Mixing Colours

STOP – IF YOU HAVE THE PATIENCE – Read the text before watching the videos – YOU’LL THANK ME LATER!

Mixing colours with waterbased inks is the same as mixing any colours with any paints or gels.

Firstly the standard waterbased inks are transparent so they mixed like coloured lights on stage. Opaque and Super Cover Inks are not see through so you mix them like house paint.

The trick is to write down what you do so you can do it again. That’s it. That’s the key.
The degree in which you accurately measure what you do will vary as to it’s importance but there is worse situation tan having something selling and you can’t quite make that colour again.
The degree of accuracy can be 0.01g which we use when making inks for PMS matching but this is only as accurate as you can place and handle and remove 0.01g of inks which is impossible outside a lab. So you use it as a guide and you go for total accuracy although you know it never really is perfect and you can never really guareentee professionally that an ink batch to another ink batch is perfect. And all of the old dyers will tell you that’s the way it has always been. When you become a total pro you’ll realise that fabric variations, seasons and absorbancy will effect the way a colour looks on the fabric. So you do your best to be perfect and you generally get within what a customer can see with their eye anyway.
With this in mind I can totally understand why you might be doing recipes out of made up colours from the factory like 3 table spoons of Scarlet into 1/2 a litre bucket of Blue B … but still think you should write that down so you remember it for next time you print.

If you are looking at starting an on commission type business where you print for companies that insist on PMS Colours you’ll have to get more accurate but keep in mind what I said – No-one get’s it perfect everytime – there is always a slight, slight variation an dthis is why you have samples done for clients – so they approve the colour you have.

Mixing / making Theory … the best and most formative information I ever got while studying colour was from a book called ‘Production Design for Film’ by Bruce Block. A brilliant book he firstly understood his colour and why he wanted it and then delivered that idea.
I walked away from that book understanding this – Mix your ‘hue’ value first ie. Deep red. And then tilt it lighter or darker with white or black. Or in his world of stage lighting you’d turn the power of the ‘white’ light behind the coloured gels up or down.

Hue – Start thinking in warm and cool colours. ie. Red Yellow & Orange are warm and alternatively Blue and Green are cool. So then you apply this thinking to different inks and you can determine if a green needs to shift cooler or warmer to approach the colour hue you want. So you add some yellow or red to shift it warmer or blue to shift it cooler.

Go to Google and look up complimentary colours … you’ll love this and find your colour mixing will go pro really fast.

Tone – Light and Dark …. so if we have our colour hue where we want it we can start playing more with tone.
To make an ink darker you could add black ink, Opaque Black Ink, possibly Dark Blue ink to a cool colour or possibly dark red to a warmer colour or add more base pigment if you have access to pigments or you could add clear base to let an opaque show more of a darker base fabric. Any of those ideas are legitimate – so long as you write it down and can replicate it later.
To make an ink lighter – we could add white pigment, ink, Opaque ink or add clear base diluting the power of the pigment to base ratio. Just like turning up the power of the lights.

Sooo … colour basics … this is a good video (so many of these videos put you to sleep) she keeps a pace but also she explains things well.

Sooo … colour as an interpretive value … this is more why a colour and he’s a good balance for the first video …



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