Color Format

Color format specifications for creating and interpreting representations of colors.

Often only describing a color system is not enough when dealing with libraries and frameworks specifications. For example, both Kivy 1 and PyGame 2 use mostly RGB colors as inputs when building applications. However, Kivy expects the colors to have a maximum value of 1, while PyGame expects it to be 255. To bridge these expectations and allow the use of the same set of colors for multiple projects across different frameworks, the ColorFormat class was created. This class can be used to build strictly defined formats which act as a template for the creation and interpretation of colors using ColorFormat.new_color() and ColorFormat.format() respectively.

Interpreting color-like objects

Most functions and classes of colorir can take as a parameter a type called ColorLike. This type stands for any common representation of color, such as those using strings or tuples. The function/class is then able to interpret such a format using a color format we provide or the default color format (see notes section at the end).

However, not all representation of a color can be understood by all ColorFormat instances. A tuple representation of red in RGB such as (255, 0, 0), for example, cannot be understood by a color format such as ColorFormat(Hex). This is because there are many ways to represent red as a tuple of three elements, such as (0, 1, 0.5) in HSL or as (1, 0, 0) in RGB with a maximum value of 1 for each color spectrum, and a color format based on the Hex system is incapable of diferentiating them. Because of this, for a color format to understand a tuple (or list) representation of a color, it must itself be based on a tuple representation.

Other representations of color are unambiguous, and can safely be interpreted by any ColorFormat. A hex string of six elements such as "#ff0000" or "ff0000" is understood universally, for example.

Color representation

ColorFormat that can understand it

Tuple or list (e.g.: (255, 0, 0), (0, 1, 0.5))

Any tuple-based color format (e.g.: ColorFormat(sRGB), ColorFormat(HSL))

Hex string with six elements (e.g.: "#ff0000")


Hex string with eight elements (e.g.: "#ff0000")

Hex string color format (e.g.: ColorFormat(Hex))

Built-in color formats

Besides being able to specify your own color formats, a few pre-defined formats for popular frameworks can be imported from this module, such as PYGAME_COLOR_FORMAT and WEB_COLOR_FORMAT.


Import basic colors into a palette to work in a PyGame project:

>>> from colorir import config, Palette, PYGAME_COLOR_FORMAT
>>> basic_colors = Palette.load("basic") # Loads colors as RGB values
>>> # ... code

Import the same colors but to work in a web project:

>>> from colorir import WEB_COLOR_FORMAT
>>> basic_colors = Palette.load("basic") # Loads colors as hex codes
>>> # ... code

Create our own color format to work with HSL colors:

>>> hsl_format = ColorFormat(color_class.HSL, max_h=100, max_sla=100, round_to=0)

We can then create colors using the ColorFormat.new_color() and ColorFormat.format() methods:

>>> hsl_format.new_color(30, 70, 70)
HSL(30, 70, 70)
>>> hsl_format.format((30, 70, 70))
HSL(30, 70, 70)


To change the default color format to a custom or pre-built color format, take a look at config.DEFAULT_COLOR_FORMAT.



Kivy: Cross-platform Python Framework for NUI Development at


PyGame library at

class colorir.color_format.ColorFormat(color_sys, **format_kwargs)

Bases: object

Class to create color format specifications.

  • color_sys (Type[color_class.ColorBase]) – The color system that is the basis of this color format.

  • format_kwargs – Keyword arguments that further specify the color format. These are specific to each color system and can be consulted in their respective documentations.


>>> c_format = ColorFormat(color_class.sRGB, max_rgb=1)
>>> c_format.new_color(1, 0, 0)
RGB(1, 0, 0)

For more examples see the documentation of the color_format module.

new_color(*args, **kwargs)

Creates a new color by filling the remaining parameters of a color constructor with the provided arguments.


>>> c_format = ColorFormat(color_class.sRGB,
...                        max_rgb=1,
...                        max_a=1,
...                        include_a=True)
>>> c_format.new_color(1, 0, 0)
RGB(1, 0, 0, 1)

Tries to format a color-like object into this color format.

Because there are multiple implementations of tuple-based color systems, the color parameter is always allowed to be a subclass of ColorBase or a hex string with length == 6, but can only be a tuple if ColorFormat.color_sys is a tuple-based color system, such as sRGB for example.


>>> rgb_format = ColorFormat(color_class.sRGB, round_to=0)
>>> rgb_format.format("#ff0000")
RGB(1, 0, 0)
>>> rgb_format.format((1, 0, 0))
RGB(1, 0, 0)
>>> hex_format = ColorFormat(color_class.Hex)
>>> hex_format.format("#ff0000")
>>> hex_format.format((1, 0, 0)) # Can't understand how to parse this tuple
Traceback (most recent call last):
colorir.color_format.FormatError: tried to interpret a tuple-formatted color with a Hex-based ColorFormat

color (Union[ColorBase, str, tuple]) – The value of the color to be formatted. Can be an instance of any color_class class or, alternatively, a color-like object that resembles the format of the color you want to format.

exception colorir.color_format.FormatError(message='An error occurred when trying to format this color')

Bases: Exception

colorir.color_format.PYGAME_COLOR_FORMAT = ColorFormat(color_sys=RGB, max_rgb=255, max_a=255, round_to=0)

Color format compatible with PyGame standards.

colorir.color_format.TKINTER_COLOR_FORMAT = ColorFormat(color_sys=Hex)

Color format compatible with Tkinter standards.

colorir.color_format.KIVY_COLOR_FORMAT = ColorFormat(color_sys=RGB, max_rgb=1, max_a=1, round_to=-1, include_a=True)

Color format compatible with Kivy standards.

colorir.color_format.WEB_COLOR_FORMAT = ColorFormat(color_sys=Hex)

Color format compatible with HTML and CSS standards.

colorir.color_format.MATPLOTLIB_COLOR_FORMAT = ColorFormat(color_sys=Hex, include_a=True, tail_a=True)

Color format compatible with Matplotlib.