Idea #16: Digital Color Space Diagrams for Real Paints

The Problem

I’ve been considering getting into painting (like real painting … with oils), but there is a very large selection of paints to choose from in this world. Because of the highly technical ways of creating paints (also called chemistry), it is widely known that all brands and even all colors within a brand are not created equal. Buying paints randomly is not practical as quality tubes can cost $40+/tube. I can go to a few artists and find publicly posted preferences, but what I really need is a way to determine the color space of a given tube/product line and compare/contrast the technical specifications of the paint.

The Solution

A 3D diagram like the color space utility on Macs, primarily used for monitor and printer color-syncing, but for real-world paint brands. Such a tool can *perhaps* be created from information contained in the technical specs of the various painting companies that is sometimes published. More likely, however, someone out there will need to just buy every single paint, use them, let them dry, scan them in, and process them the same way printer color spaces are processed.

A quick note about color spaces

Color space can be intimidating, but it’s just not that hard so don’t get scared by it. The image below compares two color spaces using Mac’s ColorSync Utility. The white one is obviously larger and has more color than the other.


By comparison the image below is the inverse. You can see how a tool like this could quickly help you compare one product line of paint to another.