Special Effects Car Paint : how many types are there?

We explain the main types of paint available for your special effect car and give you our tips for choosing.

Special effect paints for the body are very impressive and are naturally very attractive products for both professional and consumer customers. And manufacturers have long understood this, offering customization options for their customers, with many possible color combinations. They range from metallic and pearl paints to special effect car paints from the most exclusive brands.

In this article, we will talk about the differences between the types of special effects car paints.

What are the types of special effects car paint?

special effects car paint

Do-it-yourself painting of a car or a large area, without the right equipment (protective PPE, suitable room, etc.), experience and quality paints, could inevitably lead to a disappointing result and to unnecessary expenses in time and money. The use of do-it-yourself paints is mainly recommended for customizing small details, such as mirror caps, moldings and generally small elements. For this type of work, there are many types of special effect car paints available in ready-to-use kits. In the following paragraphs we will explain the differences and how to choose between the most original shades to give your car paint a unique touch.

Chameleon effect car paint

Chameleon effect car paintChameleon effect car paint is usually obtained by superimposing several coats (4 or 5 at least, very thin), starting strictly from a black background. The aesthetic result of the color transition is due to the use of special pearl pigments that generate the initial and final colors depending on the composition (up to 16 colors for the most complex). Normally, the color change, when the body is exposed to light, occurs if the viewing angle varies from 60 to 120 degrees (for primary colors such as blue and red) and from 0 to 30 degrees or from 120 to 180 degrees (for secondary colors such as gold and green).

Opalescent effect car paint

Opalescent effect car paintOpalescent car paint is generally suitable for applications on a light background, such as white. The use of synthetic elements in the colorless paint gives opalescent, pearl-like reflections, depending on the angle of observation and the amount of light. This effect is due to the ability of the paint to defragment the light into different colors. One of the advantages, which is not without importance, is also the high resistance to UV rays and atmospheric agents.

Holographic car paint

Holographic or ptyrismatic car paint is one of the effects that generate a chromatic transition thanks to very fine pigments of 10 – 40 microns. The composition based on aluminum or polyester generates a different final result. These are semi-opaque and semi-transparent paints, which will give an increasingly dense effect as the number of coats applied increases. It is also for this reason that it is advisable to start with a definitive background color, which can be :

  • Dark, to obtain a more intense and flamboyant holographic effect ;
  • Light, for a more discreet and subtle holographic effect.

Candy” effect car paint

The “Candy” effect car paint may be very suggestive of candy, but in reality, it is perceived as a deep and very bright hue. What has become a true multi-coat painting technique relies on the use of a colored clear applied to a background capable of reflecting light. There is no real one-component (one-coat) Candy effect. In fact, 50% of the tone and final effect depends on the type of background (intensity, color, grain and iridescence).

Fluorescent car paint

Fluorescent car paint has become very popular in car racing. Besides the pure racing aspect, the fluorescent effect makes objects or details look even brighter when touched by light (for example at night). Compared to traditional paints, it is advisable to apply twice as many coats (up to 6) to make the paint more resistant. It is also advisable to reduce direct sunlight exposure to delay cracking.

Thermochromic car paint

Thermochromic car paintThe chromatic effect, which changes with the temperature of the bodywork, is obtained with thermochromic car paint. In practice, when the bodywork undergoes a sufficient temperature variation (variable according to the type of paint from 10°C to 50°C), the upper opaque coat “when cold” becomes shiny and lets the lower coat (of another color or with stickers) appear when it heats up. It is therefore easy to understand why it is less easy to apply, both for the number of coats (from 4 to 6 recommended), and because the environmental conditions can influence the evaluation of the applied paint, whether it is cold or hot. Remember, however, that the color change is not eternal, but can be prolonged by reducing the thermal shock to which the body is exposed (for example, at no more than 70 ° C, it can last up to 10,000 color changes).

We invite you to complete this documentation by reading this very good article on the types of car paints and in particular special effect paints.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.