How to make "rainbow" RGB values?

Simon Forman sajmikins at
Mon Feb 25 01:52:21 CET 2008

Hey all,
I want to map an int to a color on a rainbow spectrum, i.e. for an int
n in the range 0..N, low values (near 0) should map to the red end,
and high values (near N) to the blue/violet end.

The return values should be R, G, B tuples (well, "#xxxxxx" color
codes, but that's not the hard part.)

The trouble I'm having is in coming up with a good way to generate
color values that approximates the "ROY G BIV" rainbow spectrum.  This
is just a simple, non-scientific, non-photographic application,
nothing fancy.

I've tried a simple scheme of overlapping sines, but this resulted in
too much red and blue, and no indigo/violet.

Any suggestions?  I'm searching on the web now but not coming up with
much, so I thought I'd ask here.


Here's the sinecode I tried:

def g(n):
    map sine [-1.0 .. 1.0] => color byte [0 .. 255]
    return 255 * (n + 1) / 2.0

def f(start, stop, N):

    interval = (stop - start) / N

    for n in range(N):
        coefficient = start + interval * n
        yield g(sin(coefficient * pi))

n = 150
RED = f(0.5, 1.5, n)
GREEN = f(1.5, 3.5, n)
BLUE = f(1.5, 2.5, n)

RGBs = [('#%02x%02x%02x' % rgb) for rgb in zip(RED, GREEN, BLUE)]

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