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Transparants/opaques, reducing and viscosity

Discussion in 'General Airbrush Tutorials' started by haasje dutchairbrush, Apr 4, 2015.


  1. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    As this seems to be a reocuring question I thought it might be convinient to have a post to refer to.

    Keep in mind I'm not a chemist, but this is how I understand this all works :). This is meant as a simple explenation so I'll try to keep it short and to the point.


    Transparants and opaques

    Transparants: These paints will alway's show the color thats beneath it, meaning it will blend with it. As such they can be used to mix colors on ones painting instead of mixing it in a cup.

    A transparant can never reach full opacity so if you want a yellow line on red it won't work as it will create an orange line.

    Opaques: These paints behave more like one expects of paint in that they will just cover/ color with the color used.

    These colors will reach full opacity. If one puts a yellow line on a red surface it will do just that.

    With enough reduction an opaque might apear to become transparant. This is just down to the factone is hardly applying any pigment anymore, with enough layers a highly reduced opaque will still reach 100% opacity.


    An opaque is made by adding white or black to paint. This results in that in general a transparant will be more vibrant as they are not diluted. Adding a bit of black or white to a transparant will make it opaque.

    This is also the reason there is transparant black and white as one can't chance the hue of a transparant with an opaque black or white (as that would result in the transparant turning opaque).

    [​IMG]

    Reducing and viscosity

    Below is technicaly not completely (completely not :p) correct but explains it for as far this is relevant to airbrushing.

    Viscosity:
    Viscosity is important to understand for reduction. When we inmagine paint as consisting of a lot of little balls (paint and pigment), viscosity refers to the fact that all these little balls sticks together. Due to the fact they all stick together we get a nice and even aplication of the paint. Where all the little balls to break appart and form little blotches of paint we speak of paint losing viscosity.

    [​IMG]

    A: paint has viscosity, this results in the nice and even spread of color (B) as every bit of surface get an equal amount of pigment.
    C: paint has lost it's viscosity, this results in a "blotchy" spread of color (C) as some spots on the surface will get hit by pigment and others not.

    Reduction:


    There are two main reasons to reduce paint.
    -Enhance the flow of the paint
    -Make the build up of the color more slow (generaly to et a bit more control)

    When we are painting we are aplying pigment to a surface. This pigment dictates how fast the color will build up. Unreduced paint could be said to have 100% pigment. The moment we start reducing it's important to keep in mind we also reduce the % of pigment so even when one reduces just to make the paint flow better a slower build up of the color is an automatic result also.

    Why is there transparant base and reducers (water)

    As the two main reasons to use reduction at all would be both covered with water (or reducers) which would reduce the amount of pigment and make the paint less thick, whats the use of transparant base?

    Here is where viscosity comes into play. When adding a lot of water at a certain point the paint will lose its viscosity and break up. This results in one spraying water with the occasinal blotches of paint where there where enough "paint molecules" near eachother to create enough viscosity to make that blotch of paint. So one can't endlesly add water to paint.

    Transparant base (name of this might differ as for the brand used) is paint without pigment. As it is of the same consistency as the paint (only doesn't have any color) this will in no way affect the viscosity of the paint.

    When to use what?

    If one wants to make paint thinner water or reducers are used. Depending on the paint this can be done by a certain amount before it loses viscosity. When this point is reached one has just hit the limmit of the paint, nothing to be done about that, it won't get any thinner.

    If one wants to reduce the amount of pigment water can be used as above (will ofcource also make the paint thinner). Another option here is how ever transparant base. This reduces the amount of pigment without reducing the paints viscosity (as one is just adding paint without color).

    If one is reducing with water to reduce the amount of pigment and hit the point where paint losing it's viscosity transparant base is the only solution to reduce the amount of pigment even further

    A last remark on thinning paint: Thinning paint will not affect the size/thickness of the pigment. this means some paints just won't go through (or clogup) the smaller nozzle sizes (0.15-.02) nomatter how much reducer is added as they contain particles that are just too big. Especialy metalics or flakes come to mind here.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
  2. Smiler65

    Smiler65 Detail Decepticon!

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    Thank you very much @haasje dutchairbrush for putting this together I'm sure it will come in very handy for us noobs.this will be printed out with another useful reference I was given today and be next to my workspace so I can refer to It until it has become embedded.:rolleyes:
    Thanks:thumbsup::thumbsup:
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  3. Smiler65

    Smiler65 Detail Decepticon!

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    Can a mod please make this a sticky:)
  4. matty171

    matty171 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    The master has spoken peeps so listen up and take note
  5. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    Your wish is my command. You could also bookmark this too.

    Thanks for this Haasje, wish I'd had this info when I was starting out.

    Edit Hmmm not sure if that's working ......
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  6. Smiler65

    Smiler65 Detail Decepticon!

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    Thanks Squishy its that sort of info for us noobs to be able to find easily that might just give us a little head start on the long road of learning:)
    Bookmarked and printed out.
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  7. Diegojavbau

    Diegojavbau Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Priceless as ussual !!!!
  8. Boltcase

    Boltcase Detail Decepticon!

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    Thank you Haasje! Your unselfish contributions are appreciated. :)
  9. Kat Wolffpack

    Kat Wolffpack Double Actioner

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    thanks for sharing I definitely understand everything alot better now .
  10. CALz AyrWKz

    CALz AyrWKz Moderator Mod

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    Nice information Haasje. :)
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  11. maffie

    maffie Double Actioner

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    Very interesting. Thank you for you're lesson! Learning from it.:thumbsup:
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  12. markjthomson

    markjthomson AKA QuickDraw and very happy #nobrushleftbehind Staff Member Mod

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  13. basepaint

    basepaint Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    Again thank you Haasje
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  14. paulcouk

    paulcouk Spider Splatterer

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    Thank's haasje
    I am a beginner and found this very interesting,
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  15. HiraMahi

    HiraMahi Gravity Guru

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    If i understand good, if i have holographic card and i want the transparent effect i can use more drop of reducer on opaque colors, so can i have more control of the paint, right?

    Inviato dal mio SM-G930F utilizzando Tapatalk
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  16. markjthomson

    markjthomson AKA QuickDraw and very happy #nobrushleftbehind Staff Member Mod

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    Not quite, the water only reduces the viscosity rather than changing the transparency of it. A transparent base added to an opaque can help.
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  17. HiraMahi

    HiraMahi Gravity Guru

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    Yesterday, talking about lures i make some test.

    I used the hansa pro color with the specific transparent base.

    The result is fantastic.

    Now, i dont know for the next time, if is better order transparent colors, or opaque colors with specific transparent base.

    [​IMG]

    Inviato dal mio SM-G930F utilizzando Tapatalk
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  18. haasje dutchairbrush

    haasje dutchairbrush Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    Adding water/reducer/transparant base will all work as all of these will dilute the paint and thus dilute the amount of pigment you spray. As a rule of thumb the less pigment the more comtrol as it will build up more gradualy.

    The opaque will remain opaque though (will just take longer to reach full opacity) even when using transparant base
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  19. HiraMahi

    HiraMahi Gravity Guru

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    Sorry if i reply, but probably i dont understand, my english is not good.

    The better choice is hava opaque and transparent colors, right?

    Becouse the opaque plus the transparent base dont work like the fabric transparent color, right?

    Inviato dal mio SM-G930F utilizzando Tapatalk
  20. frowan

    frowan Needle-chuck Ninja Very Likeable!

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    depending of the pigment, surely you get a semi-transparent or translucent. In other words, an reduced opaque is more transparent but not so much as the transparente bottle one, because the pigment used is the key.

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