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version (1.6 KB) by Alexandre Tumlinson
Creates full spectrum, blue-green-orange-salmon, colormap that maps to linear grayscale.

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Updated 17 Nov 2006

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Creates a broad range color map that looks good in color as well as when reduced to grayscale for low cost publication.

Finished colormap encodes small values with a bluish color, intermediate values in green to orange, and large values with a redish/salmon color. The greyscale is linear.


Cite As

Alexandre Tumlinson (2021). colorGray (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (12)


Pretty nice colormap but as already noted by Will Robertson it crashes for number of leves < 3.
This can be a rough solution.
Add this after the nargin checks:

if numLevels==1
numLevels= size(colormap, 1);
elseif numLevels==2
numLevels= size(colormap, 1);

And this before the debug plot option:
if realnumLevels==1
RGBmap = RGBmap(1,:);
elseif realnumLevels==2
RGBmap = [RGBmap(1,:); RGBmap(end,:)];


It looks like Mathworks has basically taken this idea and made it the new default colormap:

Matteo Niccoli

Great colormap


I love this colormap. I've used it exclusively in all my MATLAB work since I discovered it. Great submission.


Other suggestion is to add line:


in the debugplot option to see the resulting grayscale.


What about adding a next optional parameter which would set the "darkness/lightness", such that the mapping between color and grayscale wouldn't be linear.
Easy way how to do is to add a line, e.g.
RGBmap = brighten(RGBmap,0.2)
The problem is, however, that the mapping is not smooth (as can be seen on the plot, if I do e.g. colorGray(100,1)).


Oliver Woodford

I wrote something like this (independently) myself. However, it is full greyscale (i.e. black to white) and has a wider gamut of colours. It is available as the 'contrast' colourmap of the SC package (id 16233), which also has other "colour to gray" colourmaps too: 'earth', 'pinker', 'pastel'.

Manuel Guizar

The code works well but it does not use the entire gray scale range.

Garret B

Alex is my hero!

Will Robertson

Great for large numbers of levels, but quite poor for just a few (e.g., if you're labelling three or four lines on a plot). In fact, the code breaks for numberOfLevels < 3. But I don't believe that's the goal of the package, so that's okay.

Evan Variano

Colormap that unites grayscale and full color - hooray! - Where have you been all my life?!

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2006a
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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