92% of People Can't See Colors Accurately

Why worry about Color Accuracy When 92% of People Can’t See Color Accurately

Color Preception Test - Only 8% of People Pass

This video made my day :slight_smile:
It was child’s play to ace.

Some modelers worry about Color Accuracy. I find this very ironic given 92 percent of people can’t see color accurately. Think about what that implies for manufacturing paints under wartime conditions and or trying to match those obscure colors 75+ years later :grinning:

Throwing a little more fuel on the “color” fire Why It’s Hard To Remember Colors our brains aren’t very good at remembering hues of Color. The brain typically just recalls a Color more or less in the ballpark.


Piece of cake to pick the grey tone that was slightly different


I certainly believe that 98% of the population can’t tell colors. After all in my own family my wife and daughters keep saying the brown clothes they buy are red or orange and that what’s green is really blue or vice versa


I tend to agree…

Have had very similar conversations with folks where certain shades of purple or gray are declared to be “brown”'or visa-versa.

1 Like

I’m surprised the percentage is that high. I’ve always assumed accurate color perception is similar to musical “perfect pitch”.
When I was much younger and Christmas rolled around my father would put the lights on the house and then my mother would send me out to fix them. He insisted on alternating red and green bulbs but was, unfortunately, red/green color blind. Great Christmas tradition lost to time.
A quick look at an “Adelson’s checker shadow illusion” (do a search - very cool) tells me that what I see and what’s actually there are two very different things. I expect this illusion occurs in everyone to some degree.
It’s also possible the the artificial lighting we find everywhere is stopping us from developing a true color sense.
On the plus side, trying to get Khaki Green 3 right is no longer an issue. My sincere thanks :grin:.

@Colder Colin, excellent addition to the discussion. Not being familiar with Adelson’s Check had to take a peek :slight_smile:

Adelson’s Checker-Shadow Illusion

Gets pretty deep about preceptions & processing etc…" the brain must combine raw sensory input and previous experience to arrive at a ‘best guess’ as to what is out in the world…"

Check out William Stroudleys’ “Improved Engine Green”…



Which one do you see? RGB Green? :green_circle: or CMYK OD? 🫒 :thinking:

Another variable’s the state of our corneas & lenses, which gradually yellow as we age. (Apologies if this was already mentioned in one of the links). The brain becomes aware of this and inserts a correcting filter into the neurons before our conscious mind ”sees” whatever it is we’re looking at. This raises interesting points e.g. for the brain to “know” the raw vision now has a permanent yellowish tinge, presumably it can only do so by comparing with memories of colours from when young, when our corneas/lens were perfectly transparent. And thus substitutes what’s out there with what it thinks it should look like. No wonder I sometimes think I’m seeing things…

That said it’s a bit of a blunt adjusting instrument - what most people over about 45 y.o. increasingly “see” or perceive are colours with the actual yellow/brown component slightly turned down. So oranges & browns might appear slightly redder, greens slightly bluer etc….and dunkelgelb perfectly faded. But the point is each one of us is in a spectrum of ages, in a spectrum of rate-of-ageing, in a spectrum of colour-memories, looking at the same colours…or are they? :rainbow: :tumbler_glass:


Once upon a time I had huge discussions about the colour/hue issues with another model builder about how we see colours. In one case he argued that colour was constant since we interpret what we see and our brains compensate for shadows and lighting. In another case he argued that colour needed to be adjusted to create the illusion of light/shadow.
In a way it is just the two sides of the same coin.
I would use the same six colours for all sides of a model Rubiks cube and let the lighting in the display cabinet, contest table, whatever, take care of the shadows. He argued that the colours should be adjusted to create the shadows. Fixing the colours will make the model look really strange when seen in different lighting conditions …


He is/was a firm believer in the Stop sign rule:


Well…that explains all the arguments over the exact/perfect shade of US OD vs British OD, Fieldgray, German dark gray, etc… etc… :thinking: :exploding_head:

Maybe but most people are Richard’s and trying to see who is the biggest Richard of the group in most cases.

Here’s a fairly obscure factoid that usually turns Big Richard’s into Lil’ Rich’s.

My other serious hobby is cars etc. Over the years, I’ve talked with or done business with three different high end paint & body shops that do national award winning Restoration work :muscle:. One might find an original 69 Camaro convertible, Hemi Cuda or L88 Corvette being restored at these places at any given time.

Discussing color matching, all three said you can match the color, have the computer color matching camera with built-in paint formula detection etc BUT if even if the same pigments are used in both batches of paint if **the pigments are ground differently **in some light conditions the color won’t match.

For example the two batches of paint may match perfectly in direct sunlight but not match when it’s overcast because the slight difference in how the same pigments were ground.

Most of us wouldn’t see it but there a select few expert eyes that can see that level of difference.

Just ask your local Tetrachromat that can see 99 million more colors than the rest of us :slight_smile:

Tetrachromacy is the possession of four cone cells. This allows organisms to have a four-dimensional color experience—something that fish, reptiles, and diural birds all have. Humans normally detect color through three cone cells in the eyes, making us trichromats. Ultimately, this difference means that humans see far less colors than these other organisms.

In the 1940s, however, scientists began to theorize that some humans may be tetrachromats. Females in particular are more likely to inherit this trait.



(recycled link…)



So, I’ve never bothered to research this question, but does it really matter if a person can’t perceive the true color as long as the color that the person does perceive is consistently perceived by that person?

That is, a person has some degree of color blindness in the green part of the spectrum, but if any given true shade of green is always perceived to be the exact same shade by the color blind person, does his or her perception really matter? The true color looks the same to that person all the time, so as long as he or she uses a shade of paint that they perceive that same way, will the true color used be the same?

Also, just because a person can’t perceive some particular true shade of a color, why wouldn’t that person still want to use a true shade of that color anyway?

We reply on the paint manufacturers to produce colors that are as true a possible, and the digital color analysis is probably more precise and consistent than almost any human’s color perception. What does it matter whether or not some particular individual is color blind or not with regards to what he or she is trying to achieve?

The color used is the color used. If it’s accurate within a reasonable variation of the prototype color, does it matter whether or not the person using it is color blind? The actual color hasn’t changed, it’s only the person’s perception of it that does not match.

Or, am I not seeing something? (LOL!)

1 Like

Perfect! :man_artist: :rofl:

If person A can’t tell the difference between a hue of green-brown and a hue of pink-brown
then person A can happily paint his Sherman model pink-brown and think that it is a perfect match.
A will live happily ever after with his/her perfectly colour matched collection of pink-brown Shermans.

If A goes to a contest and gets judged by B who has normal vision (not an 8-percenter but maybe an
average Joe when it comes to colour perception) then A can be in for a rude awakening.
Similar situation can occur when posting on a forum like this …


This all reminds me of the scene in Space Cowboys when they have to pass the eye-chart test. Donald Sutherland’s character goes last after all the others read the chart, and is blind as a bat without his glasses, but aces the test by reading all the way down to the bottom with ease. When one of the others questions his eyesight he responds “Yea, but there’s nothing wrong with my memory!” :grin:


Just wondering: Have any of you guys had cataract surgery? In my case, colors became more vivid when I had the procedure done in my fifty’s.


@justsendit Michael, I haven’t but my fiance did. She remarked on how vivid colors appeared after cataract surgery. A couple specifics come to mind.

  1. Picked out a wine/maroon garment for a grandchild. Post surgery it was more violent/purple.

  2. Several items of clothing, previously considered black or navy blue were now seen as dark blue or dark gray.

  3. One specific was the trash can which she’d always thought was solid green. Post surgery it was gray lid with green can. My perception is its gray and green :slight_smile:

In my opinion, it was almost like a yellow or yellow brown filter was removed as mentioned above.

@SdAufKla Michael, yes in some cases it objectively matters.

Long ago a friend who was an AMPS Master explained he had to give up on doing WW2 German tri-color because he was red-green color blind. The red-brown and olive-green looked exactly the same to him. The wrong red-brown or olive-green would aways ended up drybrushed onto the other color. It looked perfect to him but the crisscrossed drybrushing was obvious to people not red-green color blind.

He tried several systems as work arounds etc but ultimately decide two color: dark yellow with panzer olive or dark yellow with red brown was the limit.

As for hobby paint manufacturers and color, close is probably good enough but some of it really isn’t close in my opinion/preception. Most of the big names being in that category. Of course it possible some of the manufacturers have folks working there that have color perception issues.