Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Studio Products Gray Scales, Grisaille Sets, and Munsell...

SP's 1/2 gray scale: The Munsell scale is 3 to 3.75

SP's 1/2 gray scale: The Munsell scale is 2 to 2.75.

SP's 1/2 gray scale: The Munsell scale is 1 to 1.75.

SP's Value 5 gray scale.

I originally posted this over on Dead Color Diary and Graydon asked if I could post it here.
I decided to add photos so people can judge for them selves.

This is Value 5 gray:
I originally thought they were at value 6 but I think it's closer to 6.25.
That's way off. On SP's web site they claim that: "
Grisailles' perfectly neutral greys mixed to aprecise Munsell Value Scale". The chart is a gray scale done in quarter tones to Munsell. It is clear that they are not value 5 and far from 'precise'.

Testing is done on the 1/2 gray scale. I need to take better photos of them but it is clear that they are not right. The 1/2 came out to about 3.25. The issue for me is that SP has two values as one. Kind of silly as a concept. It's all for naught as they are wrong anyway. 1 is a very dark gray so low in value that it looks black. This booklet starts at 0.5 so 1 is a gray.

SP's notion that values 1 and 2 are so close as warrant this value as one is a lot more off than I originally thought. If you look at the values with a chart like this you see there is a huge difference between a value 1 gray, and value 2.

I have these on acetate the lines are a grid for another project.
Sorry about the lines, I ran out of acetate.


graydon said...

Thank you Jeff.
I think its closer to 6.25 as well.

hellfish said...

i have a set of the sp grays..biggest waste of money ever. Im being completely UNBIASED (really,im being honest) in saying they are the WORST quality paints i have ever use (and i've used alot)!! And not for the reason that they are indeed WAY off (repeat, way off) the munsell scale. But that they are quality wise, the single worst oil paint (repeat, WORST) i have ever had, used, owned. I don't know what their other paints are like. I'll never know because i will never use them again..ever. If you value your time and work, stay far away.

hellfish said...

btw painterdog, where'd ya get the cool munsell chips?

painterdog said...

I bought this from Greta Macbeth they are great. $55.00 for the set.
quarter tone grays what could be better, the Big Book...

The Educational price is $33.00

MarieMeyer said...

I measured the following with a spectrophotometer:

SP Gray Scale:
3.6B 1.6/0.1
2.0PB 3.5/0.4
5.2PB 5.1/0.7
7.1PB 5.9/0.9
7.3PB 6.5/1.2
7.5PB 7.0/1.3
7.6PB 7.4/1.3
7.6PB 7.9/1.5
7.8PB 8.4/1.6
8.7PB 9.4/1.8

SP Grisaille Paints
6.1B 3.8/0.5
5.7B 4.1/0.6
9.7B 4.8/0.6
7.1B 5.9/0.6
3.6B 6.6/0.4
9.5GY 8.0/0.4
4.8GY 8.8/0.7
1.6GY 9.2/1.0

SP Verdaccio Paints
1.3BG 2.8/2.2
0.9BG 3.0/2.6
1.1BG 3.7/2.7
2.0BG 5.0/3.1
2.7BG 6.0/2.7
3.3BG 6.8/2.4
8.4G 7.9/1.9
0.4G 8.7/1.4


JeffL said...

hellfish, this is what Rob had to say when you asked him about it on Cennini:

03-24-2007, 04:32 PM
Moderator [Rob]

Those were scaled to the greyscales that we had printed. Those are done in printer's Benday percentages, not Munsell. Munsell does not translate to printer's screens.

The Set is advertised as:

Grisailles' perfectly neutral greys mixed to a precise Munsell Value Scale. These are exact matches for our greyscales, thus making it easy to do precise Value underpaintings.

Am I missing something or is this blatant false advertising??

Rich said...

Imagine that! Rob whizzin' on our heads and tellin' us it's rainin'. Who'd a thunk it?

Thanks Jeff and Marie. BTW, Marie, I'm confused which SP grays your spectro readings are for. Are they in order?

MarieMeyer said...

Hi Rich, those readings were taken from the 8 tube grisaille kit.

graydon said...

So, they are not even neutral? Value 1/2 starts at 3.8.

Rob said that he used raw umber instead of burnt. This would explain the hue.

What light source are you measuring them under? Try an overcast grey day if you can.

painterdog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
painterdog said...

This is getting interesting as not only are the Grisaille Paints off they are also now being proven to be off in different set. If you look at my photo of my 1/2 it is not anywhere near 3.75 it is 3.25 maybe a little closer to 3.5.

If MarieMeyer is getting 3.8 that points to larger value shift in that set of Grisaille Paints.

I will do some more of this and check it to the spectrophotometer numbers.

By the way thanks for testing all of them Marie.

Come to think of it anyone who has bought these should be able to get their money back.

This is shameless tom foolery on SP's part. I am not saying they deliberately set out to rip people off, quality control or the lack of is what's the issue here.

Raw Umbra instead of Burnt? Why?

painterdog said...

How many people on this blog have the sets?

John said...

I got the set. Should we all do a test?

graydon said...

I bought some and had to adjust them.

When I as at Rob's studio, I noticed that the master plan for value mixing was off as well. It hung near the paint roller.

graydon said...

Richard, you might change the title to "Studio Products Gray Scales" so that those searching online for information will pick up this thread.


painterdog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MarieMeyer said...

Hi Graydon, if your post was directed at me - the spectrophotometer that I have is its own environment - the lighting conditions in the room don't impact the results.

Would anybody like me to check any of their samples? I would be happy to do so, as it may be the only thing substantive that I can contribute to this blog. I would need them to be dry, on paper or canvas paper or acetate, smooth, and, of course, sent to me in the mail - it is no good trying to scan them or measure photographs. I'll give you my mailing address if you email me at meyer.marie"at sign"gmail.com.

Gavin said...

I nearly did buy the Greyscales...

I am going to get the Golden Set to paint my cubes with.

Should I bother with any of the Golden Mediums etc?

painterdog said...

I was adjusting them, but it seemed to me that I should mix my own as it took the same amount of time.

They now sit in box.

So the master mixing guide is off...
I think I hear recall, hell if people can demand a recall for lead paint in toys, we should all be able to get refunds for this mess of paint.

Dave said...

Marie - may I ask what sort of volume of material you are able/prepared to throughput? As it would seem to me that your access to a spec' would put all the comparisons on an objective, repeatable, properly calibrated basis.

For example, Graydon commented that he would be interested to know how the munsell numbers vary in a range of tints with increasing addition of white (in other words to work out the tint-curve in Munsell-space.)

Now if we take a single-pigment colour (lets say, for argument, W&N artists permanent alizarin PR177) and add increasing amounts of white (and again, here wouldn't it make sense for everyone to agree initially on a single white - let's say W&N artists Titanium White - on the basis that I'd guess its one we could all get, readily, wherever we are)- we do a series of mixes between the two (exact proportions don't matter, as long as we create, lets say, 10 reasonably even-looking steps between pure alizarin and pure white), and paint out (say) 1 cm-square swatches from them. Wherever our mixes are, they should all lie along a single alizarin->white curve in Munsell space (which is why exact proportions don't matter, for the purpose of this - viscous liquids are difficult to measure accurate reproducible small volumes for).

Now we need to check on observer variability, so it would be interesting for someone to prepare a set of such swatches (prepared at the same time), submit them to marie, and also submit replicate sets to Graydon, and to a couple of others who have the big book. Everyone does their readings, and publish them here for comparison.

If a second and/or third person did likewise, with their samples of the same paints (i.e W&N artist's), we would be well on the way to assessing the reliability and reproduciblity of our data with some insight into interobsever variation, paint-batch variation, and comparison between spec' readings and visual assessment using the big book.

Similar exercise could then be carried out varying only the brand of PR177 paint.

I suggest this as a slightly more rigorous approach to data collection (might as well make some use here of my background in experimental design from scientific research :) )

painterdog said...

If the Golden gray sets are not using Munsell to mix the grays to your not going to get the right kind of grays.

Also when working with Acrylics it can real hard to get values as the values you see when wet are different when they dry.

MarieMeyer said...

Dave, I'd be happy to do those measurements. Or any others that you all might want, provided that the samples that I am sent are prepared as per my requirements.

Are any of you who have the big book by any chance in the Santa Fe area? I'd like to borrow it for a few hours to see how well the callibration and settings on my instrument match the published Munsell values.

Dave said...

Good, Marie - I think we need input from Graydon at this point, obviously, see what he particularly wants to explore and collect data on, and I think we could then perhaps draw up some explicit protocols for sample prep, to make results as reproducible as possible? I can see we could cover a lot of ground (and a lot of munsell-space) fairly rapidly, if we have a well-coordinated way of doing things.

marsha said...

In answer to PainterD's question: I have the SP Value Scales/Grisaille set and the Verdaccio set.

nystudios said...


Last year I documented all the paints in my collection at the time, approximately around 200 colors. I have them in a book form now of paint applied to sheets of canvas. I could send you the entire book, and you could take readings for each of the original paint samples. I also mixed up all the colors with zinc white, although not to munsell (pre-munsell days). So an example of an entry would be UltraM.Blue straight from the tube (approximately value 2) and then tints value 3-9 done using zinc white.

If you wanted to do this daunting amount of work, then our color wheels could be very accurate for over 200 paints?

MarieMeyer said...

Hello nystudios,a biggish job, yes, but I guess nothing like the size of your original undertaking!

The offer I made previously (which still stands) was based on the assumption that people would make up new sample sheets, to my specifications for sheet size and sample size and arrangement. This would allow me to use an automated instrument, which both saves me time and insures greater accuracy.

However, I do also have a manually operated spectrophotometer, which I could use on your book. Sounds like it must contain about 2,000 samples - which would drive me round the bend!! But am I correct in understanding that you think the thing to do is just to sample the first, straight-from-the-tube swatch? Or perhaps maybe that plus the first tint?

graydon said...

Excellent. This is exactly what I wanted to have happen. Great work and ideas. I am back in Amherst from a two week break. I will think more about this project. Amazing!