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How can I sample from a gradient color scheme palette in segments of a fixed color distance? I.e, the next element appended to the generated list is a fixed distance from the most recently added color in the list. I have an initial color and would like to make regular samples from a color palette starting from this initial color.

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  • $\begingroup$ Somewhat related to ResourceFunction[“SampleColors”] $\endgroup$ – user5601 Mar 19 at 18:48
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We can make a little helper function:

ClearAll[SampleGradientFixedColorDistance]
SampleGradientFixedColorDistance[cf_, n_, m_ : 250] := 
 Module[{dists, vals, colors, if, max, newvals},
  vals = N@Subdivide[m];
  colors = cf /@ vals;
  dists = BlockMap[Apply[ColorDistance], colors, 2, 1];
  dists = Prepend[Accumulate[dists], 0];
  max = Max[dists];
  if = Interpolation[Transpose[{dists, vals}]];
  newvals = if /@ Subdivide[0, max, n - 1];
  cf /@ newvals
  ]

Which we can then call:

colors = SampleGradientFixedColorDistance[ColorData["Rainbow"], 20]

Compare it with linear sampling of the color scheme:

linearcolors = ColorData["Rainbow"] /@ Subdivide[20 - 1]

Now we can compare the distances between successive colors:

ListPlot[{BlockMap[Apply[ColorDistance], colors, 2, 1], 
  BlockMap[Apply[ColorDistance], linearcolors, 2, 1]}, 
 PlotRange -> All, PlotLegends -> {"Adjusted", "Linear"}, 
 Frame -> True]

enter image description here

It is not perfect, because color distances are not so nicely 'additive'. But it gives a reasonable improvement on the built-in.

| improve this answer | |
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  • $\begingroup$ Any way of modifying this to start at an arbitrary intial color? I realize some colors may not exist inside the palette but then I could just use FindMatchingColor. $\endgroup$ – skyfire Mar 14 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if that makes 'sense': to which point in the scheme would you go? the first? If your first choice is 'too far' one can not guarantee that 'n' colors is possible… $\endgroup$ – SHuisman Mar 14 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ So I have the color #c4d167 but would like to take samples of colors that are evenly spaced beginning at #c4d167. I don't want any sort of "wrapping around" the gradient if that is what you are asking. But I think it shoulud be possible to take fixed sample segments to the right and to the left beginning at #c4d167. $\endgroup$ – skyfire Mar 14 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ So starting at #c4d167 then move to the first color of the gradient, then continue taking steps of the same size in the gradient? $\endgroup$ – SHuisman Mar 14 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Result would look like colorset = {..., c - Δd, c, c + Δd,...} where c = #c4d167 and d is the fixed color distance. $\endgroup$ – skyfire Mar 14 at 17:47

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