bluevoxel bluevoxel - 2 months ago 12x
Java Question

Draw a smooth color scale and assign specific values to it

I'm considering a new way of implementation a simple 2D graphical matrix, where colors of its items depend on individual values assigned to those items. So far, I used for this purpose a following schema:

1) Provide an interval-based color scale reference (builded of, say, 20 blocks), to which I could assign specific range of values, e.g. 100-1000.

2) Link matrix items individual values with colors from the scale mentioned above, thus item with value 100 will be e.g

, and item with value 1000 will be

The problem with such solution, is that I had to build my color scale from "blocks", and so it looks like this:

enter image description here

This solution is not so bad, but I want to go further, and implement much accurate
matching with help of color scale as showed below:

enter image description here

Next, there will be nothing so much different of the drill described above. I will "put" this scale between values of given range (e.g. 100-1000), and depend on the individual value of the matrix item, I'll pick proper color from the scale and assign it to the given item.

But how could I draw such scale and put it in a range of a specific values trying to avoid
matching problem from my old solution?


In statistics (visualization) this is called a heat map.

To compute the color for a given value, with MIN <= value < MAX, I would interpolate it onto the range Color.BLUE.getHue() - Color.RED.getHue().


double hue = Color.BLUE.getHue() + (Color.RED.getHue() - Color.BLUE.getHue()) * (value - MIN) / (MAX - MIN) ;

Then use the hue to create the color with full saturation and brightness:

Color color = Color.hsb(hue, 1.0, 1.0);

To create the color scale image, create a WritableImage, grab the pixel writer, iterate over all pixels, and set the color of each pixel using the formula above with the value interpolated along the x axis from 0 to the width of the image. (If you want a vertical color scale, similarly interpolate along the y-axis.)

Here's an example which draws the color scale. You can use the getColorForValue(...) method to compute the color for a given value, for displaying the matrix.

import javafx.application.Application;
import javafx.geometry.Orientation;
import javafx.scene.Scene;
import javafx.scene.image.Image;
import javafx.scene.image.ImageView;
import javafx.scene.image.PixelWriter;
import javafx.scene.image.WritableImage;
import javafx.scene.layout.StackPane;
import javafx.scene.paint.Color;
import javafx.stage.Stage;

public class HeatMap extends Application {

    private final static double MIN = 100 ;
    private final static double MAX = 1000 ;
    private final static double BLUE_HUE = Color.BLUE.getHue() ;
    private final static double RED_HUE = Color.RED.getHue() ;

    public void start(Stage primaryStage) {
        Image colorScale = createColorScaleImage(600, 120, Orientation.HORIZONTAL);
        ImageView imageView = new ImageView(colorScale);
        StackPane root = new StackPane(imageView);
        Scene scene = new Scene(root, 800, 400);

    private Color getColorForValue(double value) {
        if (value < MIN || value > MAX) {
            return Color.BLACK ;
        double hue = BLUE_HUE + (RED_HUE - BLUE_HUE) * (value - MIN) / (MAX - MIN) ;
        return Color.hsb(hue, 1.0, 1.0);

    private Image createColorScaleImage(int width, int height, Orientation orientation) {
        WritableImage image = new WritableImage(width, height);
        PixelWriter pixelWriter = image.getPixelWriter();
        if (orientation == Orientation.HORIZONTAL) {
            for (int x=0; x<width; x++) {
                double value = MIN + (MAX - MIN) * x / width;
                Color color = getColorForValue(value);
                for (int y=0; y<height; y++) {
                    pixelWriter.setColor(x, y, color);
        } else {
            for (int y=0; y<height; y++) {
                double value = MAX - (MAX - MIN) * y / height ;
                Color color = getColorForValue(value);
                for (int x=0; x<width; x++) {
                    pixelWriter.setColor(x, y, color);
        return image ;

    public static void main(String[] args) {