Real Paint Mixing Tools

Real Paint mixing tools (RealPaint) and Real Paint mixing tools LITE (RPaintLite) are an App family 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.

Color 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 25 (+1) 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 Colours by Vallejo (2016, *)
  2. Artist Oil Colors by Gamblin (2019, *)
  3. Artists' Oil Colors by Winsor&Newton (2016, *)
  4. Artisan Colors by Winsor&Newton (2017, *)
  5. Conservation Colors by Gamblin (2011, **)
  6. Designers Gouache colours by Winsor&Newton (2016, *)
  7. Extra-Fine Oils by Sennelier (2019, *)
  8. Ferrario 1919 by Ferrario (2017, ***)
  9. Galeria by Winsor&Newton (2016, *)
  10. Georgian Oil Colours by Daler-Rowney (2016, ***)
  11. Grumbacher MAX Water Mixable Oils by Chartpak (2018, *)
  12. Grumbacher Pre-tested Professional Oils by Chartpak (2018, *)
  13. Heavy Body Artist Colors by Liquitex (2010, ****)
  14. Heavy Body Acrylic Colors by Golden (2012, *)
  15. Illustration Opaque Colors for Airbrush by Createx (2019, *)
  16. Matte Fluid Acrylic Colors by Golden (2005, *****)
  17. Norma Professional finest artist’s oil colors by Schmincke (2015, ***)
  18. Pen Color by Ferrario (2004, ******) 
  19. Polycolor by Maimeri (2017, *)
  20. Primacryl by Schmincke (2017, *)
  21. Professional Acrylic Colours by Winsor&Newton (2017, *)
  22. Rembrandt Extra-Fine Artists Oil Colors by Talens (2012, *)
  23. Rembrandt Extra-Fine Artists Oil Colors by Talens (2019, *)
  24. System3 Original Acrylics by Daler-Rowney (2017, *)
  25. Van Gogh oil 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

RPaintLite is another app belonging to the "Real Paint mixing tools" app family and it is made available for free to experiment with the basics of how colors can be converted from pixels to color coordinates and paint recipes. It includes only two Paint Lines, one ideal and one real paint for Airbrush users (Ferraio Acrylic Pen Colors). The Munsell Color Space is not available in this LITE version.

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.

RealPaint, therefore, includes 8 paint bases of each Paint Line. These bases are fixed, and all color recipes use these and only these bases. Once you've selected your Paint Set, you can purchase the 8 bases wherever you like and use them for all your paintings. The 6 colored bases of each Paint Line were optimized to cover the widest possible OPAQUE color space offering you as many as possible mixable colors.

The apps of the "Real Paint mixing tools" family use measured real paint spectral information of physically painted samples. Big part of the RGB/P3 space can be mixed, but not all RGB/P3 colors. This is not a limitation of the apps, just physics. There are also many colors which can be mixed, even if they don't belong to the RGB/P3 color space (you can find these by varying manually the paint base amounts on the "mixing" page or by entering the color coordinates directly on the "colors" page).

Paint recipes can be obtained using several Mixing Strategies:

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:

The recipe can be computed as Weight or Volume:

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):

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 are interested to see the app in action, please check the  video tutorials.


If you have suggestions for a future version of the App or if you have found a bug, please send an email to


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


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 various parts of a tube/jar or 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 and product 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.