Friday, November 30, 2012

Textile Friday: Additive vs. Subtractive Dying

           Some of you all may have seen this before as it's been out for a couple of years, but lately I seem to be getting a sleuth of questions about dying. Dying is one of those topics that drives everyone in textiles CRAZY because your computer screen NEVER matches the actual fabric/in person. This has to do with how the color is created. On your computer screen the color is generated by adding different colored lights together (Named aptly enough additive dying). In fabric, the color is created by SUBTRACTING colors (aka- subtractive dying). While adding and subtracting always end up with the same number on paper, in real life this rarely happens as all additive colors together make white while all subtractive colors added together make black. Kinda hard to meet in the middle there. This is further complicated by the fact that colors often have vague or non-standard names like tan, black, or gold. What is a true color in any shade may vary from region to region or even season to season. One year's perfect forest green may be another year's hated pea soup. While pantone has been used for a long time in the printing industry to make sure everyone is one the same page colorwise, they have more recently created this stellar ap for $10.00 (A lot cheaper than the $100 plus printed sample books) which helps you bridge the gap between the two worlds. Best of all it can work from photos or a variety of color sources so you can archive, e-mail, and shop making practical application functions like making sure all your bridesmaids have the same color wedding dress or getting your florist to pick flowers that match your wedding colors. A huge gift for designers in every field and brides-to-be as you can finally coordinate color anywhere in the world. I think this is a vast step forward as color will so often make or break a design and it is also one of the hardest elements to pin down without being in person. I am passing this on to you as a gift for the week as it was given to me. Now have fun going out and designing!
               I hope this takes some of the headache out of color matching for you.

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