[R] Selecting / creating unique colours for behavioural / transitional data

Ross Culloch ross.culloch at dur.ac.uk
Fri Mar 13 14:34:12 CET 2009

Hi Hadley, 

Many thanks for your post. You're not wrong - i'm certainly finding it
challenging, but i assumed it was because i was making some basic errors. My
data are 15 types of behaviour, e.g. resting, alert, locomotion, etc. so i
need to use 15 colours to tell each appart in a barplot which esentially
colour codes the sequence of behaviours. Therefore i need all colours to be
individually identifiable with no possible confusion between the 15. As you
touched on colourbrewer and other packages typically use gradients for
changes in terrain, etc, which is not what i need, and as yousay, they only
go up to 12. But what is frustrating is that there are 657 colours, and i
can see that i could pick out 15 colours that are all very different, but i
can physically work out how i can do that. I that makes sense?

hadley wrote:
>> Thanks for the reply - some of the sets/palettes in the RColorBrewer are
>> ideal, but the problem with the problem i have is that they only go up to
>> 12
>> colours, and i need 15 colours - so i assume the only thing i can do is
>> create my own palette, but i'm having limited success in trying to work
>> out
>> how to do this.
> I'll think you'll find it very challenging to create 15
> distinguishable colours - there's a good reason the colorbrewer
> colours only go up to 12.  Because you could describe your plot more
> fully - it might be possible to display your data in a way that
> doesn't require quite so many colours.
> Hadley
> -- 
> http://had.co.nz/
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