I finished the Procion MX Sun Yellow – Mixing Red – Mixing Blue dye “cube” a week or so ago, but only finished photographing it a day or two ago. I found it fascinating to compare this “cube” to the Gold – Mixing Red – Intense Blue cube I finished a few weeks ago – here are some photos and analysis for you.
We’ll start with a photo of the Sun Yellow – Mixing Red and Gold – Mixing Red color combinations (no blue in either mix):
These were all dyed at the same concentrations. Left to right, the concentrations are 0, 0.06%, 0.12%, 0.25%, and 0.5% DOS in yellow; bottom to top are the same set of concentrations in Mixing Red. There is virtually no difference between the two color combinations except in the bottom row – which is pure Sun Yellow on left and and pure Gold on the right. This is largely because the Gold is a slightly more reddish yellow (like Sun Yellow with a bit of red added), so when the Mixing Red gets into the act, it overwhelms the very slight hue difference between Sun Yellow and Gold, making the combinations look identical. Put another way, the Gold looks a bit like Sun Yellow plus maybe .005% Mixing Red, so when you throw 0.06% Mixing Red into the mix, the 0.005% difference gets obliterated.
Now, let’s see what happens when you add a tiny bit of the two different blues to the two essentially-identical combinations of yellow and blue. This is the same mix of dyes as in the previous photo, except with .06% Mixing Blue added on the left, and .06% Intense Blue on the right.
Here you can see that the Intense Blue (right) is a much weaker mixing color than the Mixing Blue (left) – it has a slightly dulling effect on the bright colors in the first photo, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the impact of the Mixing Blue. The Intense Blue doesn’t even have enough mixing power to turn the Gold at bottom left to green!
Here is the same cube with a little more of the blues: 0.12% Mixing Blue on left, 0.12% Intense Blue on the right.
Again, you can see that the Intense Blue on the right is far weaker than the Mixing Blue on the left. You can also start to see differences in the hue between the Intense Blue-Mixing Red mixes and the Mixing Blue/Mixing Red mixes – the Mixing Blue combinations produce less saturated (duller) colors than the Intense Blue/Mixing Red combinations.
What happens if you compare the dyes at roughly similar combinations of visual strength? Here is 0.12% Mixing Blue on the left, and 0.25% Intense Blue on the right.
You’ll notice that the Intense Blue – even at double the concentration – still isn’t quite as strong as the Mixing Blue, but that it produces a slightly “cooler” set of colors than the Mixing Blue, which has redder undertones.
Here is level 3 – 0.25% of each of the blues:
Now the temperature shift is becoming more obvious, as is the overall brighter (more saturated) colors achieved with the Intense Blue (left). That’s largely because the Intense Blue is a more saturated blue than the Mixing Blue (right). When you mix two colors together you can never get a more saturated shade than the original colors. But it’s also because the Intense Blue is weaker (= less blue to dull down the oranges) and because it has more yellow in it than the Mixing Blue, which means it dulls down the oranges in the middle of the “square” less strongly (they both contain lots of yellow).
Here is the final level of the “light” cube, with 0.5% of each of the blues:
And here are the darker shades. I didn’t have time to set up a comparison of these to the Intense Blue combinations, but adding them for completeness, so you can see the full set of concentrations. Left to right, and top to bottom, the concentrations are 0, 0.5%, 1%, 2%, and 4% DOS for Sun Yellow and Mixing Red. Each level has a single amount of Mixing Blue, indicated in the caption.
And that’s it for now!