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Change Color Scheme Using a Colormap

MATLAB® uses a default color scheme when it displays visualizations such as surface plots. You can change the color scheme by specifying a colormap. Colormaps are three-column arrays containing RGB triplets in which each row defines a distinct color.

For example, here is a surface plot with the default color scheme.

f = figure;
surf(peaks);

The following command changes the colormap of the current figure to winter, one of several predefined colormaps (see Colormaps for a full list).

colormap winter;

If you have multiple figures open, pass the Figure object as the first argument to the colormap function.

colormap(f,jet);

Each predefined colormap provides a palette of 64 colors by default. However, you can specify any number of colors by passing a whole number to the predefined colormap function. For example, here is the jet colormap with five entries.

c = jet(5);
colormap(c);

You can also create your own colormap as an m-by-3 array. Each row in the array contains the red, green, and blue intensities of a different color. The intensities are in the range [0,1]. Here is a simple colormap that contains three entries.

mycolors = [1 0 0; 1 1 0; 0 0 1];
colormap(mycolors);

If you are working with subplots, you can assign a different colormap to each subplot by passing the axes to the colormap function.

ax1 = subplot(1,2,1);
surf(peaks);
shading interp;
colormap(parula(10));
ax2 = subplot(1,2,2);
surf(peaks);
shading interp;
colormap(ax2,cool(10));

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