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color codes for silver vs metal ? - Printable Version

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color codes for silver vs metal ? - Steffen - 2011-08-01

There always has been confusion about which color codes need to be used
for silver(ish) things or metal in our library.

I would like to sum up my state of knowledge and would like to discuss this here,
so the usage of color codes can be tidied up in our library.

Causing this post is the ongoing discussion at
(, there had been some before already at other parts)

This is my (personal) state of knowledge,
I may be wrong in one or the other point of course.
When replying, please just don't assume that I or you are "just right",
because the library sometimes has inconsistencies.

color 179:
means "printed silver".
that is a color being used in patterns that get printed onto parts

color 383:
from the beginning was a "special color", used for physical metal parts
which appear "silverish" or "chromish" :-) ,
thus, do not use this for copper or other metal things

color 494:
another very special color.
it has been introduced for "electric studs",
which show up in historic LEGO instructions as studs with a yellow portion.
some tools for this reason used to render or code this color as yellow,
but nowadays most render it similar to 383, which frequently leads to confusion.
IMHO, this color code should ONLY be used for electric studs, and not used
too liberately, because it carries not only the semantics "made of silverish/chrome metal",
but also "shall show up in instructions as yellow" and
"is somewhat related to electric studs"

color 80:
I didn't know much about this color for long time and have never used it.
But I think it is for silver plastic parts like this

BrickLink has a very good, visual color comparison table
, but sadly without LDRAW color codes.

IMHO, we definetely need such a table with visual part examples for our LDRAW library.

We also might or might not have to introduce new colors in ldconfig.ldr, or phase out some confusing ones
(and map them to others for downwards compatibility).

Re: color codes for silver vs metal ? - Michael Heidemann - 2011-08-01

Currently the following official files uses these colors:
This should help to find the correct usage for the color values.

color 179 (Flat_Silver)
part files: 3069bp07, 3069bp15, 3069bp25, 3069bp51, 3069bp53, 973p8g,
color 383 (Chrome_Silver)
lots of files, too much to list here.
color 494 (Electric Contact)
two part files (2895.dat and 2986c01.dat)
color 80 (Metallic_Silver)
seven part files (example: 973p6x.dat)


color 494 - more info - Steffen - 2011-08-01

thank you very much for the analysis, Mike!

I would like to add this info:

color 494:
occurs also in p\studel.dat - this is what color 494 at its time had been added for:
a "symbolic" color, intended to make electric studs show yellow contacts in instructions.

usage in file 2895 seems to be an error to me, I would have used color 383.

usage in 2986c01.dat may have been done because the underside contacts are intended to be used
together with electric studs. Here are instructions I found by checking the instructions of sets on peeron which contain
that part:

http://www.peeron.com/scans/6483-1/23/ - underside cannot be seen, no contribution to our discussion

http://www.peeron.com/scans/8082-1/7 - underside visible, appears yellow in instructions

http://www.peeron.com/scans/8480-1/139 - underside seems to be not shown in yellow

http://www.peeron.com/scans/6979-1/16 - electric studs clearly shown in yellow, but underside of motor not shown

http://www.peeron.com/scans/6484-1/11 - electric studs shown in yellow, underside of motor not shown

Re: color codes for silver vs metal ? - Michael Heidemann - 2011-08-02

It just came to my mind that exactly that has been the reason for many new colors - to be interchangable with bricklink. If I remember right that has been the reason that the new ldconfig.ldr has been release some month ago.
So it should be possible to match bricklink to LDraw.

Magnus has created a comparison table image, reviewed by Philo and Scott - Steffen - 2011-08-06

at http://www.ldraw.org/cgi-bin/ptdetail.cgi?f=parts/4144485.dat , Magnus wrote:

Quote:There is no doubt that this must be the right color here.
I have put together this picture, which shows good examples
of the different silver colors.

[Image: silver_lego_chart.png]

This picture has been confirmed by both
Scott Wardlow, manager of ldconfig.ldr and
Philippe Hurbain, creator of visualldconfig.mpd.

LDraw Pearl Colors
Should be used for parts made in a "metal-looking", sometimes "softer", plastic.
LDraw Metallic Colors
Should be used for painted/printed parts.

I apologize if I have contributed to this confusion.

some more thoughts on the silver colors comparison chart - Steffen - 2011-08-06

(I am copying and pasting the discussion from
, as that discussion will get lost once the file is released):

Steffen Wrote:Magnus, Scott, Philo,

thank you very much for compiling that information!
The overview image is very instructive!

I fear that the semantics of these colors must have changed
in the past 8 years. I somehow must have missed that semantics change:
I remember that 383, 494 and "rubber black" in the early days
of LDRAW were the only "special" colors, and in those days,
usage was not the way as on your overview image here now.

However, the suggested colors purpose makes perfect sense.
It has several benefits:
(a) it gives 494 a "real" role, different from the special one
I described above
(b) it makes a difference between real metal parts and
silver colored plastic ones.

So I am 99% convinced that your table reflects the optimal solution
for using these colors, and we should use that.

There is just one remaining thing to talk about,
which also explains my confusion about this issue:

(i) we just released new parts with the recent update 2011-01,
which do not adhere to that spec, e.g.
4707c01.dat, ..., 4707c03.dat

(ii) many of my parts are now sitting for 8 years now on the PT, e.g.
, and they got CERT votes despite they use the colors not that way :-|

(iii) all the electric plugs
currently do not use that scheme

So I am 99% convinced that your scheme is a good solution.
Should we decide to apply it, then we should do the following:
- add its information to the LDRAW color chart http://www.ldraw.org/Article93.html
, where it is currently missing
- extend ldconfig.ldr by more comments, e.g. listing some part numbers as examples to avoid confusion
- update the whole library to adhere to that scheme.

we need a better color chart for all LDRAW colors IMHO - Steffen - 2011-08-06

as it is very difficult to use the various colors properly,
I think that we need a better color chart for the LDRAW colors, featuring some photos
of real parts, taken in a standard lighting environment, like marakoeschtra has done it with the minifigs,

see http://forums.ldraw.org/showthread.php?tid=305&pid=305#pid305

Re: we need a better color chart for all LDRAW colors IMHO - Orion Pobursky - 2011-08-06

I agree and I'll add that to the list of things to work on for the new site. In the mean time you are always welcome to create a version that you like on the wiki

(deleted) - Steffen - 2011-08-06

(deleted - I had replied to the wrong msg - will repost)

Re: we need a better color chart for all LDRAW colors IMHO - Steffen - 2011-08-06

yes, thank you.

My suggestion is to ask marakoeschtra if he would like to donate his minifig photos to us.
They have the advantage that 1 standard reference color is in each image (the minifig head) for comparison.
And I very much like to have minifigs as "protagonists" in the comparison chart :-))

For each color, we should also supply some example images of real world parts, to be more instructive

Does anyone know how to contact marakoeschtra ?
When googling, I only find that already some other people had that problem :S