Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer 2.0

Category: Websites & Videos

So easy to use, very "off color"...

Our Review

I really, REALLY wanted to try out some possible paint combinations all over the house. Outside, inside, on the name it. So, spending ten bucks seemed to be a no-brainer when it came to test driving Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer 2.0 (PCV 2.0). Because, paying for the wrong color of paint costs MUCH more.

I liked many of the features. PCV 2.0 allows you to "paint" their photographs or upload your own digital photos and paint those.

It was relatively easy to select and draw the areas of a personal photograph that I wanted to paint. The technology has really advanced since three years ago when I was dabbling with design software. Obviously, Benjamin Moore has put big bucks into this program.

The program fell down on its most important feature, however. COLOR! I tried and tried to sync up the color display with real life, even followed the instructions that Benjamin Moore kindly provides luck. But color was what I NEEDED. That is the point of a painting program...getting the color right.

To demonstrate, I actually purchased two samples from Benjamin Moore...colors #1497 and #1498. I tried them out on the wall of the garage. I took a photo and uploaded it.

Then I painted those same colors from the Personal Color Viewer program NEXT to the color swatches on the wall. They don't match. The Personal Color Viewer hues are much too yellow. And the actual photo is closer to the colors in real life, because I am a nerd and actually walked the laptop out to the garage and compared them.

This is a pity because the program is very easy to use and gives you many, many options. And the ability to see paint combinations on the house before they actually ARE on the house would be so incredibly helpful to homeowners and professional designers alike. But getting software to actually read colors correctly will be a challenge.

In the meantime, it's back to samples and brushes and real life.

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I had the same problem this weekend when I scanned in the color swatches from our attic painting project.

They scanned really yellow. Some tweaking helped, but they're still not true. And when I pulled the page up on my work computer today, they're not anywhere close. The photos of the room, though, are a reasonable approximation.

(Which I guess just confirms all the color angst I learned about when first learning about the dreaded 256 color palette. After awhile, I just decided life's too short, I'm playing with all the colors and if my site shows up as chartreuse and magenta on someone's screen, so be it.)

Anyway, thanks for testing it out and reporting the results. Maybe they'll get it figured out in a few more years. Sigh.

I used to work a newspaper printing press and that's the hardest part - changing RGB colors to CMYK (projected by light vs. reflected print)
I wouldn't sweat it. There are entire departments in the printing industry that struggle daily trying to get those two different color systems to match, and fail.
Your best bet is the actual paint swatches on the wall. It'll be the most accurate.
And remember to mix multiple cans of paint since the colors may not be consistent between cans.

I'm right there with ya! Another difficulty I found was that the colors had a certain transparency ... that's good so you can see the details through where you've painted but bad because it can really dilute the colors. For example, I "painted" our front door a dark red ... on the Color Viewer, it's PINK! No matter what I tried, I couldn't get a red door.


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