Home>Acrylics> Artist Resources> Color > (RE) INTRODUCING THE VIRTUAL PAINT MIXER



  1. Looks great! What might be very useful is the ability to select the paints you have in your collection (rather than the whole range) and then enter a RGB colour to try to match as close as possible. 🙂

    • Thanks Richard. The ability to store and work from a personal palette of colors is definitely on the wish list and something we aspire to, but in the meantime, we wanted to roll this out as we felt it represented a huge leap over what we had before. That said, we are definitely not done with improving this tool over time and adding features, and getting feedback like yours is valuable in helping us understand what folks value and want to see.

      • It really is a necessity to create a customized pallet, I only use 5 or 6 colors, I am no way going to have 100 colors in my palette.

        • We agree with you.
          You can use a section and plug in the specific color range you prefer as opposed to the entire set of paint offerings. At the main MXR page, you will see 4 blank tubes. If you left-click on a specific color, then hover over one of the empty tubes with your mouse arrow, then left-click again, you’ll deposit that color into the tube. Then use the sliders to increase/decrease the percentages until you achieve the color you are after. The ratio will be listed and you’ll have your color match!
          If you have any other questions, please let us know!
          – Mike Townsend

          • Well that’s not helpful for me, I can not use a uploaded photo to create a target color. I want to use my limited palette, select an image, select a color in my photo, create a target color then have it try to mix my palette to match, just like the other option!!

          • Sorry to hear that option is not practical for you, R.

            Perhaps you can use the Modern or Classic Color Theory sets of color, which are both palette options within the MXR. However, at this time, we do not have a way to create the exact set an artist prefers to work with.
            – Mike Townsend

      • Respected Miss Sarah
        I tried to connect with you on linkedin but unfortunately not able to connect.
        Currently i am working on color artistic oil tubes. The main issue i am facing is, after direct application the tubes dry very fast.

        • Hello Sabeeh.
          Sarah Sands is retired and thus no longer works at GOLDEN Artist Colors. I do not understand the nature of your issue. Are you saying that the oil paint in tubes dries very fast due to being used as a direct painting tool, as opposed to dispensing the paint onto a palette to then apply by brush or palette knife? Please rephrase your question. – Mike

    • Hi Virginia – We know what you mean!! There is something just inherently satisfying about mixing colors, and glad that the color mixer can be a part of that exploration even if it can never replace the real thing. Anyway, if there is anything else we can ever do to help, just ask.

  2. Hi Sarah – Is there any way to know the width of the color gamut for Heavy Body Colors (in terms of what colors can be made from mixed paint)?

    I prepare artwork on the computer before applying those designs to canvas with Heavy Body paints. It would be helpful to know which colors I can use on computer screen that will also have the ability to be produced with Heavy Body paints.

    I hope this makes sense?

    Thank you!!

    • Hi John –

      Thanks so much for your question and as much as I wish there was an easy answer, the more honest reply would be that “it’s complicated’ and there is currently no easy way to guide you on what would or would not be in gamut. This is the stuff that not only dreams are made of, but full-fledged Ph.D. Theses! That said, there are some general things I can share that might at least start to map out the difficulties and show where there is a higher chance of running into gamut issues. Unfortunately what follows can get a touch technical, so apologies beforehand.

      In terms of a gamut for our Heavy Body Acrylics, while we have not mapped that ourselves, thankfully the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has used our Matte Heavy Body colors as the basis for a defined space they call an Extended Paint gamut. This is smaller but highly related to another color space called the Pointer gamut, named after a researcher who defined the range of colors for all possible reflective surfaces found in the world.

      Probably the best place to get an initial sense for how these two gamuts compare to various RGB spaces is to point you to page 8 of the following document:


      Keep in mind, when looking through these, that the Virtual Paint Mixer (VPM) uses sRGB to represent the color space of a monitor. We did this because sRGB, while based on the relatively smaller gamut of 1970’s CRT Monitors, can be rendered by nearly any and all screens being used in the world. That said, comparing the Extended Paint or Pointer gamut to some of the wider RGB models – used for things like high definition tv’s or retina displays in iPads – can be instructive as well, driving home the same areas of mismatch by exaggerating where things do not line up. As you can see, where paints are weakest is in the wide area of bright, luminous yellow greens, the hotter pinks and magentas, and even the purest of the cyan blues.

      However, a word of caution is in order, since the above is only looking at how these color spaces line up at maximum chroma. If you start to take slices of these color spaces at different luminosity levels, you can see how the gamuts expand and contract at different rates and the relationship is anything but static. The best sense of this can be found by looking at the illustrations starting on page 8 here:


      Unfortunately, these do not include RIT’s Extended Paint gamut, but the similar Pointer’s gamut is still shown as a light blue irregular shape. And for RGB, while they do not show sRGB, they do have Adobe RGB which, while larger than sRGB, can still help illustrate the general relationships. Adobe RGB is shown by the purple line. Each illustration shows these spaces at different L values, with L10 being very low in value and L90 being very bright. As you can see between L40-60 the Pointer Gamut is at its largest scope, but even then areas of Adobe RGB still extend beyond it. As the light value goes up and down, you can see that the gamut of RGB tends to extend beyond Pointer even more, meaning that monitors can show colors at brighter and lower luminosity with a far greater range than paints. Lastly, one more illustration of a comparison of our Golden Heavy Body Paints and sRGB can be found on David Briggs’ excellent site The Dimensions of Color ( http://www.huevaluechroma.com/015.php ) Look specifically at this image about halfway down:


      As you can see, even sRGB extends well past the gamut of our Heavy Body paints, but there are also places where the paints are out of gamut in the opposite direction! Meaning that there are paint colors that cannot be captured by the monitor. This is something that we do not throw up warning signs around as the system will simply choose the closest match it can find to represent that color virtually on your screen, but it does mean that some of the colors you see will not appear the same as the paints themselves. One classic example is our Cadmium Orange, which is out of gamut for nearly all RGB systems, so even if you choose pure Cadmium Orange and compare the screen color to the actual paint, you will see that the paint is brighter and higher chroma.

      I realize the above is a lot to take in but I wanted to share as much as I could in case you were interested in knowing the reasoning involved. And if you have any follow-up questions, just let me know and I will do my best to make it clearer. Also, if talking through these issues is helpful, let me know and I would be happy to schedule a time to call.

    • Hi Linda – Thanks for the suggestion. I will let the developers know and, if nothing else, we can add it to our wish list of improvements to consider. Hopefully, in the meantime, the tool is still proving useful to you and if there is anything else we can do, just ask!

  3. Hi,

    Thank you for this very useful tool. great idea!
    are there any special directions if I want to use it with Williamsburg oil colors?

    (and… If this mixer just could output Munsell values… it would be perfect :D)

    • Hello Adam,

      Thank you for your question. Unfortunately the Virtual Paint Mixer works currently only with the Golden Acrylics. It is our aim to eventually expand the Mixer to Williamsburg and QoR, however this is still a remote prospect. Adding a new set of colors to the Mixer involves a lot of work for our lab, IT and MAS team.

      We have not specifically tested how far off the mixtures would be when using Williamsburg instead of Golden and this would probably very much within the paint line. We would appreciate if you shared your experiences, in case you will conduct some of your own testing.

  4. Awesome! You all even included an easy-to-copy function for RGB & CMYK – which is just what I had requested. This will make it much easier for me to document my color palette. Thank you so much!

  5. Hi,

    I really enjoy your color mixer and have lots of fun experimenting with it. But i have a few questions:

    1. Is this still in developement?
    2. Is the custom palette feature still coming? If not, maybe it would be possible to at least exclude some colors for the automatic matching?
    3. It seems to me that the Single Pigment Palette contains some mixtures, namely Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue and Green Gold.
    4. While investigating if those two are actually single pigment colors in some paint ranges of yours, i noticed that the “Mineral Spirit Acrylic Colors” Pigment Identification Chart seems to be completely messed up.

    Best Regards


    • Hello Markus,
      Thank you so much for your input, and catching issues for us. We are going to respond to your query via your email address, so it will be easier for us to follow up as we find out answers to your questions.

  6. As an aspiring artist learner, I think this palette is truly amazing. However, I use oil paint because my hands are not as fast as the quick drying speed of acrylic. (lol) Are there any plans to make this palette for oil painting? If you don’t have one, please make one.
    Oil paint is expensive, so if learners can find the color they need in this way, I think it will be very effective.

    • Hello Kim, we hope to get Williamsburg into the Virtual Mixer in the future. It is something we are working on, so stay tuned! At this time we do not have a definite date at which we will be able to roll this out as it requires a lot of background work, but if there is anything in the meantime we can help with, please let us know! help@goldenpaints.com

  7. Thank you for you work. As others have mentioned: the ability to save a customized palette for color picking would be invaluable! Most artists (I know of) don’t simply own a complete branded set, they own a smaller mix of paints sourced from different sets. This feature would make the program infinitely more useful for informing paint purchase / application. I’m begging you!

    • Hello Miles, Thank you for your suggestion! You are not alone in wishing the Virtual Mixer had that option. We will forward your comment to Marketing. The more requests, the better the chance this update will happen. Thank you again, and happy painting! Cathy

  8. What colour temperature should a monitor be calibrated to best match the VPM colors to the acrylics. I understand that sRGB is which mode the monitor should be set to. I have mad images using adobe illustrator and used the rgb values from it to reproduce the colours as acrylics using the VPM but depending on which screen I use the colours can be vastly different…

    • Hello Matthew,
      Thank you for your question. We asked the department involved with creation of the Paint Mixer, and this is their reply:

      The Mixer assumes D65/2 illuminant for all of its mixes, so if the user can control the warmth of their monitor color, it should be set to 6500 Kelvin.

      In terms of what monitor to use, we have no particular recommendations. There are too many types with too many variations of control to reliably promote one particular brand/type over another. One thing that can help – the Mixer actually tries to account for color space differences between sRGB and physical pigments when displaying colors, so if the user were to calibrate the monitor for sRGB digital photography (and there are several guides online on how to do this), they should see the best results. Ambient room lighting can also affect the results (on CRTs in particular), so the user may want to take than into consideration as well. Unfortunately, there are just some pigment colors (greens in particular if I recall) that do not express themselves correctly in an additive color process such as computer monitors. The Mixer does however try to warn the user when they are moving out of gamut.

      We hope this is helpful, and we wish you great success in your creating!

      • Dear Cathy,
        Is there anyway to reconcile the difference between the paint mixer suggestions for colours in the sRGB colour space with a different colour light used to display the physical mixes? I.e. A middle red on a sRGB monitor would look very close to the Golden suggested mix under a 6500k bulb but very different under 5000k lighting, which is closer to what galleries and homes would use.

        • Hello Matthew,
          Before I get into my response to your question, I must share that we have a new-new color mixer! The new acrylic mixer uses the same program as the version written about in this article, but there are new features that you may want to explore: a palette builder so you can mix with a limited set of colors that you select; a new OIL COLOR MIXER that uses the same interface as the new acrylic mixer, but uses the Williamsburg Artist Oil Colors palette.
          As for an adjustment for viewing color in different temperature lighting, sadly that is not among the new features. The colors presented in the mixer are sRGB values based on data collected using the photospectrometer. The photospectrometer uses 6500k (daylight) lighting. The only remedy I can suggest is adjustments to the monitor or screen you’re using to simulate the lighting conditions under which you anticipate your painting(s) will be shown. Even with those adjustments, we have to accept the limitations of RGB representation and save space for a certain amount of subjectivity and physiological influences affecting our results.

          • Dear Christopher,
            Thank you for the quick and throrough reply. I have used the old and new mixer, and the improvements and additions are very useful, especially the palette builder. Being a real life user, I strongly urge Golden to make the feature I am requesting available. For colour sensitive works, which is what I believe the whole point of the mixer is made for, it is a no brainer. I realise that time, effort and money are involved, but in the long run, I am sure more people will buy Golden products as a result of this addition. I have done what you have suggested, as sRGB 6500k gets me about 80% of the way there, but whilst most monitors or colour managing systems can change the colour temperature of the monitor, unfortunately the gamut increases to the monitors default colour space as well so colours look more much saturated than the mixed paints will actually be. Getting sRGB gamut in 5000k is not as easy as I imagined. In the end a mixture of trial and error whilst mixing paints in the appropriate lighting and the mixer suggestions are used by me. Despitet the CRI or quality of bulbs used by the end user not being a known entity used when displaying the mixtures, I am sure it will still be a very useful feature as I feel the difference between the monitor colour and lightbulb colour will be greater than the difference in light bulb quality. As an aside, I have used the mixer with 6500k lighting and it does work very, very well. Unfortunately 6500k lighting is not used by collectors or galleries much.

          • Thanks for taking the time to work with our new color mixer and providing us with your feedback. We hear you, and we will definitely consider a color temperature adjustment (setting?) for users when we begin our next round of updates and improvements.

Leave a Comment