, fluorescent (green), incandescant (warm yellow), adjacent surfaces affecting color cast in the images, etc would be a nightmare.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    I'd just have fan decks on hand for every brand you have available in your area. A color in at least one of the decks will match any color in the field by eye with a physical visual confirmation
    You actually do this on outdoor projects? - iike painted concrete block walls? I can never match the "general color" of a non-uniform block wall with a color card using by my own eye and visual confirmation.

    I can use a color deck to match the color of painted drywall and do pretty well if the wall happens to be painted with one of the paints in the deck. However, often one needs to get a formula for paint that is custom mixed. I wonder if any of the smartphone apps can do that.

  8. #8
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    And don't go by color names as CVS used Glidden Swiss Coffee and some painters would try to cheap out and use MAB Swiss Coffee that was way off. It had to match some P lam. We did one job that they did this and we told them that it was the wrong color and the superintend said no it was right and to do the install. We had him sign a amendment that if it wasn't correct that it was on him. All the graphics had to be redone and he wanted us to do it for free as we put it on the wrong color walls. His company ended up paying for all new graphics and the install.

  9. #9
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    Stephen, it's a prediction about the apps based on general suspicion I guess. To me it is a lot less effort and a lot more reliable to take a paint sample off the wall. Cheers

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