1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member


    There are several YouTube videos that claim to show cars painted with "Paramagnetic" paint which supposedly used an electrical current to change the color of car paint. Many of these are quite realistic looking, as the camera moves around the car, and only the paint changes color in the scene. Because of the high quality videos, many people, and even some car web sites, have been taken in by the hoax.

    In fact it's just a very simple trick in Adobe After Effects, the "Change To Color" effect, where you just have to pick the color you want to change from, and the color you want to change to, and Adobe will do all the rest in a matter of seconds. To animate the color, all you have to do is change the "to" color at different points in the video, and Adobe takes care of that too. It's really one of the simplest things you can do in After Effects.

    It took me about fifteen minutes to find a tutorial, and make my own version using a network cable. So long as the object (the car, or the cable in this example) is a unique color, then nothing else is needed.

    With the end result:

    The origin of the hoax dates back to a 2007 article in Motor Authority:
    It's unclear where that original claim came from, however there is a company called "Litcoat" with a current web site that claims to be able to sell you a pdf containing the secret of paramagnetic paint. Their process looks rather dubious though, and there's no evidence it actually works.

    The only technology that remotely resembles this is electroluminescence, where a layer of semiconducting phosphor is sandwiched between two conducting layers, with the top layer being transparent. These layers can be very thin, and some companies have been developing methods of painting them onto curved surfaces. It's a fiddly process though, and does not actually change the color of the paint, just makes it emit some light.

    Here's the tutorial by Justin Jimmo. This is just a little more complex as there is a car in the background that is the same color. So that needs masking out. But it still only takes Justin a few minutes.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
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  2. Gene Vetter

    Gene Vetter New Member

    There is a product called Chameleon paint that's been around for several years that has a similar effect. The first time I saw it was on a Harley at the Hollister rally here in California. I really wanted the paint on my bike, then found out how much they wanted just for the paint, and had second thoughts. It does need to be seen in full sun to see the greatest change, but it's slick. There are YouTube videos available, but you'll see it's different. It doesn't just instantly change to a different color like the videos in your post.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2014
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  3. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    TVR used to be big on the chameleon paint. That basically looks a different colour depending on what angle the light is on it, so as you walk round the car, different bits change from green to blue or red to yellow.
    Ibanez made a 90th Anniversary joe Satriani guitar with that finish too. It looked absolutely gorgeous.appeared to have at least 3 different colours in. but yes, it is TOTALLY different to the OP
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  4. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    Here's a TVR. as you walk around the car, the bits that were purple will start to look blue and vice versa
  5. Gene Vetter

    Gene Vetter New Member

    The Harley I mentioned was copper colored at first glance, but as you walked around it, that same purple color that's in your photo popped out. I thought I had a photo, but I can't find it on my computer.
  6. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    There are differences in the terms used....
    Typical "color-shift" is a prismatic quality (as from a prism) and is using available light, where "luminescence" is an emission of light usually activated by another source other than "available light".

    See all descriptions here....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminescence#Types
  7. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    The topic is "electroluminescent" (EL) paint....and that's quite interesting to me, being in the paint business.

    But most (if not all) working applications seem to result in the typical "phosphorescent" type color/light change.....as one might find in plug-in EL panel nightlights, or Luminescent Paints that are activated by the amount of UV "available light" (enhanced be adding UV light, and removing "natural", non-uv light).

    The point is.....the type of light produced in either method, is not perceived as your typical "ox blood red" or "moss green".
    It's a phosphorescent white, with various shades of red, blue, yellow, green or or white.
    Think L.E.D's. or fluorescent tubes.........they don't come in brown flavors. (unless singly mixed together)

    In my sister's basement....I painted a natural sky, when seen with warm LED electric lighting.


    I had her install UV LED lighting, to produce this (because I also painted the sky with invisible fluorescent paint).....

  8. derrick06

    derrick06 Active Member

    Mick your awesome! As a gearhead I've been seeing this spread like wildfire on car/motorcycle forums! Thanks for the link I'll share with fellow enthusiasts! Note: This claim is not to be confused with Chameleon paint found on TVR sports cars!
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  9. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    No, i only mentioned it cos it was something real that WAS out there.
  10. NoParty

    NoParty Senior Member

    Damn! Do my ceilings next! :D
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  11. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    They look great but I had to laugh when this type of finish started showing up on the likes of the Nissan Primera :D
  12. Andy Love

    Andy Love New Member

    Both Litcoat and Paramegnetic paint are scam sites that are trying to sell people the basic materials for electro-luminescence (phosphor, dielectric and conductive clear) and then lead people to think that they can use these as paints. They are trying to rip off a company called Darkside Scientific (www.darksidescientific.com and www.lumilor.com ) who have actually created and patented a spray on electroluminescent coating. They are also on facebook, search for "Darkside Scientific", where you will be able to see the work they do.


    Attached Files:

  13. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    yup my sister had a Renault Scenic people carrier with a paint job that flicked from rusty browny red to a dirty orange-yellow depending on the lighting and where you were standing, looked well naff.
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  14. Unhappy Joe

    Unhappy Joe New Member

    Litcoat and Paramagnetic electroluminescent paint store paint is an absolute scam and hoax, i have personally spent tens of thousands of dollars on the PVA glue based paint. It has many limitations including, short shelf life "organic materials" without preservatives or something. Its resistance values in the conductive layers is a joke, lead pencil equates. and after a successful light, when a clear "of any kind" is added for top coat there is a loss of 80% light.
    I have tested and completed 1,000's of tests on this paint, it is Gold priced Garbage!!!
    Lumilor have a patent and have definitely been the pioneer and first people to start using this technology in a different way, but their patents ONLY new claim is in the process they use to make 1 certain layer of paint, other than that their patent is a copy of several other patents with one modification.
    There are other companies pioneering in this technology like LuminAuz who also make their own 100% Aussie formulas of paints and provide an application service.