For Every Airbrush Artist!

Ready to get involved? Register for free and you won't see any google advertising!

Register

Transparent vs. Over-reduced opaques

Discussion in 'Airbrush Paints' started by sentry1, Dec 25, 2016.


  1. sentry1

    sentry1 Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Is there a functional difference between transparent paints vs. over-reduced opaque paint?

    I.E. If I already have an opaque violet color, and I over-reduce it, does that achieve the same effect as just using a transparent violet (while also saving me from having to buy another bottle of paint)?

    I don't have a particular task in mind, I paint miniature models and occasionally I'll try something I've seen in one of the tutor videos.
  2. Nada

    Nada Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,450
    Likes Received:
    1,732
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Nashville Tn USA.
    Yes there is a difference.
    Now depending on which paint would tell more. But you can over reduce opaque paints and get a transparent like effect.

    Opaques hit their color and stop.
    Transparents will keep getting darker and darker as you go.
    Generally speaking transparents are also much more vibrant.
    LovesArt and airbrushtutor like this.
  3. sentry1

    sentry1 Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Well let's use Createx airbrush colors for instance, the 5200 series opaques vs. the 5100 series transparents.

    I don't want to have/spend money on opaques and transparents of the same colors, but at some point I'll need full coverage over a basecoat, and at some point I'll want to use a transparent effect over a white base.

    I'd like to just buy one type of each color I need, but would I be better served getting transparent paint and just building up multiple layers for when I need opacity? Or getting opaque paints and reducing them for when I want transparency?
  4. Basstrack238

    Basstrack238 Mac-Valve Maestro!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2015
    Messages:
    675
    Likes Received:
    570
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    Illinois USA
    Maybe mix them with transparent base to get them how you like might help?
  5. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    15,021
    Likes Received:
    9,745
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Bloomington,Indiana
    While over reducing an opaque paint will give you a somewhat transparent look it will not give you a true transparent effect
    Plus you are talking about the textile paints which is only good for textiles . So what is your end goal? T-shirts?
  6. sentry1

    sentry1 Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Are these paints no good for miniature models made of resin or plastic? Is there that much of a difference between the Createx airbrush range and the Vallejo Game/Model Air range of paints?
  7. Basstrack238

    Basstrack238 Mac-Valve Maestro!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2015
    Messages:
    675
    Likes Received:
    570
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    Illinois USA
    I think they would work fine on scale models. The only thing is if you start having adhesion problems, but good prep should keep that at bay.
  8. sentry1

    sentry1 Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I always put down a layer of Vallejo polyurethane primer on my models, so adhesion hasn't been a problem. But after looking at the Createx site, Micron is right, their basic line is meant for porous surfaces. They do say adding the 4030 intercoat makes it work fine on hard surfaces. Now it's just a matter of whether I can get it to play well in a .3mm airbrush.
    LovesArt likes this.
  9. Nada

    Nada Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,450
    Likes Received:
    1,732
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Nashville Tn USA.
    No.. Createx will not play well with a .3. It can of course be done but it is a trial you do not need.
    The wicked line would be more suitable for what you are doing.
    Etac private stock is another.
    You don't need opaques to get good coverage. And you can always just add the tiniest amount of white to make a transparent behave like an opaque.

    I don't like telling people use the search function, however I recall there being a great write up on them. It cannot remember who did it.
    Possibly @haasje dutchairbrush
    Also @airbrushtutor has a small video on you tube about the differences.
    haasje dutchairbrush likes this.
  10. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,870
    Likes Received:
    5,347
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I did do a little write up (not sure if you mean this one): http://www.airbrushforum.org/threads/transparants-opaques-reducing-and-viscosity.12903/
    Nada, Smiler65 and matty171 like this.
  11. Nada

    Nada Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,450
    Likes Received:
    1,732
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Nashville Tn USA.
  12. AndreZA

    AndreZA Elite Member! Elite Member!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,439
    Likes Received:
    5,387
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    I don't know what "over reduced" mean. But as a lot of reducer/water will make paint more transparent, it is not recommended. Rather use transparent base.
  13. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    2,988
    Likes Received:
    2,297
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Victoria Australia
    main difference is opaque paints refract light, transparent don't, they allow light to pass through..In essence its what the pigment is generally made from that allows it to be opaque or trans, not so much reducing, all that does is intersperse the pigment molecules further and wider apart. Adding white can make a trans appear more opaque, but same principle, essentially the white helps block some of that light, doesn't change the pigment type..The term semi opaque is likely what most use for talking about such reductions or pastelization of a color, in reality its still opaque or trans but a trans will act more like an opaque in that area than the other way around :) Still useful in some applications to have a bit of both in your range but generally for finer art you can get away with a set of trans colors and a white and black. In models I'd say you'd be using more opaques..unless of course doing candy type painting. So unfortunately, yer prob best to buy the paint to best suit purpose or application...and thus where airbrushing can get a bit expensive.
    LovesArt likes this.
  14. airbrushtutor

    airbrushtutor Love Spreading Overseer Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    1,890
    Trophy Points:
    111
    If you're using createx then you should get the same color, but you should instead add binder or transparent base as only adding reducer will break down your paint's binder.
    You're best off purchasing the transparent versions of their colors and adding white for opacity.
    I would recommend you look to see if your chosen paint brand creates a transparent base for their paints as just adding reducer or water will break down the functionality of the paint i.e. it's ability to stick to a surface.

    A true transparent paint can only ever darken a base layer, whereas opaques can lighten. that's my definition of the two haha :)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
    LovesArt and Basstrack238 like this.
  15. sentry1

    sentry1 Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks for all the info guys. reproductive organ Blick was having a hefty sale, so I grabbed some paint from both the regular Createx and the Wicked product lines to play with on various media and get a feel for how they all work.

    So far I've been using Citadel and Vallejo model paints, but I'm trying to find a new line of paint to use as the model paints tend to come at a high premium and I don't see them on sale much. We'll see in a couple of days when the order gets here!
  16. BrianPaints

    BrianPaints Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Menasha, Wi
    Buy the transparent set, or go with Wicked, Wicked Detail, or Illustration. E'tac paints are great, too. Then, get an opaque white. Using the opaque white, you can mix any opaque color you need.
    Next, get familiar with color theory. For practice, grab some color chips from the paint section of the local hardware store, then practice trying to start from scratch and get a "perfect" color match. I'd suggest reading as many of Dru Blair's articles as possible. Dr Zsolt and Marrissa have good articles online, as well.
    Basically, art is putting the right color in the right spot to create the desired image.
    LovesArt and JackEb like this.
  17. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    2,988
    Likes Received:
    2,297
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Victoria Australia
    To be honest I'm not sure where some paint company's are getting their terminology LOL,..But I hate to contradict m8 but its not due to the "amount" of pigment, its the pigment type, size, grind etc..and not all pigment is opaque as you mention. A transparent version of a similar color will indeed act completely different to an opaque color reduced. The binder adds a little cheat is all in the aspect that it generally dries shiny, this further helps refract the light the dispersed opaque pigment molecules are .That goes more into the area of optical illusion rather than the science of such molecules as an opaque pigment can never become transparent, unless by the introduction of a stronger light type source or ray.. The pigment molecule itself will still essentially "block" out the light reaching whats below and refracts it first, diffusing it in the process. A trans can not become an opaque either, all we are doing is adding a opaque "body" to the paint and mixing pigment molecules in to further refract light rather than allowing it to pass through, but in some area's it may and those are your semi opaques and trans..But essentially its just all dots on top of dots LOL

    Heres a good Acrylic painters chart that list some of the opaque and some of the trans pigments, but it really does come down to the individual molecule of the pigment. We are in a world of synthetics much more as well and also obviously interesting paint types like heat and cold activated, color shifting etc,,the science behind such is amazing and getting complex, but generally its all about the light :) But dunno if the paint company's are just explaining it poorly or selling people a cheaper, pre-thinned down product for the same price LOL..dyes and paints though are a bit of a different discussion, but it is fun using real dyes to soup up Airbrush colors that have gone a bit dull :). Thats why I laugh though at the idea of translucent White and Black being sold :) Ones a subtraction of all light and ones a refraction of all light, the pure meaning of opaque :) call it watered down black or watered down white LOL..Opacity needs to be properly differentiated from intensity...

    pigments in acrylics.jpg
    LovesArt and airbrushtutor like this.
  18. airbrushtutor

    airbrushtutor Love Spreading Overseer Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    1,890
    Trophy Points:
    111
    I've amended my original post for a more concise answer and have taken out the part of all pigments being opaque.

    It's going to be paint brand specific and if you want to know for your particular brand of paint then best ask the manufacturer however when it comes to createx colors they use the same pigment for both products except that their transparent version doesn't come with a filler.
    The opaque version of their paints contains a filler pigment, which will give the paint better/ faster coverage of the base.
    I still believe over reducing will give the same results, unfortunately I have nothing to test it with or any results to show.
    LovesArt and RebelAir like this.
  19. Vladimir

    Vladimir Mac-Valve Maestro!

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    662
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Location:
    Ukraine, Kiev
    Interesting info about "filler". What is it "filler" in this case?
    It's not that interesting to get mixtures which would behave in their strange manner...
    And it's one more reason why the urethanes are good lines. They have single pigment in the paint, not mixtures of different pigments, moreover any pigment additives. It's pointed out in their colour charts what kind of a pigment it is (opaque/transparent/semitransparent) due to their physical properties as physical substance, but not by adding something there to get those properties. So we can predict their behavior as we know what we put in certain colour when mixing it for the particular picture.
    LovesArt and RebelAir like this.
  20. airbrushtutor

    airbrushtutor Love Spreading Overseer Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    1,890
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Hey Vlad :) I had never heard of a filler before.. nor did i know that pigments aren't just colors and in some cases aren't colored. The forum continues to teach hehe :)

Share This Page