created_at2021-03-01 01:26:47.724342
updated_at2023-02-10 22:35:06.987904
descriptionA smol library for (s)Rgb color handling.
Jonathan Spira (sanbox-irl)





A smol library for (s)Rgb color handling.


To use this in your project, add this to your Cargo.toml:

smol-rgb = "0.3.0"

no-std is supported, but requires libm to work, like so:

smol-rgb = { version = "0.3.0", default-features = false, features = ["libm"]  }

We also support three other features: serde, bytemuck, and rand. serde support works across a variety of backends such as yaml, json, and bincode. rand support allows you to generate random colors at will.

Who is this library for?

This library is designed for the programmer who:

  • is working with graphics on the GPU (such as games)
  • works entirely or almost entirely with sRGB (if you don't know what that means, that's probably you),
  • and doesn't care about color beyond it "just working" correctly.

This library can also serve as a good starting point to learn more complex color theory. For users who are comfortable working in color spaces, you should check out the much more complicated library palette. It is significantly more complicated, but also equally more capable.

This library, on the other hand, only works with sRGB, and is designed only to help the programmer work with sRGB in a simple manner.

It's not always RGB, but we can make it only sRGB

Textures, color pickers (like egui or imgui's pickers) are generally in "encoded" sRGB. In this library, that means 4 u8s, each of which describe how much r, g, b, and a should be in an image. On a very technical level, this is a specification called IEC 61966-2-1:1999, but you should never remember this again. In this library, this space is called EncodedColor. If you use photoshop and use the color picker on a color (generally), the number you get out is going to be in encoded sRGB, which this library handles in EncodedColor. That "generally" might have worried you; unless you know you did something odd, however, it shouldn't. If you're authoring texture in Photoshop or in Aseprite, you'll be working in sRGB (unless you make it so you aren't, but don't do that).

Encoded sRGB is just the bee's knees, except that it's basically useless to do things in. When you want to blend colors (add them, multiply them, basically do anything to them), you need to convert those colors into "linear" space. In this library, we call this LinearColor. Whereas EncodedColor is just 4 u8s, LinearColor is 4 f32s, each of which has been transferred from "encoded" space to "linear" space. The more complete terms would be that they have been transferred from "encoded sRGB" to "linear sRGB", but don't think about it too much -- basically, now they're in a place where they can be mixed with each other.

When does this happen Magically?

Most of the time, in your library or application, your colors will be in EncodedColor and you won't think much about it. If you use a tool like egui or imgui-rs, you'll set colors from those color picker applets directly into your EncodedColor and call it a day.

And of course, I've said a few times now that Textures are in EncodedColor, yet, of course, when you access them in a Shader, you can tint them with uniforms easily and correctly, so they must also be in linear at that stage, right?

The answer is yes! The GPU, when it samples a texture, will convert it into LinearColor for you. It will also, if you've set up your vertex attributes like above, do the same for those. Even more confusingly, after your fragment shader is done working in linear colors, it will (generally) be converted back into EncodedColor for final output. This is why if you use a color picker on your screen, you'll still be getting EncodedColor colors out! If your monitor itself is in sRgb (and many are), then you'll even be displaying those colors in EncodedColor.

When do I need to transfer EncodedColor to LinearColor myself?

In two circumstances, for most programmers -- when you're blending colors yourself on the CPU, or when you're sending a color to a vertex or a uniform to be blended with another LinearColor color (like a sampled texture) on the GPU.

You might think to yourself that you commonly sent colors before you read this in "what you're calling 'EncodedColor'" and it worked out just fine. That's probably true! Almost all games have some color error, because it's just so easy to do accidentally. However, I might point out that probably you or an artist just fiddled with the encoded color until it mixed correctly, so it looked more or less right on the GPU. Or perhaps there was some other weirdness going on!


Dual-licensed under MIT or APACHE 2.0.

Commit count: 23

cargo fmt