Light It Up! Paint Light Booths and the Modern Professional Painter Reply

Everyone knows that different light sources produce different spectrums of color. Some LEDs produce a cold, white light that seems more appropriate for a factory floor or warehouse than a kitchen. Incandescent lightning often produces a softer, golden glow that may make dens and living rooms more comfortable to sit in. Sunlight looks different then artificial light, and some lights are bright and direct while others are muted but cover a large area. As such, it should come as no secret or surprise that different paint colors and glosses can look substantially different depending on the light source shining upon them.

BYK light booth

A large light booth for paint color evaluation.
Image courtesy of BYK

One of the most common complaints professional painters face at the completion of a job is the client thinking that the paint color, despite matching the sample, drawdown card, or swatch, doesn’t look the same on the walls or ceilings as it did in the store. Often, the client may incorrectly assign blame to the painter if the color doesn’t match their expectations.

Musicians often talk about how new instruments never sound as good at home as they do in the store. Designers and professional painters often experience the same feeling when it comes to selecting paint colors; what looked good on a paint swatch or drawdown card under one light source looks completely different (and not always better) under another. Despite this challenge for painters and designers, things are improving at a rapid pace.  Paint manufacturers have sophisticated paint light booths like these from BYK that they can use to make sure each shade that leaves the factory matches the exact color they intended. Some professional painters, particularly those working in industrial paint sectors like automotive or marine, have access to full size paint booths as well.

Paint light booth viewer

An industrial paint light booth.
Image courtesy of BYK.

These useful booths don’t simply shine light on paint samples. Rather, they recreate and simulate different lightning conditions and viewing angles.  Paint manufacturers recognize that their laboratory and factory conditions don’t match exactly the lighting conditions in the environments of their end users.  Examining and measuring paint colors a number of different ways helps ensure that whether you are using an artificial light source in an office or natural light outside (and any light source in-between), the manufacturer has worked to control the paint color as much as possible to meet your satisfaction.

Most paint light booths allow the manufacturer or paint professional to evaluate paint colors under simulated daylight (D65), incandescent light (A), and simulated department store light. More advanced light booths can also produce ultraviolet light and offer the user the ability to alter the angle of reflection of the light, producing a simulation of the paint under most any light source possible.

Industrial paint booth

A walk in paint booth.
Image courtesy of Marathon

Do paint light booths prevent poor color choices by designers, painters, and clients every time? Of course not. They do, however, ensure that paint manufacturers and engineers are able to fully consider and evaluate the full spectrum of light that may eventually shine on a particular paint color. This means paint that looks as great when you have finished your paint work as it did in the factory. Click here to learn more about paint color instrumentation, including paint light booths, from BYK!

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