rgb documentation

From the results of an impressively thorough survey by Randall Munroe of XKCD, this function returns the RGB color triplets for just about any color name you can think of. In keeping with Matlab syntax, RGB values are scaled from 0 to 1. If you mispell a color or the color you want is not in the database, rgb will offer suggestions for other similarly-spelled colors.

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RGB = rgb('Color Name')
RGB = rgb('Color Name 1','Color Name 2',...,'Color Name N')
RGB = rgb({'Color Name 1','Color Name 2',...,'Color Name N'})


RGB = rgb('Color Name') returns the RGB triplet for a color described by 'Color Name'.

RGB = rgb('Color Name 1','Color Name 2',...,'Color Name N') returns an N by 3 matrix containing RGB triplets for each color name.

RGB = rgb({'Color Name 1','Color Name 2',...,'Color Name N'}) accepts list of color names as a character array.

Color reference chart

To see the color options before plotting, you can reference the RGB chart here, but if you're thinking of a specific color, try the rgb function and it will probably have the RGB values you seek.

Example 1: single color

Get the RGB triplet for chartreuse:

ans =
    0.7569    0.9725    0.0392

Example 2: multiple colors

Get RGB triplets for multiple colors:

rgb('wintergreen','sunflower yellow','sapphire')
ans =
    0.1255    0.9765    0.5255
    1.0000    0.8549    0.0118
    0.1294    0.2196    0.6706

The way colors are perceived on a computer monitor is not necessarily the way that colors are somewhat officially defined. If we perceived RGB values of [1 0 0] as "red", [0 1 0] as "green", and [0 0 1] as blue, rgb('red','green','blue') would look like an identity matrix instead we have this:

ans =
    0.8980         0         0
    0.0824    0.6902    0.1020
    0.0118    0.2627    0.8745

You can also enter color names as a cell array:

myColors = {'leather','swamp','light bluish green','butterscotch','cinnamon','radioactive green'};
rgb_vals = rgb(myColors)
rgb_vals =
    0.6745    0.4549    0.2039
    0.4118    0.5137    0.2235
    0.4627    0.9922    0.6588
    0.9922    0.6941    0.2784
    0.6745    0.3098    0.0235
    0.1725    0.9804    0.1216

and we can easily plot our rgb_vals:

x = 1:length(myColors);
y = -x;
axis([min(x)-1 max(x)+1 min(y)-1 max(y)+1])

Author Info

This function was written by Chad A. Greene of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin. I do not claim any responsibility for the color data; kudos for the analysis and design of the survey by Randall Munroe.