What’s the Right Geometry for Solid Opaque Colors?

Color control is essential in the quality and visual appeal of a product. However, the color matching process requires more than visual analysis. Color measurement is a quantitative analysis of the color of products that ensures colors are the same. Because many factors can influence how a color looks to the eyes, color classification systems make them consistent. Learn more about the quality of opaque colors and how to measure them.

The Role of Geometry in Seeing Color

Sight involves an observer, a light source, and an object, which must all be present. These elements are set in a 3D space. Their properties and the space between them determine an object’s appearance. If any of these elements are changed, the color will look different. Color is specific to the measurement geometry.

There are two standard measurement geometries for analyzing opaque color:

  • Directional 45/0-degree and 0/45-degree: These geometries are considered synonymous, the former directing light at 45 degrees with a viewing angle of 0 degrees, the latter directing light at 0 degrees with a viewing angle of 45 degrees. This geometry replicates the human visual response to color and is best for applications that need a visual color match that includes surface characteristics of the object such as gloss and texture.
  • Diffuse d/8: Diffuse d/8 geometry observes the reflected light from an object that is scattered in all directions. It works by using a hollow sphere with a coating inside it to scatter the reflected light energy to create the desired lighting conditions.

These measurement geometries differ in their specular inclusion (SPIN) or specular exclusion (SPEX). The specular component is the reflection of the light source as part of its color calculation. Because cases vary on whether you want to collect this light, you should use the option that measures the properties you want to analyze.

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What Are Opaque Colors?

Opaque colors do not transmit light, as they are not translucent or transparent. They reflect light and depending on the object, the texture, consistency and color can vary greatly. The color measurements for opaque colors are based on their light reflectance value.

Measuring Opaqueness

Measuring colors helps with process control to make sure the color is consistent in its formula and appearance. A spectrophotometer is an instrument used for objectively measuring color. Its results are highly accurate and eliminate the subjectivity of human observers.

The spectrophotometer analyzes how much light is reflected, absorbed and transmitted, converting spectral data into color coordinates. These coordinates identify the lightness, hue and chroma, which make up the color standard. From there, you can set allowed tolerances. Future batches of the color will be measured against these standards to ensure it’s acceptability.

Contact HunterLab

HunterLab has measured the quality of opaque colors for more than 65 years. We have various color measurement solutions and technologies that will verify the quality of your color formulas to produce consistent results. For more information about measuring opaqueness, contact us online.