An extensive investigation was conducted to assess the influence of steel sheet surface finish (i.e. topography or “texture”) on painted surface appearance. Ten sets of steel panels representing a variety of shot blast, EDT, laser, and bright surface textures were painted simultaneously using advanced solvent-based luxury vehicle paint systems. Paint appearance was measured using a relatively new Autospect instrument and also in terms of conventional Distinctness of Reflected Image (DOI). The results are discussed in detail with respect to 1) the influence of different steel surface textures on paint appearance, 2) the evolution of surface topography during painting, and 3) the implications of this work.