# convert matrix to rgb

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Philipp on 6 Aug 2012
Commented: DGM on 15 Jan 2023
dear matlab developers,
i have a double matrix (MxN). is there a way to convert it to RGB?
when i use imagesc(matrix), all the values are color coded and displayed, but is there a way to write the RGB values into a new array (MxNx3)?
br philipp

Matt Fig on 6 Aug 2012
I wonder if this is what you mean, Philipp?
% Say this is the given matrix:
G = rand(10,10)*300 - 100;
% Use IMAGESC to plot G.
figure('pos',[100 100 1000 800]);
% colormap(copper) % You realize this affects final image (H)?
subplot(1,2,1)
imagesc(G);
title('IMAGESC (MxN)')
% Now make an RGB image that matches display from IMAGESC:
C = colormap; % Get the figure's colormap.
L = size(C,1);
% Scale the matrix to the range of the map.
Gs = round(interp1(linspace(min(G(:)),max(G(:)),L),1:L,G));
H = reshape(C(Gs,:),[size(Gs) 3]); % Make RGB image from scaled.
subplot(1,2,2)
image(H) % Does this image match the other one?
title('IMAGE (MxNx3)')
DGM on 15 Jan 2023
You could also use ind2rgb() with the desired colortable.
% create a 2D array that's not in standard image data scale
myarray = repmat(linspace(-1,1,200),[100,1]);
% create whatever color table
CT = jet(256);
% rescale to index range (multiple ways to do this)
%scaledpict = round(rescale(double(myarray),1,size(CT,1))); % R2017b+
%scaledpict = gray2ind(mat2gray(myarray),size(CT,1)); % IPT
scaledpict = round(1 + mat2gray(myarray)*(size(CT,1)-1));
% convert to RGB
outpict = ind2rgb(scaledpict,CT);
% display it
imshow(outpict)
% or save it
imwrite(outpict,'mypicture.png')

Jurgen on 1 May 2013
The FEX has mat2im and real2rgb. Can recommend both!
Jurgen on 1 May 2013
Just noticed this thread was old...

Image Analyst on 6 Aug 2012
rgbImage = cat(3, redChannel, greenChannel, blueChannel);
Cast to uint8 if you want to display or save to a file. Scale to 0-255 if it's not already in that range. mat2gray() might help.

Walter Roberson on 6 Aug 2012