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LED Aesthetics: What do you really think of your color?


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#1
Machupicchu

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Hey there,

I thought i would link to here in order to get more opinions and ideas regarding the overall color appearance of LED setups. There has been quite a large conversation going on over here,http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1885076 and i think this concerns nano owners as well.

It basically addresses issues with missing spectrum and colors with the popular Coolwhite, Royalblue combo and discusses ways to improve overall color and performance.

Any thought or opinions will be appreciated on here or over there.


HERE IS A SUMMARY OF THE ENTIRE THREAD TO SAVE YOU WEEKS OF YOUR LIFE. CREDIT GOES TO SYNCHRO



Here is my attempt to summarize this thread and others I've read on LED asthetics. I've copied and/or paraphrased from your posts to make this thread more accessible. I hope this is ok, let me know if you want any of your words removed.

Color

Warm Whites (WW) - Very warm. Difficult to blend with bluer colors. Not commonly used. Blaster stated mixing a 3:1 ( RB:WW ) ratio will bring out the Willy Wonka in you.

Neutral White (NW) - The preferred white color. A much more natural color that brings out warmer colors in coral. Best matched with RB in a 2:1 RB:NW ratio provided you are using NW LEDs that can do 180 lumens at 700mA (the Chinese variants usually cannot).

Cool White (CW) - Very bright and efficient but dull in warmer colors. Replaced by NW as the preferred white LED. Some users have reported better color when using both CW and NW in an array while othes say NW+RB can achieve the same color output. There is a wide variation in the color tempurature of different bins of LEDS. The DX bin of Crees and most Chinese LEDs are typically cooler (more blue) in the 6000K - 10000K range. Cree XP-G are more blue than Cree XR-E.

Cool Blue (aka Blue, aka Standard Blue) (CB or - On the greener/blue side. These bring out the colors the neutral white and royal blues wont [what colors?]. Can easily overpower other leds leading to a 'windex' look. Blends well with NW and RB, consider runnning without optics to blend better.

Royal Blue (RB) - A must have. When your working with cool white or neutral white is the go-to blue.

Cyan - VERY green unless you are able to choose your exact binning. They can bring some wicked colors out but leave an awful green shadow everywhere. Even when clustered closely I would not recommend these to the average DIYer.

Red ( R ) - Very difficult to blend with other colors. Even a single red in a fixture can be distracting. Consider running reds on lower power (with a dimmer) and without optics. There is some debate that red wavelengths inhibit coral growth. Preference is to use NW leds to being out red colors.

True Violet (V or TV) - Litte impact of visual appearance, slight pop on certain colors, little or no purple added to overall color. Primary usage would be for growth. Use with caution (PAR meter preferably) since they put out more light than is visible. Difficult to source.

http://glassbox-desi...axspect-LED.jpg

This section could use more specifics (e.g. WW is typically 5000K - 6000K). Notes on specific bins. Links to individual emitters

Recommended Ratio

4 NW : 7 RB : 1 CB

NW: Cree XP-G NW. Use NW LEDs that can output 180 lumens at 700mA (the Chinese variants usually cannot).
RB: Cree XP-E RB
CB: Cree XP-E Blue

Shimmer
Shimmer is the moving bright lines (and corresponding though less noticeable dark areas) on the tank inhabitants and substrate. You also see the same shimmer on the bottom of outdoor pool or the shallow water at the beach. Shimmer is caused by turbulence at the water surface concentrating the light emitted by a point source as it is refracted towards the bottom of the tank. Shimmer sometimes also includes the light reflected directly back at the viewer off the water surface.

Compact fluorescent bulbs (PC, VHO, T5) produce very little shimmer because the light comes from a very large area (the entire surface area of the bulb). Metal halides produce a mild shimmer since the light comes from a single concentrated point. LED fixtures produce a lot of shimmer because each LED causes its own shimmer lines though each shimmer line is smaller than MH. MH is typically considered the standard for pleasing shimmer probably because it resembles the sun (a point source). LEDs have an additional problem when a fixture combines LED with different colors - each shimmer line is of a different color. This is "disco ball" effect.

Options for minimizing LED shimmer:
- Reduce surface turbulence (reduce flow, orient flow away from the surface)
- Hang the fixture close to the water (< 5") with no optics
- Hang the fixure really high (3-5 feet) and use tight optics (20 - 40 degree)


Color Blending (Color Shadows, Color Separation)
LED fixtures using several color LEDs often cause color shadows. This appears as shadows in the tank of different colors. It occurs when one LED illuminates the shadow cast by a different color LED. The resulting shadow looks like it has a color cast compared to other shadows nearby. It is most noticeable on the sand bed. Related is color separation where turbulence on the water surface refracts each LED slightly differently. This results in moving areas of slightly different color. Again most noticeable in areas of uniform color such as the sand bed.

Options to improve blending:
- Cluster LEDs as close as possible (even touching).
- Hang the fixture close to the water (< 5") with no optics
- Hang the fixure really high (3-5 feet) and use tight optics (20 - 40 degree)
- Use diamond diffuser in front of the leds. This is similar to the diffuser used in flourescent office light fixtures. Available from Home Depot. Link?

Spotlighting
This is when the tank is unevenly lit (like a spotlight on stage). It is caused by fixtures close to the tank with tight optics or excessive spacing. Any specific/concrete guidelines?

I would love to see a wiki type feature on nano-reef so others can update this with corrections and new information. I don't think we do. Instead I'd encourage everyone to post any changes. This includes changes to make the text clearer, more concise, correction, specifics, elaboration, removing old information, adding new information. Please post the exact text you want. Newbies can be refered here ulimately helping us all so they can spend their time experimenting rather than reading.

Edited by Machupicchu, 09 July 2011 - 08:00 PM.


#2
gojk

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I love the color of the tank with LEDs. I have 15 x 15 and I only turn the white up about 50% and the color is great.

#3
dcmix5

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I love the color of the tank with LEDs. I have 15 x 15 and I only turn the white up about 50% and the color is great.


Having both white and blue LED's dimmable, I am able to dial in so many different colors that I am half obsessed with messing with it. When my blues are full crank with no light, they pop my zoas etc like I have never seen before...it is very cool.

mKbsqdyizE.jpg


#4
Machupicchu

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Having both white and blue LED's dimmable, I am able to dial in so many different colors that I am half obsessed with messing with it. When my blues are full crank with no light, they pop my zoas etc like I have never seen before...it is very cool.


dont get me wrong i love the amazing pop and colors i get with my LEDs, especially the blues and greens.

But what about the warm colors? How do your red yellow orange or flesh colored corals appear? Maybe i have my setting a little screwed, 1:1 cw rb with cw 35% and rb55%.

When compared to a nice halide the cooler colors are amazing, but to me they are lacking the full spectrum. My tank seems to be a little more washed out in the colors that dont pop out soo much, such as some of the warmer skin colors and reds. there is almost no contrast between my coraline and liverock because the tank is washed in a sort of pinkish tint.

I think im goint to try turning my whites up a little more.
However in my next build i think im goint to mess with some regular blues and neutral whites along with posibly a very small amount of red and uv to even out the spectrum a little more.


The thread on reefcentral is a very interesting read.

#5
DPRoberts

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Very interesting thread, and it has me second guessing my lighting choice for the tank I'm planning. I've only seen one lighting fixture in person, at my LFS - it's one of the old PFO Solaris fixtures, and it's sitting right next to a tank with an MH pendant (I'm not sure which one). The MH definitely looked more "natural", but the colors do pop more on the LED tank - especially on clams, which are what I'm planning for. Considering that I can pre-order two of the new Boost LEDs for $120 and have my tank well covered, I just don't see the extra expense of MH as being worthwhile. My big worry is that a few months from now somebody new will show up with an RB + WW LED, as mentioned in that thread.

#6
Machupicchu

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Like i said before dont get me wrong i love the pop and amazing colors i get with the LEDs. And i still do highly recommend them to any reefer, however my only issue is that i think it could look better in the warmer regions.

Im not trying to put them down infact i think we could improve on the color by trying new things much like the reefcentral thread.

If you get a chance look at sammys 20gal cube over on RC. He just aded a red to his system and is 100%satisfied with the new look. What i was thinking about doing on my next build was to use about 30% regular blues and 70% royal blue, to get more into the cyan spectrum and 500nm range while keeping the majority of it royal blue around 450nm to keep the pop.
Also im going to use the same ratio of neutral whites(NOT warm whites, on the thread over on RC you can see the neutrals give you a nice daylight color while the warm whites look like $h!t).

Then somewhere in the white string you could add a red in, maybe 2 on a 55gal, keep it a very small amount, and then somewhere in the blue string add a uv the same as the red.

I think a combo like that(which doesnt require any extra work beside ordering using the other LEDs) would give you much better spectral coverage while maintaining your PAR and pop.

#7
DaveFason

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I should have some tests here soon with Reds, Cyan, NW, Blue.

I am thinking....

RB - NW - B - NW - RB - NW
Cyan - Red - Cyan
NW - B - NW - RB - NW - B

He will see!

-Dave

10352455595_946475ffb9_n.jpg


#8
DPRoberts

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I think a combo like that(which doesnt require any extra work beside ordering using the other LEDs) would give you much better spectral coverage while maintaining your PAR and pop.



This is the part that has me wondering. If these other combinations work so easily, it seems like new LED fixtures will be on the market really soon. OTOH, I've only seen blue/white combinations in the past few years - if it's as easy to solve as swapping out 1-2 of the LEDs, I wonder why no one has thought of it by now.

#9
Machupicchu

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This is the part that has me wondering. If these other combinations work so easily, it seems like new LED fixtures will be on the market really soon. OTOH, I've only seen blue/white combinations in the past few years - if it's as easy to solve as swapping out 1-2 of the LEDs, I wonder why no one has thought of it by now.



The new Aqua illumination unit added a neutral white to their 3 combo puck layout.
And i think they use regular blues and not the royals.

#10
DaJMasta

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The new Aqua illumination unit added a neutral white to their 3 combo puck layout.
And i think they use regular blues and not the royals.



This, why not use regular whites instead of cool whites? You get a warmer closer-to-the-sun color from the whites while you get the extreme blue end for the color pop.... I haven't tried it or seen it, but I'd say there's potential.

#11
Machupicchu

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This, why not use regular whites instead of cool whites? You get a warmer closer-to-the-sun color from the whites while you get the extreme blue end for the color pop.... I haven't tried it or seen it, but I'd say there's potential.


Anyone know where to get Red RB CW and NW leds in one place?with meanwells? :lol:

#12
DaveFason

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You can go with CREE but they are not very efficient in the NW. You can get the Luxeon in the NW and have some great numbers.

If you want to go all CREE try ETG.

-Dave

10352455595_946475ffb9_n.jpg


#13
Machupicchu

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more inputs? :D

#14
jfarabaugh

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I got 10000K 3W 3.5V @ 750mA LEDs on the way. I want to swap out my Cree 6500 K with these.

#15
Machupicchu

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wouldnt that split your color even further?

#16
jfarabaugh

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wouldnt that split your color even further?


Well I am running 10000K / 454 PCs right now so it should keep me near the color I have now If I run them 50/50. Dont most halides run at 10000K plus?


Reading through the very long thread linked above sounds like most people were looking with LEDS higher then 6500k.....Well I found them.


There was a post on nano-reef a while back linking to an article that tested coral growth under differnt color LEDs (blue, red, green, white, etc). If I recall the red and green didnt do much if anything.

Edited by jfarabaugh, 26 August 2010 - 08:40 AM.


#17
jfarabaugh

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Looking at this graph it looks like we need to add cyan LEDs to our tanks to fill in a large gap

Posted Image

#18
Twinn

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I think what everyone is over looking is the simple fact that metal halides do not cover the entire spectrum, so LED's shouldn't need to either. Still further to the fact maybe a LED + T5 combo would do better, much like a MH + T5 combo light does well.
]Posted Image

#19
beeker

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Cool blue, royal blue, cool white and neutral white IMO are what is needed to keep sps colors correct, so far i've noticed this on my own setup although i'm still waiting to get 4 20k PAR38's and 4 all royal blue PAR38's to add some more blue to my tank and give the corals that are under the 12k's more blue so they can have deeper/richer tones and i honestly think it will work out good

Cool blue has helped out my red planet by bringing back it's green base and i feel cool blue and royal blue are both important to acheive the proper color with leds, when i get my next set of 8 bulbs i'll be able to further prove this

So far my colors are looking good, most of my sps have nice color just trying to work out the last 3-5 frags that haven't colored up much at all, this could still be water quality though as my tank is only 5 months old but i'm working on that and just did my first dose of vodka last night, in 2 months after i get the tank stable and the next set of bulbs over it i believe i'll be damn close to being able to achieve all the color i want in my tank

#20
DPRoberts

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I think part of the confusion is that since LEDs are relatively new, it's hard to see a variety of settings in person. As others have mentioned, the blues in LEDs tend to overwhelm a camera's sensor, leading to vast differences in the pictures we're seeing online. For example, I was just looking at adamcrouch's photos here. Notice the difference between the photos - same tank, same lights, just at different times:

Posted Image
Posted Image
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The point here being that the "challenge" posted over on RC probably has a lot more to do with photography than it does with the lighting itself.

#21
jfarabaugh

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So the 10000K LEDs came in today so I put together a quick (very quick) rig and took some pictures. Keep in mind the color and the overall difference in color can be skewed by your monitor. Everything here is running off of 2 AAs. Big thanks to Steve from http://stevesleds.com/ in getting these out to me so quick. Let me know what other combos you want to see with these 3 different LEDs

10000k
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Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White
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10000k & Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White
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10000k & Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White
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10000k & Cree XR-E RB
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Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White & Cree XR-E RB
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10000k & Cree XR-E RB & Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White
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10000k & Cree XR-E RB & Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White
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10000k & Cree XR-E RB & Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White
Posted Image

Edited by jfarabaugh, 26 August 2010 - 08:00 PM.


#22
Machupicchu

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those par 38s look good. What leds are in the par 38s?

#23
jfarabaugh

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those par 38s look good. What leds are in the par 38s?



Cree XR-E RB & Cree XR-E Q5 Cool White

#24
Machupicchu

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i really like the look of those 10ks.

i just posted over on RC about why people are looking to use neutral whites which produce an even warmer color than the cool whites. Shouldnt we be looking to use 10k which is a much crisper white, and im assuming has a more even distribution of colors hence the whiter tone, and then adding actinic colors?

#25
Akwarius

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The reason people are critical of cool whites is that they wash out yellow, orange, and reds colors. Not to mention the effect CW have on sps such as red planet acro, which loses its nice red and green coloration.

It's hard to tell from the above pictures what effect the LEDs will have on coral coloration. I truer test would be to photograph them over a varied array of corals.