Beautiful and distinguishable line colors + colormap
Updated 16 Sep 2015
The default Matlab default line spec and colormaps are astoundingly crude. This function creates distinguishable colors by spacing them out ~equally in *perceptive* space, not in RGB space. It is based off the research of professor Cynthia Brewer (colorbrewer!) but amazingly easy to use.
This function creates an Nx3 array of N [R B G] colors
These can be used to plot lots of lines with distinguishable and nice looking colors.
lineStyles = linspecer(N); makes N colors for you to use: lineStyles(ii,:)
colormap(linspecer); set your colormap to have easily distinguishable colors and a pleasing aesthetic
lineStyles = linspecer(N,'qualitative'); forces the colors to all be distinguishable (up to 12)
lineStyles = linspecer(N,'sequential'); forces the colors to vary along a spectrum
Examples demonstrating the colors.
% LINE COLORS
X = linspace(0,pi*3,1000);
Y = bsxfun(@(x,n)sin(x+2*n*pi/N), X.', 1:N);
C = linspecer(N);
% SIMPLER LINE COLOR EXAMPLE
N = 6; X = linspace(0,pi*3,1000);
C = linspecer(N)
Y = sin(X+2*ii*pi/N);
% COLORMAP EXAMPLE
A = rand(15);
figure; imagesc(A); % default colormap
figure; imagesc(A); colormap(linspecer); % linspecer colormap
Credits and where the function came from:
The colors are largely taken from:
http://colorbrewer2.org and Cynthia Brewer, Mark Harrower and The Pennsylvania State University
She studied this from a phsychometric perspective and crafted the colors
I made choices from the many there to decide the nicest once for plotting lines in Matlab. I also made a small change to one of the colors I thought was a bit too bright. In addition some interpolation is going on for the sequential line styles. An Apache-Style Software License is included in the file.
Jonathan C. Lansey (2023). Beautiful and distinguishable line colors + colormap (https://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/42673-beautiful-and-distinguishable-line-colors-colormap), MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .
MATLAB Release Compatibility
Platform CompatibilityWindows macOS Linux
Inspired: paruly, Maximally Distinct Color Generator, Matlab 2048, rgb2hex and hex2rgb, MatPlotLib Perceptually Uniform Colormaps, Efficient 2D histogram, no toolboxes needed, Hyperplot Tools
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small change to sequential output
Adjusted the function based on the excellent suggestions of Stephen Cobeldick.
I made the colors for higher 'N' a bit darker. Also made the demo a little cleaner.