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Paint color "flop"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 50Fraud, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,358

    50Fraud
    Member

    I posed a question to a restorer friend about paint colors that have a particularly wide range of value, or brightness, from the highlight areas to the shadows. The original candy colors have this property, but there are a number of metallic or pearlescent production colors that have appeared in the last few years that also have this quality. Some silvers and metallic greys are good examples of this.

    Bob said that the term for this is "flop". There may be other technical or trade terms for it, but flop works for me.

    Here's an example of a Nissan color called "Mystic Emerald" that's on my '56. I chose this color in the first place because it has a LOT of flop, so it appears in some light to be a pale green with a silvery cast, and in lower light to be kind of pewter grey. In sunlight, both light and dark are visible at the same time. In this picture, notice the contrast between the top of the deck lid (light) with the corner where it turns downward (dark):

    [​IMG]

    My question is directed at any of you who are knowledgable about mixing paint. Is this flop caused by a high proportion of metallic, or the coarseness of the metallic, or the various pigments in the blend?

    I don't know if this will confuse this issue, but it's in my mind: gloss black, when highly polished, also reflects a tremendous range of values from highlights to dark shadows, and any very glossy paint will also have a range of brightness in its surface reflections. The flop that I'm inquiring about is not a function of surface gloss; it's something about the pigments and additive particles in the base color.

    Can anybody help explain this to me?
     
  2. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,355

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Watching with interest.
     
  3. gnarlytyler
    Joined: Feb 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,004

    gnarlytyler
    Member

    I think it has to do with how your brain accepts the light of the world, nice color..

    sounds like a physics question to me..
     
  4. godswill
    Joined: Jun 14, 2009
    Posts: 37

    godswill
    Member
    from san jose

    metallics and pearls is what causes flop. If u ever notice that production style colors and cheap paints have a small metallic or pigment. the larger the pigment the more its going to sparkle , flop or reflect light. your car does not have to move to give it flop. its the body line and curves that make the color. another thing to look at is paint brand. what I mean is that you cant compare a production color chart to one from house of kolor. if you look at some of jon kosmoski's stuff on the web, he can better expalin it for you.
     
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  5. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,708

    Weasel
    Member

    Changing light conditions cause flop - this works on non metallic paints. I went nuts (3 years+) trying to choose the exact (non metallic) color for my Willys coupe as it kept changing according to the light conditions. In the end I believe it is down to the toners used, but I could be wrong....;)
     
  6. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,146

    F&J
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There are some hambers that have paint mixing systems at their job or home business.




    ...as far as additives, I have the inventory of an auto parts store that mixed PPG. I have several quart cans that are marked "Flop Adjuster". I have no idea what it is, but maybe run a google on it. It is PPG brand, but I forgot if it's for urethane or ?
     
  7. Flop adjuster in PPG paint is used to adjust how the metallic or pearls lay down. More adjuster and they make the flake stand up more on end and lighten the side tone. Conversely, removing flop adjust from a mix will darken the side tone because the flakes will lay flatter and not reflect off their sides.

    A color can be changed just by playing with the flop adjuster in mixes. DX685 in the PPG DBC line. I do it all the time to get the effect needed for a particular color.

    You will not see this product in a solid color though. In solid colors some tints will change their side tone slightly on their own. Playing with them will effect the flop, but will also effect the color on the face.

    I hope this helps.
     
  8. Borderline 350
    Joined: Jan 18, 2012
    Posts: 2

    Borderline 350
    Member

    Dear 50 Fraud,
    The flip/flop paint appearance has always intrigued me beginning with the "Alexander Brother's" custom paint jobs of the late 1950's. Years later when studying the visual inspection methods for qualified color matching....the term non-metameric matches came up. And I had to learn what was the meaning and application of the term. I also had to pass a visual commercial paint matching test. Which a few of my fellow workers failed. This is when these persons found out they had varying degrees of visual color blindness.
    The flop can be visually be seen when using three different standard light sources for viewing condtions. CWF (Cool White Flurescent) (Horizon) and DAYLIGHT!! The base pigments in a coating reflect light back to your eye. As the coating goes translucent, the actual polymers in the coating refract the light waves going back to your eye. AS THE LIGHTING changes, you see different colors!! Old paint technology used specific polarized metallic particles to achieve the visual flop.
    As the chemistry of paint, coatings & dyes developed & changed the last 50 years, more visual matching problems surfaced. Old Rinshed Mason automotive colors would not match Dupont colors and so forth. Had a new 70 El Camino in factory special order with 1957 Chevrolet Sierra Gold metallic....2287LH Dupont color number....Front Hood & fenders did not match the front doors and rear quarters. Front end was painted in one assembly plant while the rear was painted in another plant. After several repaints, a very good painter, discovered that a different color primer was used. This paint (in 1970) was an acrylic lacquer while the old 1957 cars were nitrocellulose lacquer. Finally got the color right and sold the El Cam to the painter!
    Todays coatings are another new world but you still can't swap different source coatings w/o seeing the "flip" You can see it on most every car built by comparing the plastic bumper paint with the metal paint coating color. They are different families of resins and are readily seen by color crafters & artists when the surface is viewed under varying ligthing conditions.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Borderline 350
     
  9. ADReese
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 119

    ADReese
    Member
    from spokane

    I worked in a production paint shop for several years, and the flop is an extremely important aspect of color matching. How often have you driven next to a gold or silver car and watched some panels "flop" lighter or darker while others remained the same. Often times you can even pick out the blend in a panel based on the flop not being correct. The flop is caused by the orientation of the flake in the pigment, the edge of the flake is the darker side, while the face is the more reflective side. The orientation of the flake can be manipulated throug spraying technique, air pressure, and humidity. Thats a basic overview, back to my college history paper I should be doing :)
     
  10. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 3,300

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    I`m no expert by no means. And all the responces are true to the point. But the way your car is sitting has alot to do with it. The sun is directly shinning on your roof. as you go down the side of your car, the paint gets darker because the car is creating a shadow effect. Even in your Avatar. The pic is taken with the sun behind your car, thus creating a harsh shadow on your car. If the pic was taken from the other side, the car would twice as good because the sun would be directly shinning on it. Just think of it this way, watch the sun come up in the morning. The landscape changes by the second as the sun starts to shine on everything. On a side note, my dad`s car is painted with Chrome Illusion paint. The painter screwed up a spot on the dash. He sanded part of it and resprayed it. You can look for hours and still not see where he blended it in.
     
  11. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621

    deto
    Member

    Chrome illusion and the sun... Ah. Now I get it...


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  12. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,623

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Not all metallic or pearl pigments do this, though.
    With pearls, it is the type of mica flake that can produce the color flop, or interference. Some pearls are just a color flake. Others are treated so that they reflect a color, but are basically colorless. In the old days they were called flip-flop pearls, now called interference pearl. Some reflect 2 colors. The Chromallusion flakes are very high tech in that they are carefully layered with specific color reflecting layers in a clear sandwich. Since they are engineered like this, they are easier to touch up than the older color changing paints (pearl/candy).
    Most metallics don't do this, except for reflecting back a bit of white light like a mirror does. Some paints, that are very tranlucent, seem to reflect a second color because the metallic particles are reflecting back through the tinted resins of the paint. The more paint thickness they reflect back through, the darker the color, just like candy paint.

    Fascinating stuff, and fun to experiment with when you are doing custom paint.
     
  13. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,355

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    facinating stuff indeed. Really good thread.
     
  14. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,358

    50Fraud
    Member

    I think you are absolutely correct.

    I'm not talking about sparkle AT ALL. I don't want my car to look like a snare drum. The flop I am speaking of is about light-to-dark gradation in value over a single panel, not twinkly bits.

    I did look at some YouTube stuff of Kosmoski's. Mainly he talked about the quality of his ingredients and spray techniques; I didn't find anything that had to do with flop.

    I do have one of the House of Color chip books. It's very interesting and has a lot of beautiful colors, but it seems like all of them are basically 2- or 3-stage candies. I would prefer to choose a production color that doesn't require specialized custom painting techniques.

    Now we're talking; that's very interesting. Comparing two production silvers that have about the same basic hue and value, but very different levels of flop, does that suggest that the one with the greater flop contains flop adjuster?

    I can imagine that this would be true, and it's scary to me. It certainly implies that the painter needs to understand exactly the effects of technique and the other variables to achieve a consistent result.

    What you're describing would be true on a white paint job, or any other color too. Nothing to do with flop.

    Chopolds, your explanation seems to explain much, but it's clearly over my head. Again, it sounds like the painter must really know his onions to control the end result.

    In color theory as taught in design school, there are three dimensions to a color: (1) hue (red, blue, yellow etc and all the degrees in between); (2) value (darkness, or the range between white and black); and (3) saturation (the purity or intensity of the color -- pink is a less saturated version of red).

    I realize that in paint there are additional dimensions caused by reflectance, refraction, transparency, as well as the fact that there may be multiple hues, metallics, and other additives in the paint formula.

    Speaking in the design terms that I understand, I am not looking for a mix that appears to have multiple hues, nor do I want a highly saturated color. I'm looking at dark, neutral-to-cool greys, and comparing various production colors. The ones that interest me are the greys that have a lot of flop, or variation in value from light to dark across a single panel.

    I imagined that if I better understood the phenomenon of flop, I might be able to choose a color that does what I like to the greatest degree. Now I'm thinking that I should just find a color that looks good to me in its production application, and choose a painter that understands all of this better than I do.
     
  15. I know I'm great for over analyzing things but over the years have come to the conclusion that you sometimes I don't need to get into the fine details for great results.
    I have been through several color training classes from several paint manufacturers . and what has been said by others is accurate but as far as color goes keep your eyes open. Stop in at the car dealer , parking lot , ect. and if the color is to you liking get the color number or VIN off of the car . The rest of replicating the color should be like falling out of a tree for an experienced painter.

    Are you expecting to paint the 40 in the next week or so ??????????????
     
  16. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,096

    Relic Stew
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I have a bicycle with a severe case of flop. It's from '98 or so, "Blastberry" was the color name. I don't know the technology behind the chameleon colors, I just know it's sparkly.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,358

    50Fraud
    Member

    You're right, of course. I often imagine that the more I understand, the better I can... uh.. bullshit people, I guess.

    Next week or so? I doubt that it'll be the next year or so!!

    Any progress on the Buick?
     
  18. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,623

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Sounds like a fun project to play with...wish you were closer!
    If you look at newer cars, mostly you'll be seeing pearls and metallics. Maybe too modern for your application? A lot of the newer colors also have interference pearls in them for a color change look. And be a bit more flamboyant, with larger particles.
    If you're considering more solid colors, in the black family, that go light to dark, instead of a color change. you might experiment with grays that have a lot of transparency to them, or make your own! Alsa, as well as Sid Moses' company (Seelig custom?) make black candy concentrate you could play with, making various blends into clear, or using it to tint grays. I think adding clear to gray would give you more color change at angles even with a solid, non metallic color. Or use the candy black over a small particle pearl, or metallic for a subtle look.
     
  19. Paint
    Joined: Nov 18, 2005
    Posts: 296

    Paint
    Member

    Automotive metallic colors use either metallic (aluminum flake) or pearl (mica) or a combination of both to achieve the metallic sparkle.
    Generaly colors using only aluminum flake will have a darker flop than colors using pearl, and coarser (larger) flake will give you a darker flop than a fine flake.
    Flop adjuster will always lighten your flop and give the flop a blue cast, and when a lot of it is added it will give the color a gold flash.
    Also any opaque pigment such as white or yellow in a metallic color will lighten the flop.
     
  20. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,358

    50Fraud
    Member

    Paint, your explanation is easy for me to follow, and I'm grateful for that. When you refer to "darker flop", I take that to mean a wider range between the lightest apparent shade and the darkest one (within a single color, and on a single body). Conversely, "lighten the flop" would mean that the light-to-dark range is narrower.

    Do I understand you correctly?
     
  21. Paint
    Joined: Nov 18, 2005
    Posts: 296

    Paint
    Member

    Yes that is exactly correct.
    It is also sometimes called travel.
     
  22. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,355

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Can one of our resident expert painters elaborate on this? Specifically, does more or less pressure increase or decrease the effect? Other factors that fall under spraying technique, and the specific effect they have on flop?
     
  23. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,306

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    i have a HOK tat somewhere...
    ah NOT...
    HOK is the IT...
    every painter usually sticks with one brand.. because he knows the mix ratio
    and works with it most every day...
    they hate the other brand.
    my order of preferance
    House of Kolor
    SW
    ----every thing else---
    and then
    PPG
    IMHO
     
  24. What a great thread. I am no expert but I did paint my ot truck last year. I went with ppg's lemon ice. My painter buddys told me to use a white sealer under the paint for coverage. Man they where right. Tried to do some redoes without the white sealer. It was a different color altogether. Now my question to the painters is; could the primer/sealer/color under your top coat effect the "flop" of certain colors? I'll post a pic. Don't castrate me. I'm only posting the pic to illustrate the color I'm talking about

    ImageUploadedByTJJ1349020582.798552.jpg


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  25. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,306

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA


    you are so correct on the white under
    PPG, it is a poor covering paint .
    if you paint yellow and do not have yellow primer/sealer the
    paint WILL look green ........ really im not kidding
    and there reds are hored as well... IMHO:cool:

    ICI paint covers quite well.

    try painting some letdown panels and do some tests,

    I'm sure the die hard PPG boys will be along any minute to
    slap me... :D
     
  26. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 24,692

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've seen that on cars that guys painted one section or panel at a time over a period of time rather than at one go. You don't know it's off until you assemble it.
     
  27. Well, I took as the color. Not the brand. And I should clarify that I used there cheap line. Called nasson I think. Your right I tried to shoot the bottom of the hood with out the sealer and it was green.


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  28. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,306

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    panel painting went out ..back in 1968-69-70 some where in there.
    last days of lacquer followed soon after...
    BC/CC became the NEW way
     
  29. My buddy painted his 57 Chevy twice with cobalt blue. First time over grey primer looked good. Had a fish eye problem. The next time he shot it over black sealer and it is stunning.


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  30. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,306

    henryj1951
    Member
    from USA

    its all a learning curve.... hay i don't know $#!T
    but i surround myself with SMART people.

    :cool:


    click that iggie, can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen
    bye bye wanabes

    see there it works
    now they can't be better than you...

    now that i'm the top dog again and there's nobody to question my authority
    lets get back on subject

    See how self centered that sounds?

    its a sad world we live in that we must hold our selves to
    trying to make people believe that there the only ones that KNOW any thing.


    and in closing (like the shark tank ) for that reason i'm out.

    click

    ah i'm so master full

    disclamer: the above is not of my making it is the expressed views of some pm/im's of others expressing what they would like to say but were afraid to say it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012

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