R Colors: Amazing Resources You Want to Know



R Colors: Amazing Resources You Want to Know

This article provides amazing list of R colors that you can use to create beautiful graphics. Colors can be specified either by names or by hexadecimal color codes. There are also some predefined colors in R that you can use; these include RColorBrewer, viridis and ggsci color palettes. Read more at: Top R Color Palettes to Know for Great Data Visualization

In this tutorial, you will learn the different available colors, as well as, how to use them in ggplot2 and in R base plots.

Contents:

Load required packages

Load ggplot2 and set default plot theme:

library(ggplot2)
theme_set(theme_bw())

R color names

There are a list of 657 color names that R knows about.

A sample of these R color names are illustrated in the image below:

R color names

  • Usage in base plot:
barplot(c(2, 5), col = c("darkcyan", "darkgoldenrod1"))

  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(fill = "darkcyan") 

Hexadecimal colors

The following image shows example of hexadecimal color codes that you can choose:

Hexadecimal color chart

(Source: http://www.visibone.com)

  • Usage in base plot:
barplot(c(2, 5), col = c("#009999", "#0000FF"))

  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(aes(fill = Species)) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = c("#00AFBB", "#E7B800", "#FC4E07"))

Predefined R color palettes

We have already described the best predefined R color palettes in our previous article: Top R Color Palettes to Know for Great Data Visualization.

In this section, we’ll present briefly RColorBrewer, viridis, ggsci and Wes Anderson color palettes.

RColorBrewer palettes

  • First, load the package as follow:
library("RColorBrewer")
  • Usage in base plot:
barplot(c(2, 5, 8), col = brewer.pal(n = 3, name = "Dark2"))

  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(aes(fill = Species)) +
  scale_fill_brewer(palette = "Dark2")

Read more at: The A – Z Of Rcolorbrewer Palette

Viridis color palettes

  • First, load the package as follow:
library("viridis")
  • Usage in R base plots
barplot(c(2, 5, 8), col = viridis(3))

  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(aes(fill = Species)) +
  scale_fill_viridis(discrete = TRUE)

Read more at: Viridis color palettes

Scientific journal color palettes

The ggsci R package contains a collection of high-quality color palettes inspired by colors used in scientific journals, data visualization libraries, and more. For example:

  • scale_color_npg() and scale_fill_npg(): Nature Publishing Group
  • scale_color_aaas() and scale_fill_aaas(): American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • scale_color_lancet() and scale_fill_lancet(): Lancet journal
  • scale_color_jco() and scale_fill_jco(): Journal of Clinical Oncology

Note that for base plots, you can use the corresponding palette generator for creating a list of colors. For example, you can use: pal_npg(), pal_aaas(), pal_lancet(), pal_jco(), and so on.

  • First, load the package as follow:
library("ggsci")
  • Usage in R base plots
barplot(c(2, 5, 8), col = pal_jco()(3))

  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(aes(fill = Species)) +
  scale_fill_jco()

Read more at: ggsci color palettes

Wes Anderson color palettes

The corresponding R package contains 16 color palettes from Wes Anderson movies. The available color palettes are shown in the chart below :

  • First, load the package as follow:
library("wesanderson")
  • Usage in R base plots
barplot(c(2, 5, 8), col = wes_palette("GrandBudapest1", n = 3))

  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(aes(fill = Species)) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = wes_palette("GrandBudapest1", n = 3))

Learn more at: Top R Color Palettes to Know for Great Data Visualization

R base color palettes

There are 5 R base functions that can be used to generate a vector of n contiguous colors: rainbow(n), heat.colors(n), terrain.colors(n), topo.colors(n), and cm.colors(n).

  • Usage in R base plots:
barplot(1:5, col=rainbow(5))
# Use heat.colors
barplot(1:5, col=heat.colors(5))
# Use terrain.colors
barplot(1:5, col=terrain.colors(5))
# Use topo.colors
barplot(1:5, col=topo.colors(5))
# Use cm.colors
barplot(1:5, col=cm.colors(5))
  • Usage in ggplots:
ggplot(iris, aes(Species, Sepal.Length)) +
  geom_boxplot(aes(fill = Species)) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = rainbow(3))

Conclusion

This article presents a list of R colors yu can choose to create plots using either the ggplot2 package or the R base functions.





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