Fade Techniques are as diverse as the colors that are used to make them work. Fading is simply a way to trick the eye into seeing no color change between different colors. This is achieved by using color variation techniques, paint fade agents, or some talented spray work. The most common use of fade is to tint the fresh paint to match an old paint job on a car with the original color having been lightened from the sun. Custom color fades are the most complex and keep the eye from seeing a dark color with no obvious change to a lighter color.
Fading a Color to Match Faded Paint
Over time, car paint color tends to fade. This is especially true when the car is left in direct sunlight. Mixing colors to deliberately fade an an original paint color to match is a common technique for matching faded colors. A special camera is attached to a special computer which can mix paint to perfectly match an old or obscure color that has faded. Most automotive paint supply houses will offer this service for a small fee or free of charge with your purchase. This technique allows you to only paint the new or repaired part and can be the most simple and cost effective method.
Chemically Fade the Paint
This fade combines chemicals with spray techniques and is where the vehicle paint color code is used to mix up the original color then a fade agent is added to lighten the color to most closely match what the years of exposure to the elements have done to change the color to it’s current appearance. This is a ratio of fade agent mixed according the the age of the paint something along the lines of one pint of fade per gallon for original paint color per years that the car has been around. With the color code and age of the car this can come out fairly close but, will still need to be blended in as a sharp line will show a difference in color. This only means the repaired or replaced part is fully painted and then past that part for some distance the new paint will be sprayed lighter and lighter until the new paint is so lightly sprayed on the original color shows through.
Fade For a Full Color Change
In this technique major color changes through fading can be achieved. As an example the rear of the car might be a deep purple and the front as light as yellow. The idea is to fade using the spectrum of colors from the darkest to the lightest; i.e dark purple to a lighter purple then into a blue and maybe a blue/green losing color and becoming a yellow. All of these different shades will be different colors mixed to be just lighter or darker than the previous. Then painted and blended at the edge of each color to gently flow into the next color using a lighter and lighter spray coating until the next color shines through. The direction is very important and is a big part of planning and technique. The fade direction is achieved by the color painted over the previous one using the purple to yellow example the start would be at the yellow then blending colors till the result of purple is finally sprayed last. A fade to purple going the other direction to yellow would require starting with the purple and going forward with the lightening colors till yellow appears at the front of the car.
Three Gun Fade
Another way to blend the colors with a more even and subtle flow is to use 3 spray guns having one color in one and another filled with the other color and the third with a 50/50 mix of the two colors. Mixing a touch of pearl can help in smoothing the transition. Inner coat clear mixed lightly in with these can work well too. The idea for all of these guns is to be spraying and keeping every thing wet so the colors actually end up mixing on the car. You will have to move fast an pay close attention to the amount of paint your laying down and keep the colors running slowly together so it will look as though there has been no change at all. Keep in mind that this type of painting will not make any future repairs very easy to hide. This is just one way to fade two colors together. In any technique the darker the base you can use the deeper the final finish will appear.