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Extra colormaps for plotting. Contains diverging, sequential, categorical, and perceptual maps.

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This is an embarrassingly simple function to augment the currently available MATLAB colormaps. It works as a seamless replacement for the current maps like jet and hsv. So to use it you just call colormap(othercolor('colorname')). The function handles interpolating to any number of points (othercolor('colorname',numpoints)) and uses the current axis as the reference if numpoints is not specified.

The available maps are stored in the file colorData.mat and you can easily add your own maps. To get a list of available names just call othercolor() without any arguments.

The 400+ colormaps are from 3 sources:
Mathematica (indexed, physical, gradient, and named)

Some of these maps are better suited for sets of bar or line plots (particularly the qualitative sets). In those cases the last number in the name is the number of indexed colors, so it would probably be fitting to set M to that number to avoid interpolation. Example:

>> figure
>> colorscheme = othercolor('Set16',6);
>> set(gcf,'DefaultAxesColorOrder',colorscheme);
>> plot(rand(6,20));
>> legend(num2str((1:6)'))

* I'm looking for ideas on how to best organize these maps now that there are 400+ of them. If you have suggestions please leave them in the comments or send me an email.

Comments and Ratings (13)

Bryn Ronalds

Abraham FR

cheng joylin

fan zhang

great, wonderful, find what I need

Nicolas Beuchat


Excellent collection of colormaps! If more 4 color blends (like matlab jet) are added, it would improve it further.


Matteo Niccoli

Hi Joshua, nice collection, thanks for the effort! - very handy!

In my mind the best criteria for organizing colorbars would be the TYPE OF DATA they are intended to be used with, see:
and TASK they are best suited for. There's a bunch of papers recommended in my submission at:

David Wilson

Joshua Atkins

Joshua Atkins (view profile)

Thanks, Dave. I tried briefly to get the Mathematica color schemes into MATLAB - that was my initial inspiration, but had no luck. I'm planning to try again this weekend.

Oleg - I submitted an update with your helpful suggestion, so it should be up soon. I've also included the data in the new update.

David Wilson

Some interesting and useful color schemes are given in the Mathematica help documentation for colordata. It would be really neat to reproduce those in Matlab.

Oleg Komarov

Oleg Komarov (view profile)

Good idea, has L1 line, help, example, author details but I would change the core to get rid of the eval calls

% load color data
data = load('colorData.mat',n);

if isempty(fieldnames(data))
c = [];
c = interp1(linspace(0,1,size(data.(n),1)),data.(n),linspace(0,1,m),'cubic');

In this case if an unknown map is called c is empty.

Another approach would be to hardcode the maps into a structure in a need for the mat file then.




Added all the colormaps from Mathematica.
Note: the "physical" and "gradient" maps are Mathematica functions, so they were sampled at 64 linearly spaced rgb points from 0 to 1 to fit with the MATLAB default.


Included Oleg's suggestion to get rid of eval() statements.
Added ability to index colors numerically.
Added 200+ new colormaps from
Added image files with pictures of the colormaps.

MATLAB Release
MATLAB 7.10 (R2010a)

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