I have been having a mare trying to replicate fluorescent orange in Photoshop.

No matter what I try, like altering the hue, saturation, vibrancy etc. I cannot create a fluorescent orange in Photoshop, like Pantone 804 C sort of colour. The orange just comes across rather dull rather than fluorescent.

See below for illustration:

desired result

My attempt at the fluorescent orange

Is there a way I can achieve this? or is fluorescent colours not a possibility?

  • What do you mean by "create a fluorescent orange in Photoshop"? Do you know that these are fluorescent inks? You can't print them with an ordinary inkjet printer or with CMYK inks. Fluorescent inks contain pigments which fluoresce.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 8 '19 at 15:10
  • @BillyKerr I do indeed, I just want to create a fluorescent effect on computer. As in a vivid orange May 8 '19 at 15:14
  • So just sample the colours from the photo you posted. Make sure the image in Photoshop is in RGB mode.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 8 '19 at 15:16
  • have you tried to create "fluorescent" effect with a glow? On screen the fluorescent effect can be perceived by seeing ambient light emitted by source. So in your case orange should cloud nearby colors. May 8 '19 at 15:19
  • @SZCZERZO interesting I tried to add glow but could not get it to accordingly behave how I would like. May 8 '19 at 15:33
  1. Mask the zone you need.

  2. Sample the color you need.

  3. Paint over the zone... as needed :o)

enter image description here

There is potentially one problem you are facing...

A fluorescent color looks more "vivid" on a dark background. This image has a white background...

This is about perception, it is a psychological thing, not a technical limitation of Ps or any computer.

Paint a dark background and your color will be more "vivid".

enter image description here

Here I darkened the box itself. The orange is the exact same on all 3 images.

enter image description here

Note the difference, especially between image 2 and 3

enter image description here

As suggested by Joojaa, increase the chromatic contrast. I am removing the yellow cast from the box making it bluer, so the complementary color, the orange, looks more orange.

enter image description here

I must say, that the sampled orange can still be a heck more vivid. I am just using it as an example of why you did not achieve a fluorescent look.

  • 1
    You should tint the color to the color of white, so it should be yellower
    – joojaa
    May 8 '19 at 19:29
  • 1
    The box has a wrong white balance... I should untint the box... to a bluer tone.
    – Rafael
    May 8 '19 at 20:22
  • In photoshop how can you untint to a bluer tone? May 10 '19 at 10:35

I approached this super-quickly in Affinity Photo (my choice - in this case the application used is of no consequence to the matter in question) and got decent results which confirm the consensus of responses.

These first two were from colour-sampling from our reference image of the pantone fan, and if you compare the results it clearly supports Rafael's contention that the dark/light background has a huge impact.

Light background - almost no "pop" due to lower chromatic contrast: enter image description here

Dark background - massive "pop" due to high chromatic contrast & high value contrast: enter image description here

Just for completeness, this last is using the official Pantone swatch for Pastels & Neons 804C enter image description here

As is abundantly clear, no post-processing effect can imitate the real-world aspect of a "fluorescent" ink, an d though you can come closer with a super-high contrast composition, it will still fall short of emulation.

  • 1
    I would agree with the the above and consensus. Might need to look at unity for post-processing some how. May 10 '19 at 10:37
  • @VaishalPatel - well yes - I wish you'd mentioned your final use-case sooner - indeed with Shader Graph you can easily set up a material of given Pantone colour angle with a very slight emission, and a slight speckle in the specular and you'd get a fluorescent effect quite easily, especially if you've got some slight post-processing bloom going in your scene - if not, you could set up a post-processing volume just around the container to get that effect only there. May 10 '19 at 15:05
  • 1
    I will try looking into it, not done this before. May 20 '19 at 7:07
  • If you end up having trouble, there is a Game Development Stack Exchange with a ton of folks who know Unity better than I, but I know this is a simple task in Shader Graph if you assign the shader an emission value. You can set & expose a vector 1 for the emission strength and set & expose a colour input for the emission as well as for diffuse and then you can live-adjust those in the Editor if you want to. Look up Brackeyes Unity tutorials on You Tube - [youtube.com/user/Brackeys/videos] he has some really excellent stuff on material dev and shader graph in specific. May 21 '19 at 15:05

Inks generally look darker than the ambient (hopefully white) light because most inks generate the color effect by reflecting different wavelengths differently. For ex. blue ink reflects much more around 0,5 micrometers than around 0,7 micrometers. But reflected radiation energy is less than the amount of energy which comes as ambient light onto a painted surface, so colored surface looks dimmer than 100% reflecting pure white.

Fluorescent inks work otherwise. They can convert wavelengths from a wide range to a single wavelength or few wavelengths. In theory fluorescent ink can be as bright as the ambient light or even brighter because the ink material can convert to a certain visible wavelength also infrared or ultraviolet radiation which would be otherwise invisible.

Fluorescent color materials can behave in even more complex way. They can store light energy into long living electron excitation states in bright ambient light conditions and emit it in a certain wavelength during a long time. That makes possible items which look self-illuminating when watched in low ambient light.

You cannot print with ordinary CMYK inks anything which looks fluorescent, because CMYK inks do not make the needed wavelength conversion. You need fluorescent ink. I have never seen them for sale in general stores. I'm afraid printers which can handle them are also kept out of the shelves in stores which aim to sell things to ordinary consumers.

On RGB screen the effect can be simulated. Let the white areas be grey enough and and let all other colors be darker than the one which should look fluorescent. Let it have maximum brightness and saturation.

Someone can claim that it looks like there's a lamp inside the fluorescent looking area. But that's what also real fluorescent inks do. They radiate a certain wavelength or few wavelengths by reusing the radiation energy that the fluorescent material has absorbed.

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