Unique technology that offers improvements in titanium dioxide (TiO2) hiding efficiency and paint film barrier properties through the development of an engineered polymer-pigment composite. During the paint making process, the pre-composite polymer combines with TiO2 to form a polymer-pigment composite which improves both the wet and dry hiding efficiency of the pigment. The hiding improvement gives formulators the option of either using less TiO2 or increasing the hiding in their formulations. In addition, barrier performance properties of the film are maintained or improved. Formulations can be developed which emphasize the performance improvements at similar cost or maintain performance at reduced cost while taking advantage of the increase in TiO2 hiding efficiency.