view raw
Sweeper Sweeper - 9 months ago 209
iOS Question

How to calculate the average color of a UIImage?

I want to build an app that lets the user select an image and it outputs the "average color".

For example, this image:

enter image description here

The average color would be a greenish/yellowish color.

At the moment, I got this code:

// In a UIColor extension
public static func fromImage(image: UIImage) -> UIColor {
var totalR: CGFloat = 0
var totalG: CGFloat = 0
var totalB: CGFloat = 0

var count: CGFloat = 0

for x in 0..<Int(image.size.width) {
for y in 0..<Int(image.size.height) {
count += 1
var rF: CGFloat = 0,
gF: CGFloat = 0,
bF: CGFloat = 0,
aF: CGFloat = 0
image.getPixelColor(CGPoint(x: x, y: y)).getRed(&rF, green: &gF, blue: &bF, alpha: &aF)
totalR += rF
totalG += gF
totalB += bF

let averageR = totalR / count
let averageG = totalG / count
let averageB = totalB / count

return UIColor(red: averageR, green: averageG, blue: averageB, alpha: 1.0)

is defined as:

extension UIImage {
func getPixelColor(pos: CGPoint) -> UIColor {

let pixelData = CGDataProviderCopyData(CGImageGetDataProvider(self.CGImage))
let data: UnsafePointer<UInt8> = CFDataGetBytePtr(pixelData)

let pixelInfo: Int = ((Int(self.size.width) * Int(pos.y)) + Int(pos.x)) * 4

let r = CGFloat(data[pixelInfo]) / CGFloat(255.0)
let g = CGFloat(data[pixelInfo+1]) / CGFloat(255.0)
let b = CGFloat(data[pixelInfo+2]) / CGFloat(255.0)
let a = CGFloat(data[pixelInfo+3]) / CGFloat(255.0)

return UIColor(red: r, green: g, blue: b, alpha: a)

As you can see, what I did here is pretty naive: I loop through all the pixels in the image, add their RGBs up, and divide by the count.

When I run the app and selects the image, the app freezes. I know that this is because the image is too large and the two nested for loops are executed too many times.

I want to find a way to efficiently get the average color of an image. How do I do that?


You'll need to use the Accelerate Library, Apple has a manual with some sample code, it'll work in Swift or ObjC

Here is a sample to get you going, I use this to calculate a person's heart rate and heart rate variability using the change in colors of a finger over the camera lens.

Full code here:

It's in an older version of Swift but I think you'll get the idea. I was doing this at 240 fps, but with a cropped smaller section of the image.

Relevant code here:

// compute the brightness for reg, green, blue and total
    // pull out color values from pixels ---  image is BGRA
    var greenVector:[Float] = Array(count: numberOfPixels, repeatedValue: 0.0)
    var blueVector:[Float] = Array(count: numberOfPixels, repeatedValue: 0.0)
    var redVector:[Float] = Array(count: numberOfPixels, repeatedValue: 0.0)

    vDSP_vfltu8(dataBuffer, 4, &blueVector, 1, vDSP_Length(numberOfPixels))
    vDSP_vfltu8(dataBuffer+1, 4, &greenVector, 1, vDSP_Length(numberOfPixels))
    vDSP_vfltu8(dataBuffer+2, 4, &redVector, 1, vDSP_Length(numberOfPixels))

    // compute average per color
    var redAverage:Float = 0.0
    var blueAverage:Float = 0.0
    var greenAverage:Float = 0.0

    vDSP_meamgv(&redVector, 1, &redAverage, vDSP_Length(numberOfPixels))
    vDSP_meamgv(&greenVector, 1, &greenAverage, vDSP_Length(numberOfPixels))
    vDSP_meamgv(&blueVector, 1, &blueAverage, vDSP_Length(numberOfPixels))

    // convert to HSV ( hue, saturation, value )
    // this gives faster, more accurate answer
    var hue: CGFloat = 0.0
    var saturation: CGFloat = 0.0
    var brightness: CGFloat = 0.0
    var alpha: CGFloat = 1.0

    var color: UIColor = UIColor(red: CGFloat(redAverage/255.0), green: CGFloat(greenAverage/255.0), blue: CGFloat(blueAverage/255.0), alpha: alpha)
    color.getHue(&hue, saturation: &saturation, brightness: &brightness, alpha: &alpha)

    // 5 count rolling average
    let currentHueAverage = hue/movingAverageCount

    let movingAverage = movingAverageArray[0] + movingAverageArray[1] + movingAverageArray[2] + movingAverageArray[3] + movingAverageArray[4]