colorRamp {grDevices}R Documentation

Color interpolation


These functions return functions that interpolate a set of given colors to create new color palettes (like topo.colors) and color ramps, functions that map the interval [0, 1] to colors (like grey).


colorRamp(colors, bias = 1, space = c("rgb", "Lab"),
          interpolate = c("linear", "spline"))
colorRampPalette(colors, ...)


colors Colors to interpolate
bias A positive number. Higher values give more widely spaced colors at the high end.
space Interpolation in RGB or CIE Lab color spaces
interpolate Use spline or linear interpolation.
... arguments to pass to colorRamp.


The CIE Lab color space is approximately perceptually uniform, and so gives smoother and more uniform color ramps. On the other hand, palettes that vary from one hue to another via white may have a more symmetrical appearance in RGB space.

The conversion formulas in this function do not appear to be completely accurate and the color ramp may not reach the extreme values in Lab space. Future changes in the R color model may change the colors produced with space="Lab".


colorRamp returns a function that maps values between 0 and 1 to colors. colorRampPalette returns a function that takes an integer argument and returns that number of colors interpolating the given sequence (similar to heat.colors or terrain.colors.

See Also

Good starting points for interpolation are the "sequential" and "diverging" ColorBrewer palettes in the RColorBrewer package


## Here space="rgb" gives palettes that vary only in saturation,
## as intended.
## With space="Lab" the steps are more uniform, but the hues
## are slightly purple.
               color = colorRampPalette(c("red", "white", "blue")),
               asp = 1)
               color = colorRampPalette(c("red", "white", "blue"),
                                        space = "Lab"),
               asp = 1)

## Interpolating a 'sequential' ColorBrewer palette
YlOrBr <- c("#FFFFD4", "#FED98E", "#FE9929", "#D95F0E", "#993404")
               color = colorRampPalette(YlOrBr, space = "Lab"),
               asp = 1)
               color = colorRampPalette(YlOrBr, space = "Lab",
                                        bias = 0.5),
               asp = 1)

## 'jet.colors' is "as in Matlab" (and hurting the eye by over-saturation)
jet.colors <-
  colorRampPalette(c("#00007F", "blue", "#007FFF", "cyan",
                     "#7FFF7F", "yellow", "#FF7F00", "red", "#7F0000"))
filled.contour(volcano, color = jet.colors, asp = 1)

## space="Lab" helps when colors don't form a natural sequence
m <- outer(1:20,1:20,function(x,y) sin(sqrt(x*y)/3))
rgb.palette <- colorRampPalette(c("red", "orange", "blue"),
                                space = "rgb")
Lab.palette <- colorRampPalette(c("red", "orange", "blue"),
                                space = "Lab")
filled.contour(m,col = rgb.palette(20))
filled.contour(m,col = Lab.palette(20))

[Package grDevices version 2.5.0 Index]