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Linearize gamma-corrected RGB values


B = rgb2lin(A) undoes the gamma correction of the sRGB values in image A so that B contains linear RGB values.


B = rgb2lin(A,Name,Value) undoes gamma correction using name-value arguments to control additional options.


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Open an image. The JPEG file format saves images in the gamma-corrected sRGB color space.

A = imread("foosball.jpg");

Display the image.

title("Scene With sRGB Gamma Correction")

Undo the gamma correction and linearize the image by using the rgb2lin function. Optionally, specify the data type of the linearized values.

B = rgb2lin(A,OutputType="double");

Display the linearized image. Shadows in the linearized image are darker than in the original image, as expected.

title("Linearized Scene")

Input Arguments

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Gamma-corrected RGB color values, specified as a numeric array in one of the following formats.

  • c-by-3 colormap. Each row specifies one RGB color value.

  • m-by-n-by-3 image

  • m-by-n-by-3-by-p stack of images

Data Types: single | double | uint8 | uint16

Name-Value Arguments

Specify optional pairs of arguments as Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN, where Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name-value arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the pairs does not matter.

Example: B = rgb2lin(I,ColorSpace="adobe-rgb-1998") linearizes the gamma-corrected image, I, according to the Adobe RGB (1998) standard.

Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose Name in quotes.

Example: B = rgb2lin(I,"ColorSpace","adobe-rgb-1998") linearizes the gamma-corrected image, I, according to the Adobe RGB (1998) standard.

Color space of the input image, specified as "srgb", "adobe-rgb-1998", or "prophoto-rgb".

Data Types: char | string

Data type of the output RGB values, specified as "double", "single", "uint8", or "uint16". By default, the output data type is the same as the data type of A.

Data Types: char | string

Output Arguments

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Linearized RGB color values, returned as a numeric array of the same size as the input A.


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Linearization Using the sRGB Standard

sRGB tristimulus values are linearized using this parametric curve:

    f(u) = -f(-u),                u < 0

    f(u) = cu,                0 ≤ u < d

    f(u) = (au + b)ɣ,      ud,

where u represents a color value with these parameters:

    a = 1/1.055

    b = 0.055/1.055

    c = 1/12.92

    d = 0.04045

    ɣ = 2.4

Linearization Using the Adobe RGB (1998) Standard

Adobe RGB (1998) tristimulus values are linearized using a simple power function [2]:

    v = uɣ,


    ɣ = 2.19921875

Linearization Using the ProPhoto (ROMM RGB) Standard

ProPhoto (ROMM RGB) tristimulus values are linearized using this parametric curve [3]:

    f(u) = 0,             u < 0

    f(u) = u/16,             0 ≤ u < 16*Et

    f(u) = u1.8 + b,      16*Etu < 1,

    f(u) = 1,             u ≥ 1


    Et = 1/512


[1] Ebner, Marc. "Gamma Correction." Color Constancy. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

[2] Adobe Systems Incorporated. "Inverting the color component transfer function." Adobe RGB (1998) Color Image Encoding. Section, May 2005, p.12.

[3] ISO 22028-2:2013 Photography and graphic technology — Extended colour encodings for digital image storage, manipulation and interchange — Part 2: Reference output medium metric RGB colour image encoding (ROMM RGB).

Version History

Introduced in R2017b

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See Also