Munsell Color Conversion

Soil color is most often described using the Munsell color system. The aqp package provides several functions for converting to and from Munsell color notation, into other representations suitable for on-screen display (sRGB) or numerical analysis (CIELAB).

Color Conversion Functions

Conversion of Munsell notation to “something” that can be displayed on-screen (sRGB color representation) is probably the most common color transformation applied to soil morphology data. The munsell2rgb() function is convenient for this operation when Munsell notation has been split into vectors of hue, value, and chroma. These could be columns in a data.frame or separate vectors. The parseMunsell() function is convenient when a full Munsell notation is given as a character vector. Note that parseMunsell() is a simplified wrapper to munsell2rgb(). For example, converting 10YR 4/6 with either function can return:

Selection of the closest n Munsell color “chips”, given sRGB or CIELAB colorspace coordinates is performed with the col2Munsell() function. Input to this function can be colorspace coordinates, named colors (e.g. red), or hex-notation of a color. For example, the selection of the closest Munsell chip for CIELAB coordinates (51.4337, 9.917916, 38.6889) results in 10YR 5/6 with a reported sigma (error) of 1.5e-6. This error is estimated as the CIE2000 distance between the source CIELAB coordinates and the CIELAB coordinates of the closest Munsell chip.

A representative Munsell color can be estimated from reflectance spectra in the range of 380nm to 730nm with the spec2Munsell() function.

Special Cases

Neutral colors are commonly specified two ways in the Munsell system: N 3/ or N 3/0, either format will work with munsell2rgb() and parseMunsell().

Non-standard Munsell notation (e.g. 3.6YR 4.4 / 5.6), possibly collected with a sensor vs. color book, can be approximated with getClosestMunsellChip(). A more accurate conversion can be performed with the munsellinterpol package..


# Munsell -> hex color
parseMunsell('5PB 4/6')
#> [1] "#476189FF"
# Munsell -> sRGB
parseMunsell('5PB 4/6',  return_triplets = TRUE)
#>           r         g         b
#> 1 0.2774433 0.3816871 0.5373067
# Munsell -> CIELAB
parseMunsell('5PB 4/6',  returnLAB = TRUE)
#>          L        A         B
#> 1 40.78393 1.583845 -25.09816
# hex color -> Munsell
#>   hue value chroma     sigma
#> 1 5PB     4      6 0.2196242
# neutral color
parseMunsell('N 5/')
#> [1] "#313233FF"
# non-standard notation
getClosestMunsellChip('3.3YR 4.4/6.1', convertColors = FALSE)
#> [1] "2.5YR 4/6"