Find the nearest matching color name (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 11 Jun 2007

Find the nearest matching color name

Someone showed up on #gimp today with a color specified as an HTML hex color specifier, and wanted to know how to find the nearest color name.

Easy, right? There have got to be a bazillion pages that do that, plus at least a couple of Linux apps.

But I googled for a while and couldn't find a single one. There are lots of pages that list all the RGB colors, or convert decimal red, green and blue into HTML #nnn hex codes, or offer aesthetic advice about pleasing combinations of colors for themes (including this lovely page on butterfly-inspired color themes, courtesy of Rik) but nothing I could find that gave color names. Apparently there used to be a Linux app that did that, a piece of Gnome 1 called GColorSel, but it's gone now.

I got to thinking (always dangerous!) ... /etc/X11/rgb.txt has a list of color names with their RGB color equivalents. It would be really easy to write something that just read down the list finding the ones closest to the specified color.

Uh-oh ... of course, once that thought occurred to me, I was doomed. Programmer's disease. I had to write it. So I did, and here it is: Find the Nearest Matching Color Name. It checks against both rgb.txt and the much smaller list of 17 CSS color names.

[ 22:18 Jun 11, 2007    More programming | permalink to this entry ]