In computer graphics, a color gradient (sometimes called a color ramp or color progression) specifies a range of position-dependent colors, usually used to fill a region. For example, many window managers allow the screen background to be specified as a gradient. The colors produced by a gradient vary continuously with position, producing smooth color transitions.
An axial color gradient (sometimes also called a linear color gradient) is specified by two points, and a color at each point. The colors along the line through those points are calculated using linear interpolation, then extended perpendicular to that line. In digital imaging systems, colors are typically interpolated in an RGB color space, often using gamma compressed RGB color values, as opposed to linear. CSS and SVG both support linear gradients.
A radial gradient is specified as a circle that has one color at the edge and another at the center. Colors are calculated by linear interpolation based on distance from the center. Both CSS and SVG support radial gradients.
In some circumstances it is appropriate to use a color gradient that takes on one color at the boundary of a polygon or other shape, and that shades to a different color towards the interior of the object. Such a gradient may be formed by combining multiple axial gradients, with the straight skeleton of the polygon used to determine the boundaries between pairs of axial gradients.
- Eisenberg, J. David (2002). SVG Essentials. O'Reilly Media. p. 107. ISBN 0-596-00223-8.
- Linear Gradients in "CSS Image Values and Replaced Content Module Level 3", W3C Candidate Recommendation, April 2012
- Linear Gradients in "SVG 1.1 (Second Edition)", W3C Recommendation, August 2011
- Radial Gradients in "CSS Image Values and Replaced Content Module Level 3", W3C Candidate Recommendation, April 2012
- Radial Gradients in "SVG 1.1 (Second Edition)", W3C Recommendation, August 2011
- Asente, Paul; Carr, Nathan (2013), "Creating contour gradients using 3D bevels", Proceedings of the Symposium on Computational Aesthetics (CAE '13, Anaheim, California), New York, NY, USA: ACM, pp. 63–66, doi:10.1145/2487276.2487283, ISBN 978-1-4503-2203-4.
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