munsell2rgb {aqp}R Documentation

Convert Munsell Color Notation to other Color Space Coordinates (sRGB and CIELAB)


Color conversion based on a look-up table of common soil colors.


  alpha = 1,
  maxColorValue = 1,
  return_triplets = FALSE,
  returnLAB = FALSE



a vector of one or more more hues, upper-case (e.g. '10YR')


a vector of one or more values (e.g. '4')


a vector of one or more chromas (e.g. '6'), may be NA for neutral hues


numeric, transparency setting used when return_triplets = FALSE and returnLAB = FALSE


maximum sRGB color value, typically 1 (see rgb)


logical, return sRGB coordinates (range 0-1) instead of standard hex notation of sRGB (e.g. '#8080B')


logical, return CIELAB coordinates (D65 illuminant)


This function is vectorized without recycling: i.e. the length of each argument must be the same. Both functions will pad output with NA if there are any NA present in the inputs.

Neutral hues are approximated by greyscale shades ranging from 20\

Gley soil colors that are missing a chroma will not be correctly interpreted. Consider using a chroma of 1. Values of "2.5" (common in soil color descriptions) are silently truncated to "2". Non-standard Munsell notation (e.g. '7.9YR 2.7/2.0') can be matched (nearest-neighbor, no interpolation) to the closest color within the munsell sRGB/CIELAB look-up table via getClosestMunsellChip(). A more accurate estimate of sRGB values from non-standard notation can be achieved with the munsellinterpol package.

See examples below.


A vector of R colors is returned that is the same length as the input data. When return_triplets = TRUE and/or returnLAB = TRUE, then a data.frame (of sample length as input) is returned.


Care should be taken when using the resulting sRGB values; they are close to their Munsell counterparts, but will vary based on your monitor and ambient lighting conditions. Also, the value used for maxColorValue will affect the brightness of the colors. Th default value (1) will usually give acceptable results, but can be adjusted to force the colors closer to what the user thinks they should look like.


D.E. Beaudette



# neutral heues (N) map to approximate greyscale colors
# chroma may be any number or NA
g <- expand.grid(hue='N', value=2:8, chroma=NA, stringsAsFactors=FALSE)
munsell2rgb(g$hue, g$value, g$chroma)

# basic example
d <- expand.grid(hue='10YR', value=2:8, chroma=1:8, stringsAsFactors=FALSE)
d$color <- with(d, munsell2rgb(hue, value, chroma))

# similar to the 10YR color book page
plot(value ~ chroma, data=d, col=d$color, pch=15, cex=3)

# multiple pages of hue:
hues <- c('2.5YR','5YR','7.5YR','10YR')
d <- expand.grid(hue=hues, value=2:8, chroma=seq(2,8,by=2), stringsAsFactors=FALSE)
# convert Munsell -> sRGB
d$color <- with(d, munsell2rgb(hue, value, chroma))

# extract CIELAB coordinates
with(d, munsell2rgb(hue, value, chroma, returnLAB=TRUE))

# plot: note that we are setting panel order from red --> yellow
xyplot(value ~ factor(chroma) | factor(hue, levels=hues),
       main="Common Soil Colors", layout=c(4,1), scales=list(alternating=1),
       data=d, as.table=TRUE, subscripts=TRUE, xlab='Chroma', ylab='Value',
       panel=function(x, y, subscripts, ...)
         panel.xyplot(x, y, pch=15, cex=4, col=d$color[subscripts])

# soils example

# convert colors
sp1$soil_color <- with(sp1, munsell2rgb(hue, value, chroma))

# simple plot, may need to tweak gamma-correction...
image(matrix(1:nrow(sp1)), axes=FALSE, col=sp1$soil_color, main='Soil Colors')

# convert into a more useful color space
# you will need the colorspace package for this to work
if(require(colorspace)) {
  # keep RGB triplets from conversion
  sp1.rgb <- with(sp1, munsell2rgb(hue, value, chroma, return_triplets=TRUE))
  # convert into LAB color space
  sp1.lab <- as(with(sp1.rgb, sRGB(r,g,b)), 'LAB')

# convert a non-standard color to closest "chip" in `munsell` look-up table
getClosestMunsellChip('7.9YR 2.7/2.0', convertColors = FALSE)
# convert directly to R color
getClosestMunsellChip('7.9YR 2.7/2.0')

[Package aqp version 1.31 Index]