File Exchange

image thumbnail

Beautiful and distinguishable line colors + colormap

version 1.4.0.0 (8.25 KB) by Jonathan C. Lansey
Plot lots of lines with very distinguishable and aesthetically pleasing colors. Works for 'N' colors

20.8K Downloads

Updated 16 Sep 2015

View License

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
N=6;
X = linspace(0,pi*3,1000);
Y = bsxfun(@(x,n)sin(x+2*n*pi/N), X.', 1:N);
C = linspecer(N);
axes('NextPlot','replacechildren', 'ColorOrder',C);
plot(X,Y,'linewidth',5)
ylim([-1.1 1.1]);

% SIMPLER LINE COLOR EXAMPLE
N = 6; X = linspace(0,pi*3,1000);
C = linspecer(N)
hold off;
for ii=1:N
Y = sin(X+2*ii*pi/N);
plot(X,Y,'color',C(ii,:),'linewidth',3);
hold on;
end

% 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
beautifully.

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.

Cite As

Jonathan C. Lansey (2021). 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
Created with R2010b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Community Treasure Hunt

Find the treasures in MATLAB Central and discover how the community can help you!

Start Hunting!