Amazing Color Changing

Amazing Color Changing Johnny

I often get asked to help identify a figure. Usually this request is an email with a brief description of the figure and it's color. Sometimes the requestor sends a picture (most often not). Or, as I"m trolling eBay I'll run across an auction that looks interesting. I'm always on the lookout for the unusual ;-). So weird color descriptions or pictures often draw me in.

One such auction appeared recently. It was well written and had many good pictures but what caught my eye was the sheriff Garrett figure. He looked different - on my monitor he looked an aqua color like the rare Jed Gibson figure. Definitely not Royal Blue or Steel blue.

I know a lot about color and they way different lighting and monitors can affect how a particular picture appears. I spend a great deal of time calibrating my monitors to get as close to 'printed colors' as possible since I do a lot of digital imagery to print using programs like Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator, etc. So I can usually spot photos that are poorly lit or have other problems causing the colors in the image to appear different than real life. But these pictures in this auction were pretty good.

The brown child accessories look right (maybe a touch too red), the palomino color on Thunderbolts hooves looks right, the yellow Geronimo headband is good. But Garrett and Maddox look a little 'off'. So I grabbed the image and opened it in Photoshop to do a little color correction - Are they Royal Blue or Steel Blue (Royal blue Maddox's are pretty rare). Or could it be that SUPER RARE Marx test shot of Garrett and Maddox in the Jed color!!!!!!!!!??????

Digital Artists (which I DO NOT claim to be) will tell you all about color theory and the myriad of factors that affect how colors appear to us poor humans. The purpose of this page is not to delve into that quagmire ;-). I usually only 'mess' with 3 aspects of color
  • Hue - which I define as the 'shade' of color
  • Saturation - which I define as how much of that color is present
  • Brightness / Contrast - which I define as brightness and contrast ;-)

For this study I only concerned myself with Hue. Because the saturation of the colors looked right and the brightness/contrast of the images looked good. So, in Photoshop I started to change the Hue values of the image and this is what I got:
  • Click on images for a larger version

Here's the original image from the auction
un-retouched by me.

Hue + 15

By increasing the hue a +15 I arrived at what I thought was the 'true' colors of the image. You can see where the brown accessories look like the true common brown and Garrett and Tom look steel blue. Problem solved - Nothing rare in this auction... But what if I played with it some more??

Hue + 40

By increasing the hue to +40 I arrived at what looks like Royal blue for the figures. The headband turns lime green (and in this image, if you didn't look close enough you might think that it is the feathered headband and not the Geronimo yellow headband. Since the lime green is a valid color for indian soft accessories, this could be true... Maybe a JWA set. The kid accessories change to a greenish bronze color - maybe a Canadian variant?? But the horses hooves give it away - unless you know of a greenish Thunderbolt!?

Hue + 119

By increasing the hue to +119. We start to get to the ridiculous. Except for Thunderbolt, though... This could be a rare test shot from the Mexican Plastimarx factory - I've seen some weird head and hand colors on vintage Mexican figures...

Hue + 180

What happens when I bump the Hue all the way up to the +180 limit in Photoshop? We get ZOMBIES!!!!!!!! Run for the hills! - But that grey color of the accessories is kinda cool....

Hue - 15

OK, back to reality. If I go down in Hue by decreasing the hue to -15 I arrived at what could be called Canadian Green...The flesh tones are a little dark, but Thunderbolt looks good (that nice richer Canadian golden palomino color). The brown accessories look a little too red but still within acceptable limits... but the Geronimo headband goes Orange.... hmmm, maybe not right!

Hue - 40

By decreasing the hue to -40 I arrived at what looks like Canadian Bright green for the figures. The headband turns deep orange. The kid accessories change to a Mexican red/brown color - maybe a Mexican variant?? And the horses hooves aren't too bad. The flesh tone is just too PINK.

Hue - 119

OOPS! Too Far - even for my warped brain ;-). The body colors are similar to the remade Mexican Johnnies and the blue accessories look like those rare blue Jane sets but the flesh tones and purple palomino give it away!

Hue - 180

By decreasing the hue to -180 I've completed the 'circle' of hue and arrived at the same color as increasing by +180. "Night of the Living Dead Johnnies" - I can see it in theaters around the world!

So, what's the point of all this??? Nothing too earth shattering, just be aware of what you're looking at and that artificial light and a little photo tweaking can fool ya! So before you plunk down big bucks on that "Orange Juice Jane", make sure it's not the Salmon colored one ;-).

Thanks for looking!