Real Paint Mixing Tools
Contact Info

This is an App created for iOS. It can be used on iPhone or iPad with iOS 9.0 or later. This means that even an old iPhone 4S or mini iPad can find a second life and become a Real Paint Mixing Device!

RealPaint is a completely rewritten mobile version of the Color Mixing Tools originally created by Zsolt M. Kovacs. It was created thanks to the cooperation with Foxy Studio in the artistic aspects of paint mixing.

RealPaint reads color coordinates from images and converts them to real opaque paint recipes or to color spaces like Lab, Munsell, XYZ and many more, showing also their color names found in selectable databases.


Painters can select image colors and have the corresponding paint mixing recipe computed immediately. This is very useful to art students, to painters with color vision impairment/difficulties or to those working in the painting conservation and restoration field. Experienced painters may also find these tools useful, for example, when they decide to paint huge paintings or installations where a lot of paint must to be pre-mixed and the try-and-error approach becomes quickly very, very expensive.

Architects and Graphic Designers can select the colors directly from digital images using various color spaces and communicate both color coordinates and color names to their colleagues. The recent True Tone devices have display colors very close to the real ones, so direct comparison can be done between a real-world object and the colors seen on the device screen.

img02Color Coordinates can be converted from one space into another: sRGB, Display P3, CMYK, HSL, HSV(B), Lab, Lch(ab), Luv, Lch(uv), XYZ, xyY and Munsell coordinates. sRGB coordinates are yellow/violet when they go out of the sRGB gamut. CMYK, HSL, HSV(B) coordinates are red when the coordinates are outside the sRGB gamut (the values in this case do not represent the color defined by the other color spaces, because they are forced to stay in their validity ranges).

The Munsell color coordinates are computed from the original Renotation Data and from the extrapolated data. The colors around the gray axis are carefully computed and the conversion error is also available on the Colors page->Munsell->ℹ. The high conversion precision around the gray axis is one of the major improvements compared to the original Color Mixing Tools. The Munsell coordinates are real-time computed using a cubic interpolation of the original data without lookup tables. The Munsell coordinates on the display gray out with increasing conversion error (it is the case of some colors belonging to the extrapolated data set near to the gray axis close to Value 0 or 10).

Color Names are also available, belonging to various Color Name databases available on the Internet: 

Names are shown with a strong contrast when they are close to the selected color and grayed out with increasing color difference.


There are 20 paint lines in RealPaint, one is an Ideal Paint set, all others are real paint lines of many well-known paint makers:

  1. Acrylic Studio Coloursby Vallejo (2016, *)
  2. Artists' Oil Colorsby Winsor&Newton (2016, *)
  3. Artisan Colorsby Winsor&Newton (2017, *)
  4. Conservation ColorsbyGamblin (2011, **)
  5. Designers Gouache coloursby Winsor&Newton (2016, *)
  6. Ferrario 1919by Ferrario (2017, ***)
  7. Galeriaby Winsor&Newton (2016, *)
  8. Georgian Oil Coloursby Daler-Rowney (2016, ***)
  9. Heavy Body Artist Colorsby Liquitex (2010, ****)
  10. Heavy Body Acrylic Colorsby Golden (2012, *)
  11. Matte Fluid Acrylic Colorsby Golden (2005, *****)
  12. Norma Professionalfinest artist’s oil colors by Schmincke (2015, ***)
  13. Pen Colorby Ferrario (2004, ******) 
  14. Polycolorby Maimeri (2017, *)
  15. Primacrylby Schmincke (2017, *)
  16. Professional Acrylic Coloursby Winsor&Newton (2017, *)
  17. Rembrandt Extra-Fine Artists’ Oil Colorsby Talens (2012, *)
  18. System3 Original Acrylicsby Daler-Rowney (2017, *)
  19. Van Goghoil colors by Royal Talens (2016, ***)

(*) ramps and measurements by Christian Skeel, Copenhagen, Denmark

(**) ramps,measurements and parameter extraction by Marissa Haddock, Rochester Institute of Technology

(***)ramps and measurements by Angelo Paladini, Tarquinia, Italy

(****)ramps by Michael Petty, Canyon Lake, CA, U.S.A.

(*****) ramps and measurements by Yoshio Okumura, Rochester Institute of Technology

(******)ramps and measurements by Zsolt M. Kovacs, Brescia, Italy

The system uses two possible pre-set Palettes for each paint line: 3 and 6 colored bases with Black (B) and White (W), so 5 and 8 bases are available with the two palette selections, respectively. The 3 with Black and White are the so-called primaries, which theoretically can mix all possible colors, but in the real world they are not able to reach saturated colors at the secondary positions of the color wheel.

img04Paint recipes can be obtained using several Mixing Strategies:
“B and W + 2 Colors”: a gray is mixed using Black and White to set the Value (Lightness) and 2 colored bases will be used to reach the correct Hue and Saturation (Chroma)
“B or W + 3 Colors”: 3 colored bases are used to set the correct Hue and Saturation (Chroma), while Black or White will adjust the Value (Lightness)
“at least one opaque”: all possible mixing combinations are made available where at least one base is opaque (to end up with an opaque paint mixture)
“no Black used”: all possible opaque mixing combinations are shown without using the Black base
“all bases at once”: one recipe is computed using all bases at once (result is usually not unique and opacity is not guaranteed.

Important Note:Real Paint mixing tools can mix only opaque paint, so background and paint film thickness information are not needed. 

You can modify each paint base amount of a recipe and see the effect on the display immediately. This is useful to get a better feeling of how paint mixing works and to identify the strongest bases which change more the final color.

Each recipe can be Exact or Rounded:

· “Exact recipe” means that each base has an amount with 0.1 precision. For example, if you need 11.0 grams of mixed paint, you’ll have a recipe where the paint base amounts sums up to 11.0. If you need % values of each paint base amount, enter 100.0 as amount. Exact is usually used for weight based measurements.

· “Rounded recipe” means that each base has an amount which is an integer number. The recipe will have the minimum possible overall amount as the sum of the amount of each paint base. This is useful when you are using drops or spoons, which can be precisely measured as integers, while 1.1 drop would be very difficult to handle! The rounded recipes are usually used for volume based measurements.

The recipe can be computed as Weight or Volume:

· “Weight” means that the amount is measured with a scale, for example in grams or ounces.

· “Volume” is an amount measured as drops or using spoons.

The amount is the complete recipe weight/volume in some units of your choice. If it is set to 100, each paint base will show its own % in the recipe as well.

Digital images usually don't fit into the color gamut of real paint lines. RealPaint can find an approximated (de)saturation value of an image to fit it into the selected Paint Set color gamut with the current mixing parameters. The value is approximated, because it is based on heuristics, but it is usually a very good approximation.


For example, Winsor & Newton professional Acrylics with a palette of 3 colored bases has a smaller color gamut than the selected image. Auto Set computes a saturation value of 98 to make the image paintable with this color set. Other paint lines may need a much smaller saturation value to fit their color spaces. Some others, or using 6 colors instead of 3, may lead to saturation values higher then 100, oversaturating the image. At the end of the Auto Set computation, the pointer is set to the image position where the most critical color was found. 

It’s worth noting that the final desaturated image on True Tone displays shows the colors that will be seen on the real painting standing on your easel!

Please note that Auto Set uses many parameters and a very sophisticated algorithm: paint line, palette, mixing strategy (mixing page), pixel region settings 1x1 … 9x9 (photo page) and many parameters from the setup page (with Expert User Settings ON):

· “Color DE”: is the formula used to compute all color differences in the system (choices are Euclidean, CIE94 graphic arts, CIE94 textiles, CIEDE2000). Default is CIE94 graphic arts.

· “Allowed Mixing DE”: depends on the selected “Color DE”, but a value around 1 is the human perception of the difference between two colors placed side by side. Usually 3 is acceptable if there is a gap between two colors. The default value is 2.

· “Min Value %" and "Max Value %": select the fully desaturated Value (Lightness) range of the selected Paint Line to define the colors of the image to be processed. 0-100 is the full gray scale range of the Paint Line with the selected Palette and Mixing Strategy.

· “Chroma min %": sets the minimum Chroma (Saturation) compared to the fully saturated RGB colors. Only colors with enough saturation (i.e. not too gray) are processed. The selectable range is 1-100.

Colors associating desaturated gray values out of the Min-Max range of the Paint Line are ignored, because they cannot be mixed anyway. You may consider modifying the image with another App and then re-load the processed image for mixing. Many Paint lines have a quite light black base, so dark colors cannot be mixed properly: this is not a real problem, because painted blacks appear much darker than how they are seen on the screen due to their surface shine.


If you have suggestions for a future version of the App or if you have found a bug, please send an email to support.realpaint@ai4res.com

If you need more information about color theory, here is a (very incomplete) list of useful websites:

· The Matlab version of Color Mixing Tools

· Web version of Color Mixing Tools on the Sensual Logic website created by Christian Skeel, called Paint Maker

· The CMT and RealPaint approach to color mixing: F.A.Q.

· The Dimension of Colour by David Briggs


This software is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. Under no circumstances and under no legal theory, whether in tort, contract, or otherwise, shall AI4res s.r.l. be liable to you or to any other person for any indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character including, without limitation, damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or for any and all other damages or losses.


Please note that color of paint coming from different batches of the manufacturer can vary, so mix small amounts first to be sure that computed recipes meet your needs!


All product names and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this system are for identification and for information purposes only. Use of these names and brands does not imply recommendation or endorsement.

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