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3.0.0 • Public • Published

Chromatism 🌈

A simple set of utility functions for colours.


Awesome resources for colour stuff.

Table of Contents


First off, thanks so much for helping out! Colour modes + functions contributing info will be added soon.

Note: The type definitions file (/index.d.ts) must be updated as part of your pull request. (If you're not familiar with typescript, I can update it for ya.) It contains definitions for colour modes AND colour functions. (Special thanks to @bdoss on GitHub for adding the inital TS definitions!)


$ npm install --save chromatism


var chromatism = require('chromatism');

ES Modules

import * as chromatism from 'chromatism';

ES Module also exports all functions individually, allowing for tree-shaking and smaller bundles

import { brightness } from 'chromatism';

Browser without bundling

<script type="text/javascript" src="path-to-files/dist/chromatism.js"></script>


All functions can take any colour type. You can even mix colour types if a function takes more than one. A list of colour types are available here. Return values are also not bound by the function. Any functions that return colours, return a colour object, which contains getters for each colour type. If you take the return value of one of these functions and get returnValue.hex for example, you will get the hexadecimal equivalent value.

In previous versions (Pre. v2.x), you could chain functions. This functionality has been removed to save space on the bundle.

⚠️ Note: The following examples return different types of values, (hex, rgb, hsl, etc) but you can use any of the available colour modes as seen in the colour modes table at the bottom of this README.

💱 Colour Transformations

The following functions return a Colour Object, which contains getters to get a return value of any colour mode. See Colour Mode table for a list of all the available colour modes.

Convert colour types

var newColour = chromatism.convert( colour ).hex;

Value can be any colour in any of the supported colour modes. (See chart at bottom of README) This is an identity operation, as it just returns an object containing all of the available colour modes of the result.

All colour modes supported can be converted to any other. This does however mean that some conversions will have intermediate values, which can cause small inconsistencies, especially when changing colour spaces. The path for each conversion is optimised as much as possible to avoid loss of colour information.

Generate a complementary colour

var newColour = chromatism.complementary( colour ).rgb;

There is also a uniform version of this function. When using the uniform version, the output colours will have the same apparent lightness as the source colour, which normally means they'll look nicer together. (There is a performance trade-off however.)

var newColour = chromatism.uniformComplementary( colour ).rgb;


Generate an array of triad colours

var newColour = chromatism.triad( colour ).hsl;

There is also a uniform version of this function. When using the uniform version, the output colours will have the same apparent lightness as the source colour, which normally means they'll look nicer together. (There is a performance trade-off however.)

var newColour = chromatism.uniformTriad( colour ).rgb;


Generate an array of tetrad colours

var newColour = chromatism.tetrad( colour ).cmyk;

There is also a uniform version of this function. When using the uniform version, the output colours will have the same apparent lightness as the source colour, which normally means they'll look nicer together. (There is a performance trade-off however.)

var newColour = chromatism.uniformTetrad( colour ).rgb;


Find the mid point between two colours

var newColour = chromatism.mid( colourOne, colourTwo ).cssrgb;


Invert a colour

var newColour = chromatism.invert( colour ).hex;


Invert a grey colour

var newColour = chromatism.invertLightness( colour ).hsl;

Invert Lightness

Blend two colours (Multiply)

var newColour = chromatism.multiply( colourOne, colourTwo ).hsv;


Generate an array of adjacent hue-shifted colours (rainbow effect)

var newColour = chromatism.adjacent( degrees, sections, colour ).cmyk;


Shift should be in degrees. It can be either positive and negative.

Generate an array of the fade between two colours

var newColour = chromatism.fade( amount, colourFrom, colourTo ).hsl;


Generate a new shade of a colour

var newColour = chromatism.shade( percent, colour ).csshsl;


Percent should be a number between -100 and 100.

Generate a new saturation of a colour

var newColour = chromatism.saturation( percent, colour ).hex;


Percent should be a number between -100 and 100.

Change colour's brightness

var newColour = chromatism.brightness( percent, colour ).hsl;


This essentially acts as a sum of saturation and shade, and thus does not adjust luminosity. Brightness works for 99% of most scenarios though.

Percent should be a number between -100 and 100.

Shift the hue of a colour

var newColour = chromatism.hue( degrees, colour ).hex;


Hue shift is measured in degrees, using the HSL colour model.

Shift the contrast of a colour

var newColour = chromatism.contrast( contrastCoeff, colour ).hsl;


Contrast coefficient is supplied in decimal form! You'll normally use a value between 0 and 4.

Imagine increasing the contrast (shift > 1) as making lighter colours lighter, and darker colours darker. Decreasing (shift < 1) makes all colours more similar.

Greyscale version of the colour

var newColour = chromatism.greyscale( colour ).cmyk;


Sepia version of the colour

var newColour = chromatism.sepia( colour ).hsv;


Determine accessible colour for foreground text

var newColour = chromatism.contrastRatio( colour ).rgb;

Contrast Ratio

Use this function to determine the colour of text needed create a high contrast between text and a solid background of the supplied colour. Made according to the W3C Standard on Web Accessibility

Chromatic Adaptation (White point)

var newColour = chromatism.adapt( colour, illuminant, [source illuminant] ).XYZ;

Illuminant Adaptation

Shifts the Illuminant (white-point) on the supplied colour. Supply an illuminant label as a capital-letter string in the illuminant attribute. (e.g. "D65", "F2") A full list is available at the bottom of this README. Most standard white-points are supported. (Most colours in Chromatism are assumed to be illuminated by D65, so you can leave off the source illuminant property normally, it defaults to CIE 2° D65.)

🔢 Colour Metering Functions

These functions do not return a colour, but instead return some aspect or measure of the colour(s).

Colour Difference

var diff = chromatism.difference( colourOne, colourTwo, [luminance weight], [chroma weight] );

Returns a measure of how different the two supplied colours are. Luminance and Chroma weight are equal to l and c in the CMC l:c Delta-E equation. By default they are both set to 1. (Thus testing imperceptibility)

Colour Temperature

var diff = chromatism.temperature( colour );

Returns the correlated colour temperature of the supplied colour in Kelvin. (A higher number indicates a blue-er colour; a lower number indicates a red-er colour.) This should only be used when working with colours that could actually be emitted by a black-body radiator (think glowing stuff, such as tungsten in incandescent lightbulbs), as colour temperature is only an approximation of the colour to a narrow strip of the XYZ gamut. (Note the thin line in the middle of this chart.)

Colour temperature is calculated via McCamy's CCT fomula. (DOI: 10.1002/col.5080170211) Which may mean that colours temperatures beyond 6500K (CIE Illuminant D65) are not entirely accurate

Supported Values

Reference Values Description
Illuminants "A", "B", "C", "D50", "D55", "D65", "D75", "E", "F2", "F7", "F11" Standard CIE illuminants in XYZ format

Scales + Colour Spaces

Mode Scale Colour Space
.hex #000000 - #FFFFFF sRGB
.rgb (r, g, b) 0 - 255 sRGB
.cssrgb (r, g, b) 0 - 255 sRGB
.hsl (h) 0 - 359, (s, l) 0 - 100 sRGB
.csshsl (h) 0 - 359, (s, l) 0 - 100 sRGB
.hsv (h) 0 - 359, (s, v) 0 - 100 sRGB
.cmyk (c, m, y, k) 0 - 1 CMYK
.yiq (y, i, q) 0 - 1 YUV
.XYZ (Y) 0 - 100, (X, Z) derived XYZ
.xyY (Y) 0 - 100, (x, y) 0 - 1 XYZ
.lms (⍴, γ, β) 0 - 1 XYZ
.cielab (L*a*b*) (L) 0 - 100, (a, b) -128 - 128 CIELAB
.cieluv (L*u*v*) (L) 0 - 100, (u, v) -128 - 128 CIELUV
.cielch (L*C*h*) (L) 0 - 100, (C, h) -128 - 128 CIELCh
.hsluv (hu) 0 - 359, (s, l) 0 - 10 CIELCh

Colour Modes

Mode Example Syntax
.hex "#FFC837"
.rgb { r:255, g: 200, b: 55 }
.cssrgb "rgb(255,200,55)"
.hsl { h: 44, s: 100, l: 61 }
.csshsl "hsl(44,100,61)"
.hsv {h: 44, s: 78, v: 100}
.cmyk {c: 0.5, m: 1, y: 0.2, k: 0.45}
.yiq { y: 0.132, i: 0.0222, q: 0.195 }
.XYZ { X: 41.24, Y: 21.26, Z: 1.93 }
.xyY { x: 0.64, y: 0.33, Y: 21.26 }
.lms { rho: 42.266, gamma: 5.561, beta: 2.135 }
.cielab (L*a*b*) { L: 53.23, a: 80.11, b: 67.22 }
.cieluv (L*u*v*) { L: 53.23, u: 175.05, v: 37.75 }
.cielch (L*C*h*) { L: 53.23, C: 179.08, h: 12.17 }
.hsluv { hu: 12.17, s: 99.99, l: 53.23 }

⚠️ A note about CIELUV + CIELCH: Conversion to CIELUV (and by extension, CIELCH) requires defining the illuminant, which can skew results slightly. By default, Chromatism assumes all colours are illuminated by CIE D65, which means that you may get differing chrominance values (±~10) if you are comparing against a CIELUV/CIELCH colour illuminated by anything other than D65.

All functions return an object containing all modes of the result. (In getters, so don't worry, Chromatism doesn't calculate all the versions of the result when you use a function!)

For example, if you need a string containing the hex code for the colour result, simply use .hex:

var newColour = chromatism.invert("#5300FF").hex

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