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Art Glossary: Opaque


Opaque paint color

An opaque paint color hides what's underneath it.

Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

A paint color is said to be opaque when it hides what's underneath it, when you can't see any or much of what's beneath the color. Some pigments are extremely opaque, such as titanium white and cadmium red; other pigments are semi-opaque, such as zinc white. Opaque does not mean white.

The label of the paint tube should have an indication of whether that color is opaque or not. (Cheaper brands sometimes lack this information.)

The opposite of opaque is transparent.

See Also:
How to Test if a Color is Transparent or Opaque
Art Glossary: Tint
Art Glossary: Velantura

If trying to hide a mistake by painting over it, you will get the best results if you use an opaque color.

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