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View Full Version : Where do I find 18% grey paint?


carseasoncity
2nd of September 2007 (Sun), 16:58
I will be ready to paint my studio walls this week, hopefully. Where on God's green earth do I find 18% grey paint. I've asked at Lowe's and Sherwin Williams and neither of them knew what I was talking about. An internet search brought up nothing. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Brandi

SkipD
2nd of September 2007 (Sun), 17:10
You aren't going to find a paint that is truly a neutral 18% gray. The best bet would be to take a standard gray card to a place that custom-colors paint and have them match it.

In reality, you don't need the walls in your studio to be a true 18% gray. All you want is something that will be fairly close to neutral as opposed to a color with a red cast, for example.

asysin2leads
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 00:04
Not to mention that the type of paint will effect the result. A flat will have less shine/reflection than a gloss enamel.

sapearl
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 00:15
Cars, what is your reason for wanting "18% Gray Paint?" Is it so you can have something to meter off, or are you just looking for a generic neutral colored background to shoot against?

cskn0125
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 04:27
You could bring in a grey card to lowes and have their color matcher scan it and apparently they will come out with an exact match.

But like Stuart said....why?

For curiosity, you may want to read this...

http://75.126.234.18/forum/showthread.php?t=345789&highlight=happy+painted

carseasoncity
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 09:26
You could bring in a grey card to lowes and have their color matcher scan it and apparently they will come out with an exact match.

But like Stuart said....why?

For curiosity, you may want to read this...

http://75.126.234.18/forum/showthread.php?t=345789&highlight=happy+painted


Thanks for the input so far. I had already read the above link and that was what I was basing my decision on. Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought that grey would be the best choice...no color cast, better light control...now you guys have me doubting myself.

By the way, no one has responded to my previous post about the studio floor. It's concrete should I just seal it? Or stain it and seal it? Will a colored stain cause a color cast?

Thanks for the input.
Brandi

Andy_T
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 09:32
Thanks for the input so far. I had already read the above link and that was what I was basing my decision on. Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought that grey would be the best choice...no color cast, better light control...now you guys have me doubting myself.


Grey yes, but it does not necessarily need to be 18% grey.
Any grey without a colour cast should do.

Best regards,
Andy

sapearl
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 10:42
Sorry about that - missed that part, senior moment :rolleyes:. Yes, I would definately seal over the concrete floor in some manner. As a normal process, concrete will always "dust" as it wears over time.

I have a basement but no studio there. I painted the floor of the utility side years ago and it makes it very easy to clean, plus it looks good. If you paint it, I would use some sort of neutral color to avoid simultaneous contrast (color pollution) on whatever it is you are trying to light.

The "nice" side of the basement I put down a nice vinyl tile about 10 years ago, but you can but down hard wood floor, roll vinyl goods, etc. any number of things. I would NOT put down carpetting.

..........By the way, no one has responded to my previous post about the studio floor. It's concrete should I just seal it? Or stain it and seal it? Will a colored stain cause a color cast?

Thanks for the input.
Brandi

FlashZebra
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 10:44
How did this mania for 18% gray for studio walls and ceiling get started?

Enjoy! Lon

SkipD
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 10:53
How did this mania for 18% gray for studio wall and ceiling get started?

Enjoy! LonI think we can blame Robert (TMR Design). :rolleyes::lol:

Andy_T
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 10:56
I mean, hey, it's a cool colour.

Maybe it will not lift up your spirits when post-processing pictures, but it will have a certain classy style.

Best regards,
Andy

FlashZebra
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 11:03
I think we can blame Robert (TMR Design). :rolleyes::lol:
I think he painted his walls a "middle" gray. But I do not recall any 18% intrigue.

That is my point, why all the mania about 18% gray.

Enjoy! Lon

TMR Design
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 11:07
I think we can blame Robert (TMR Design). :rolleyes::lol:

Hi Skip,

Throw all the blame my way if you like :D. I can say from first hand experience with a small space that I would rather have gray walls than either white or black. With white I am forced to use quite a bit of negative fill and more flags and gobos to isolate and control return to areas already carefully lit. With black I have no light returning to the scene at all, which can be just as bad. Middle gray gave me exactly what I wanted with all the control I need and want. When I had white walls I could both see and measure all the light bouncing around the room causing problems and making me work harder to control my subject and background area.

Size of your space or studio plays a big part in all of this but I, for one, recommend using middle gray when your space is small.

You can of course take a gray card to Home Depot of Lowes and have them color match. I chose a gray that appeared to be middle gray and I wasn't concerned about calibration. I'm not using it to set exposure or white balance. It's a just a middle ground that doesn't reflect or absorb 100% of the light.

TMR Design
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 11:08
I think he painted his walls a "middle" gray. But I do not recall any 18% intrigue.

That is my point, why all the mania about 18%.

Enjoy! Lon

Exactly Lon. My concern was not about 18% reflectivity. I simply wanted a middle ground to handle the reflection and unwanted contribution of light.

carseasoncity
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 11:39
Exactly Lon. My concern was not about 18% reflectivity. I simply wanted a middle ground to handle the reflection and unwanted contribution of light.


Sorry for all the confusion. I didn't realize that any grey would work. And it wasn't TMR that specified 18%, but further down in his post someone else mentioned it. How do you know if the grey is truly grey though? Most greys have hints of blue or green and sometimes pinkish cast to them. I just wanted to make sure I got something that wouldn't cause a color cast. I guess my best bet would be to take the grey card in and have it matched.

Brandi

TMR Design
3rd of September 2007 (Mon), 11:57
Hi Brandi,

If you want gray and are concerned about color cast then you can have them mix you up or direct you to a gray that does not introduce any other colors. I didn't color match but I did make sure that the gray I selected had nothing else in it but black and white.

By the same token, color cast can occur and be even more problematic is you have an off white or eggshell white rather than a very pure white.

Don't dirve yourself crazy though. Find something that is as neutral as possible, set your custom white balance and enjoy.

diane143
26th of December 2008 (Fri), 12:18
Sorry for reviving an old thread but I am kind of going through the same thing. I do PMS color matching for vinyl signs and tshirts, and some photography work.

I am moving my office into a bigger and sunnier room in the house and want to paint the walls. I am looking (based on google searches) for either a white or neutral grey. Asking for a neutral grey at a paint store is an excerise in futility as the OP stated!!

I am not looking for the 18% grey but just a plain grey. Is there any reason that I could not pick just a black and white mixture, but on the lighter end? I did not see any postings anywhere that state this.

Since I really don't need my life to be more difficult, maybe I should just go with white LOL

I was looking at Bejamin Moore paints primarily.

Let me know your thoughts - thanks!

BTW the room is 12 x 14 and I don't do any shooting in it, just the computer work. I don't want the paint so dark that it makes the room appear smaller.

Diane

Katzer1
26th of December 2008 (Fri), 14:00
How did this mania for 18% gray for studio walls and ceiling get started?

Enjoy! Lon

I was wondering the same.. the best place to find the most accurate 18% gray is on a gray card...

Curtis N
26th of December 2008 (Fri), 15:05
When I build my studio, I'm gonna buy a whole mess of WhiBal cards and tile the whole blessed place with them.

Anybody know where I can buy 18% grey grout?

Cathpah
26th of December 2008 (Fri), 21:42
When I build my studio, I'm gonna buy a whole mess of WhiBal cards and tile the whole blessed place with them.

Anybody know where I can buy 18% grey grout?

HAHAHHA...truly one of the funniest posts i've ever seen on this forum.

thanks for the chuckle.

Cathpah
26th of December 2008 (Fri), 21:54
Sorry for reviving an old thread but I am kind of going through the same thing. I do PMS color matching for vinyl signs and tshirts, and some photography work.

I am moving my office into a bigger and sunnier room in the house and want to paint the walls. I am looking (based on google searches) for either a white or neutral grey. Asking for a neutral grey at a paint store is an excerise in futility as the OP stated!!

I am not looking for the 18% grey but just a plain grey. Is there any reason that I could not pick just a black and white mixture, but on the lighter end? I did not see any postings anywhere that state this.

Since I really don't need my life to be more difficult, maybe I should just go with white LOL

I was looking at Bejamin Moore paints primarily.

Let me know your thoughts - thanks!

BTW the room is 12 x 14 and I don't do any shooting in it, just the computer work. I don't want the paint so dark that it makes the room appear smaller.

Diane

I would think you might be able to pick what you think would be a neutral grey off the wall, and when they plug it into their computer, they could tell you whether any other pigments would be going in. You could certainly ask for no other colors to be added, however there's always a chance that the black may have a bluish hue so a bit of yellow or red might be needed to offset that to be color neutral. My knowledge of color science is certainly lacking, but I think you might be able to explain your conundrum to someone who seems to have worked at the paint store for a while, and they should be able to help you.

best of luck.

Jason McKelvey
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 11:24
A. FLAT DULUX 6000N
B. LOWES: OLYMPIC PREMIUM INTERIOR LATEX FLAT,
BASE 3 - 72403, 101-1Y31.5, 109-8.5
C. BENJAMIN MOOR PREMIUM INTERIOR LATEX FLAT FINISH WALL,
SATIN, MEDIUM BASE 215 2B: OY-8.5, RX .75, BK-21, GY-4, WH-10,
AREA/TINT CODE:B
D. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS
BAC COLORANT OZ___32___64___128
W1-WHITE_____-____25____-____-
B1-BLACK______16___56____1____1
R2-MAROON____-____43____1____1

Sherwin Williams is the most accurate... I took an 18% gray card to the store and had them analyze it. The others I got from biased lighting sights.

kenyee
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 13:46
You can buy some Munsell N8 from Adorama.
That's what I used for my projector screen. The stuff reeeeeeeks though...open your windows when you use it...

Angry Dad
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 15:08
I know this is a serious question, but I saw the tile of this thread and chuckled quite a bit. :)

FlashZebra
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 15:30
Yikes, its the 18% gray thread again.

When reading this thread I:

1) Personally set and calibrate my monitor background color to 18% gray
2) Wear my 18% gray viewing smock
3) Sip my 18% Earl Grey tea out of my 18% gray mug

After viewing this thread I typically either watch Grey's Anatomy, read some Zane Grey, or listen to Fleetwoods Mac's "Thoughts on a Grey Day".

One cannot be to 18% gray careful.

I wish someone would post a 18% green thread so I could get out of this gray rut I am in.

Enjoy! Lon

Jimconnerphoto
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 19:33
I remember either reading or hearing about a studio who got "True" 18% grey paint- not just a close match. It ran $300 a gallon. I remember that part clearly. lol
oh, and - wrong part of the forum I thinks.

RDKirk
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 19:51
If you go to a store that uses computerized color matching from a sample, you should be able to get a gray that is neutral for all practical purposes....

...as though anything else in the equation was going to be perfectly neutral.

And I have no idea why anyone would want a neutral gray studio anyway. I've been to dozens and dozens of professional portrait and commercial studios of colleagues, and I've never, ever seen one in neutral gray. Most are white or very light gray.

jim_escalante
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 21:09
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/263737-REG/GTI_N8_G_Standard_Gray_Neutral_8.html
B&H sells this paint. Not cheap but it is available if you still decide to paint it grey
jim

TMCCaptured
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 21:14
I have to disagree with the peoples that say there is no 18% Grey.

There is a BASF interior colour specifically manufactured to 18%.

I will get back to the shop this week and post the code and formula here when I return home.

This can be made in most forms of modern finishes and re-finishes. I personally used the DeBeer Basecoat E9 in Automotive 900 series. There is a misconception that just Black and White will provide the correct colour balance. To get the correct depth and shade, there from memory requires (permanent green, ochre, and either Oxide or dark blue.)

FlashZebra
25th of September 2009 (Fri), 22:15
Everyone seems to be sidestepping the important 18% gray grout issue.

Enjoy! Lon

kenyee
26th of September 2009 (Sat), 09:34
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/263737-REG/GTI_N8_G_Standard_Gray_Neutral_8.html
B&H sells this paint. Not cheap but it is available if you still decide to paint it grey
jim

That's the stuff I used for my projector wall...a quart of it was $50 :eek:
Coats really well though, so you only use one coat...but man, it reeeeeeks....

Alex Russel
3rd of March 2010 (Wed), 11:15
Many have asked: Where did the whole 18% gray paint thing come from?

The answer: ISO 12646:2008 Graphic technology -- Displays for colour proofing -- Characteristics and viewing conditions
http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=44468

This ISO standard discusses the ideal environmental conditions for colour management. Lighting colour temperature, intensity and placement are also covered. I haven't shelled out the 92 Swiss Francs for an official copy, but other sources indicate the ISO standard calls for colour neutral surfaces with 60% reflectances or less. 18% gray fits the bill. This is all about the processing area of your studio. I'm not sure about using it for the shooting area, although I can see the logic.

Here is a link to an excellent article on setting up a digital darkroom. Its old, but very applicable.

http://www.creativepro.com/article/the-darkroom-makes-a-comeback


Alex

Chris&jess
3rd of March 2010 (Wed), 15:45
You'll love it. I painted the walls of my studio 18% grey. I simply took my 18% card to the paint store and they matched it.
Chris

FlashZebra
3rd of March 2010 (Wed), 15:51
The 18% gray wall thread LIVES.

I am not sure why, but it LIVES.

It remains hidden for months as it it were dead, but it LIVES.

But POTN members are still sidestepping the important 18% gray grout issue.

When will the 18% gray grout suppression end?

Enjoy! Lon

LLBNY
3rd of March 2010 (Wed), 20:39
Couldn't resist to answer that one!!

I actually did it 2 years ago in a room attached to my office. Today I cannot wait until i receive my Minolta slave from Lon to try to convince my wife it was avery good idea for my experiments.

Regarding this piece of art I did, so far I only got That really bad look from my wife....

M.Quick
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 02:20
Why not buy 1 gallon of clean black paint and 1 gallon of clean white paint.
As white reflects 36% light and if you got an equal amount of black and white it equals 18% reflection in other words, there you got your 18% "perfect" gray.

This is basic knowledge when i started reading about photography? I'm stumped no-one had this coming. The sensor on almost all cameras will read black and white as an 18% reflection.
This isn't an experience, but rather what i've picked up from a book, i'm reffering to Bryan Peterson - Understand exposure, where you will see this mentioned, that is, if you've read it.

Sorry to bump this old thread, but i thought it would be worth it to add this up so that if anyone now wants "the perfect gray", there you have it.

tim
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 04:47
Tartan paint is where it's at.

kenyee
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 09:40
Why not buy 1 gallon of clean black paint and 1 gallon of clean white paint.

Because there are lots of shades of black and lots of shades of white...

What you want doesn't exist...

AntonLargiader
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 09:48
But POTN members are still sidestepping the important 18% gray grout issue.

Lon, here's a picture of my bathroom.

504544

Not only did I get the grout, tile, fixtures, walls and towels right, I made sure to smooth the edges and light the room VERY evenly (you can't even see the mirror because it's reflecting an identically lit area!). The powdercoating on the chrome faucets was a bitch, I tell you.

But now, when I'm shooting snapshots of my cat in the living room I won't get any color casts if someone leaves the bathroom door open. Totally worth it IMO.

FlashZebra
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 16:39
Lon, here's a picture of my bathroom.

504544

Not only did I get the grout, tile, fixtures, walls and towels right, I made sure to smooth the edges and light the room VERY evenly (you can't even see the mirror because it's reflecting an identically lit area!). The powdercoating on the chrome faucets was a bitch, I tell you.

But now, when I'm shooting snapshots of my cat in the living room I won't get any color casts if someone leaves the bathroom door open. Totally worth it IMO.
Do you have receipt of your 18% gray tunic, lab coat, scrubs, ski mask, slanket, and Capri pants yet?

Enjoy! Lon

FlashZebra
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 17:14
Lon, here's a picture of my bathroom.

504544

Not only did I get the grout, tile, fixtures, walls and towels right, I made sure to smooth the edges and light the room VERY evenly (you can't even see the mirror because it's reflecting an identically lit area!). The powdercoating on the chrome faucets was a bitch, I tell you.

But now, when I'm shooting snapshots of my cat in the living room I won't get any color casts if someone leaves the bathroom door open. Totally worth it IMO.
Have you considered some 17% and 19% gray accents. That room looks a bit sedate. Nothing like a splash of 17% or 19% gray to start the party.

Enjoy! Lon

Hoppy1
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 17:24
Tartan paint is where it's at.

With the ceiling done in rainbow? :lol:

KurtGoss
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 20:20
I worked for Quad Graphics i the 1980s... (one of the largest printers in the world)...
all the retouching rooms were painted in a special neutral grey paint. The computer tables were also a special neutral grey. Each retouching station also had special 5K lights.

It ABSOLUTELY helped your eyes when viewing a calibrated monitor for critical color corrections in a room that was completely neutral.

But the "neutral" grey was not based on 18% greycard... it was much darker. I can see how this helps for retouching stations, but for a photo studio it seems like a waste of time.

RDKirk
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 20:38
I can see how this helps for retouching stations, but for a photo studio it seems like a waste of time.

Except for controlling reflections without imparting too great of a color cast, it mostly is a waste of concern, if not a waste of time. Color casts, ultimately, must be controlled by color balancing the image as illuminated, because the lights and modifiers will impart their own casts. Not much point in splitting hairs with the tint of the walls--gray-looking is gray enough.

And matte-finished walls are poor reflectors even when pure white. Add just a small amount of gray and they become downright lousy, compared to light levels great enough for photography, unless the room is very small. Something as dark as 18% is quite unnecessary.

111t
10th of January 2011 (Mon), 21:03
Our company painted a wall middle gray... Why? to calibrate the vivitar 285's they give us.