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4.6 | 14 ratings Rate this file 174 Downloads (last 30 days) File Size: 1.83 KB File ID: #21050
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Daniel Helmick

  • 1 file
  • 4.57143


12 Aug 2008 (Updated )

Provides maximum color variation for lines on plots.

Editor's Notes:

This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

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I was unhappy with the current implementation of the color schemes. This provides a way for a program to dynamicly scale the number of different colors on plots, and it ensures there won't be any color overlap.


This file inspired Linkage Solver, Cmapline, Generate Maximally Perceptually Distinct Colors, and Colors For Plotting.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.4 (R2007a)
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Comments and Ratings (18)
02 Mar 2014 abc


It served my purpose completely. There is now a more sophisticated function inspired by this file, "Generate maximally perceptually-distinct colors".

10 Dec 2013 Felipe G. Nievinski

Felipe G. Nievinski

I found "Generate maximally perceptually-distinct colors" to be better in the case of a few lines.

07 Dec 2013 jeong woo

jeong woo


26 Sep 2013 Subhashree Mishra

Subhashree Mishra

22 Jul 2013 Paula


Very useful! Thanks a lot!

02 Apr 2013 Benjamin I

Benjamin I


11 Feb 2013 Albert


Very helpful!

04 Oct 2012 Shiguo


10 Dec 2011 Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair

29 Sep 2011 Fabio Caponetti

Fabio Caponetti

Good and functional. Should be shipped as default configuration in the Matlab package.

13 Jun 2011 Kamil Wojcicki

Kamil Wojcicki

28 Oct 2009 Khalil


19 May 2009 Daniel Helmick

Daniel Helmick

  • 1 file
  • 4.57143

Ryan, it sounds like you are going to be disappointed in this 'maximum' color separation too.

Open the file up, and you will see that this one is not 'maximum' for small numbers of line colors. Depending on how you quantify color separation, even large numbers of line colors could be argued to be non-maximum in some metrics.

I suspect CMAPLINE provides results more in line with your desires.

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29 Nov 2008 Ryan Ollos

Ryan Ollos

Your function is nice. I have been trying to do something similar, in order to create a maximum number of distinct line colors to use as the axes ColorOrder. I haven't been able to figure out an algorithm which produces maximum color variation, and at the same time convince myself that the algorithm really gives the 'maximum' color variation.

So, my question is, how did you come up with the RGB curves, and if/how do you know that it is really optimal in terms of maximizing color variation?

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03 Oct 2008 Nikola Toljic


21 Aug 2008 Daniel Helmick

Yes, thank you. I saw those and wasn't happy. The pick of the week description does an excellent job of pointing out some of the utility with this file.

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15 Aug 2008 Matt S  
15 Aug 2008 Carlos Adrian Vargas Aguilera

Daniel, have you seen MATLAB's COLORMAP, JET, GRAY, LINES, etc?, or the functions at the FEx that lets you create a different colormap like USERCOLORMAP?

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