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Project Description

This python package provides functionality for 2D colormaps. 2D colormaps can be used to visualise images of two parameters at the same time. Typical examples are: a complex function’s magnitude and argument, windspeed and direction, a signals strength and phase (spectrogram), a signals energy and frequency.


  • a growing set of carefully designed 2D colormaps
  • simple matplotlib style functions to plot data using the 2D colormaps
  • 2D colormap designer based on the 3D animation software blender


import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from colormap2d import imshow2d

# complex input data
x = np.linspace(-5, 5, 100)
regrid, imgrid = np.meshgrid(x, x)
zgrid = regrid + 1j * imgrid

complex_function = (zgrid ** 2 - 2.) * (zgrid - 1 - 1j) ** 2 /\
                   (zgrid + 2j) / (zgrid**2 - 5 - 2j)

# assemble [2, nwidth, nheight] array
data = np.array([np.angle(complex_function),

# plot to screen
imshow2d(data, cmap2d='wheel')

simple example

Blender Colormap Designer

The associated blender script allows to generate colormaps in the uniform colorspace CAM02-UCS (thank you colorspacious) by drawing a 3d spline path or a 3d spline surface in blender.

The most common 2D colormap used varies linearly in HSV/HSL colorspace. This colormap is unfortunately not very smooth visually. The following image shows a colormap that has been designed in blender. It starts at white and then goes into the six corners of the CAM02-UCS Gamut.


Blender designed colormaps are much smoother than the classical HSV colormap. The following comparison shows a complex polynomial that has poles. HSV is shown in the top row as reference.

poles and zeros function

Click here to see more colormaps in 3d colorspace.

Click here to see how to install and use the script.

Release History

This version
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Source Sep 8, 2016

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