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The CColor class emerged from the need to manipulate color
in the HLS model, meaning I needed the ability to directly change attributes like luminance or saturation.
The HLS model makes it very easy to draw such things as color
gradients between any color. Perhaps Windows 2000 will support the HLS (or the similary
HSB) color model, but I do not want to wait until the release. On the other hand my code should also
work under NT 4.0 and Win95/98. The
encapsulates the long known type COLORREF and extends it with the HLS color model. A
CColor object represents a color, whose RGB and HLS properties
can be directly read and manipulated. It makes the use of type COLORREF and the associated
Another handy feature, which I miss in the Win32 API, are named colors:
frequent common colors can be used by name (instead of using a RGB value). If you use only
a small number of colors, for example to emphasize portions of text, the use of named
colors makes code more understandable (in my humble opinion). X11 supports named colors
since I remeber X11, though optimal use of the limited hardware palette was probably the
original motive in those days. In the HTML documentation of Internet Explorer I
discovered again name colors and decided to integrate exactly the same into the
CColor supports the serialization in a user friendly
text format, which is specially useful for the registry or databases.
The sample application demonstrates the use of the
class. In the upper area the parameters for drawing the color circle could be controlled.
The lower area shows all named colors. Tool tips over the color circle and the named
colors show the color name and the RGB value. The sample applications also
uses/demonstrates some tricks in MFC-tooltip-handling. The whole mechanism is implemented
through the virtual function
OnToolHitTest. Watch and admire (or
Sample: Drawing of a color gradient with CColor
void DrawGradient(CDC& dc, int x, int y,
CColor c1, CColor c2, int width, int height)
ASSERT(width > 0);
float dh = (c2.GetHue() - c1.GetHue()) / width;
float dl = (c2.GetLuminance() - c1.GetLuminance()) / width;
float ds = (c2.GetSaturation() - c1.GetSaturation()) / width;
for (int i = 0; i < width; ++i)
CPen pen(PS_SOLID, 1, c1);
CPen* pOld = dc.SelectObject(&pen);
dc.MoveTo(x + i, y);
dc.LineTo(x + i, y + height);
c1.SetHue(c1.GetHue() + dh);
c1.SetLuminance(c1.GetLuminance() + dl);
c1.SetSaturation(c1.GetSaturation() + ds);
The class CColor encapsulates the GDI color value (COLORREF) and adds some
comfortable functions: direct manipulation of RGB and HSL attributes, conversion to string
values for storage (registry, databases) and user-friendly color names. By userdefined
constructors and conversions is it possible to use a CColor object everywhere a COLOREF
value is expected.
The attributes red, green and blue can be separatly accessed. This is an
improvement compared with the use of macros like RGB, GetRValue, GetBValue
GetGValue. Likewise the attributes of the HLS color model (hue, luminance and
saturation) can be separatly read and manipulated. In this manner it is very easy to draw
color gradients like the title bars of Windows98 application or a "Choose Color"
dialog. The MSDN Library provides an article which describes the HLS color model under the
title "HLS Color Spaces".
Colors could principially be stored in the registry or in databases
numerically as DWORDs, but their manipulation through regedit like tools or SQL is
unneccessarily complicated in this form. But it is more clever to store colors as text in
the hexadecimal format RRGGBB. This text could be, in the worst case, manipulated by hand
from some experienced user or system administrator. To get and set the text representation
of a color you can use the handy GetString and SetString methods. You can construct a CColor-object from
a string by using the static method FromString.
Under X11 you can use named colors since long. HTML (respectively Internet
Explorer) supports them too. Constants and strings are defined
for every named color supported by Internet Explorer. Using named colors makes code more
readable, because the constant "chocolate" is more understandable than
the expression "RGB(0xD2, 0x69, 0x1E)". The name of a color could also be
determined as a string data type. It can be used as a means of communication between
program and user.
Remark: The CColor class does not support palettes and has therefore the
greatest use, if windows is be used with more than 256 colors (color depth greater
or equal 15/16bit)
||Consturctor for COLORREF compatibility.
||Conversion operator for COLORREF compatibility.
||Sets the red portion of the color (0 - 255).
||Sets the green portion of the color (0 - 255).
||Sets the blue portion of the color (0 - 255).
||Sets the red, green and blue portion of the color in one step.
||Gets the red portion of the color (0 - 255).
||Gets the green portion of the color (0 - 255).
||Gets the blue portion of the color (0 - 255).
||Sets the hue (0.0 - 360.0, angle in color circle).
||Sets the luminance (0.0 - 1.0).
||Set the saturation (0.0 - 1.0).
||Sets the hue, luminance and saturation in one step.
||Gets the hue (0.0 - 360.0, angle in color circle).
||Gets the luminance (0.0 - 1.0).
||Liefert die Farbsättigung (Wertebereich: 0.0 - 1.0).
||Sets the color through extracting it from a string in the hexadecimal format RRGGBB
||Gets a string which describes the color as a value in the hexadecimal format RRGGBB.
||Gets the user friendly name of the color Farbe.
||Gets the name belonging to a value of ENamedColorIndex
||Gets a CColor object, which is initialized with the color represented by a value of ENamedColorIndex
||Gets the number of named colors.
||Constructs a CColor object from a RRGGBB string (see SetString/GetString)
For 140 colors names are defined. The same names are used in html, the names and
corresponding color values are copied from the Internet Explorer documentation (MSDN
"Platform SDK/Internet/DHTML/Additional References/Color Table"). Because the
elements of an enumeration are implicitly converted to integer and a COLOREF is only a
typedef for an integer, ENamedColor values can be used everywhere a COLORREF value or a
CColor object is expected. Example:
CToolTipCtrl* pToolTip = AfxGetThreadState()->m_pToolTip;
The following color table is copied from Internet Explorer documentation and slightly
modified ("fuchia" bug correkted and color values stripped):
Meta application it could be handy to get the name of a color by its index in the above
color table. This is the cause for the existence of the enumeration ENamedColorIndex.
The names are driven from ENamedColor: set the prefix "i_" before them. The
index for the color "snow" is therefore "i_snow".
CColor(COLORREF cr = black)
Constructs an object of the class CColor and initializes it with the passed
color cr. The use of a default parameter implements in one step the default
constructor and the conversion constructor from type COLORREF to type CColor.
Because of this, the following code is legal, although no special assignment operator is
CColor black; CColor c1(RGB(255, 0, 0)); CColor c2(CColor::seagreen);
COLORREF r = RGB(200, 50, 200);
c1 = r; c2 = RGB(100, 150, 200);
operator COLORREF() const
Implements typeconversion from CColor to COLORREF. In this way it is
possible to use a CColor Object eveywhere a COLORREF is expected. The following code
is by this legal:
COLORREF cr = color;
Attention: Functions which expect a non constant reference to COLORREF (COLORREF&)
modify the returned tempory COLORREF value, not the original CColor
void SetRed(int red)
Sets the red portion of the color. Values must be in the range from 0 to 255.
void SetGreen(int green)
Sets the green portion of the color. Values must be in the range from 0 to 255.
void SetBlue(int blue)
Sets the blue portion of the color. Values must be in the range from 0 to 255.
void SetRGB(int red, int green, int blue)
Combines the methods SetRed, SetGreen and
SetBlue in one step.
int GetRed() const
Gets the red portion of the color. The return value lies in the range from 0 to 255.
int GetGreen() const
Gets the green portion of the color. The return value lies in the range from 0 to 255.
int GetBlue() const
Gets the blue portion of the color. The return value lies in the range from 0 to 255.
void SetHue(float hue)
Sets the hue. The parameter is interpreted as an angle in the color circle(0.0 - 360.0
Degree). Red is positioned at 0 degree, green at 120 degree and blue at 240 Degree.
void SetLuminance(float luminance)
Sets the luminance of the color. The parameter is normed, its value must be in the
range between 0.0 (black) and 1.0 (white).
void SetSaturation(float saturation)
Sets the saturation of the color. The parameter is normed, its value must be in the
range between 0.0 (gray, absence of all color) and 1.0 (pure colors).
void SetHLS(float hue, float luminance, float saturation)
Combines the methods SetHue, SetLuminance
and SetSaturation in one step.
float GetHue() const
Gets the hue. The return value is interpreted as an angle in the color circle(0.0 -
360.0 Degree). Red is positioned at 0 degree, green at 120 degree and blue at 240 Degree.
float GetLuminance() const
Gets the luminance of the color. The return value is normed, its value lies in the
range between 0.0 (black) and 1.0 (white).
float GetSaturation() const
Gets the saturation of the color. The return value is normed, its value lies in the
range between 0.0 (gray, absence of all colors) and 1.0 (pure color).
CString GetString() const
Gets the RGB color value as text in a hexadecimal representation int the format
"RRGGBB". Example: red is returned as "FF0000", green as
"00FF00" and blue as "0000FF".
bool SetString(LPCTSTR pcColor)
Initializes the object with the color, whose RGB color value is scanned from the passed
string pcColor. It should contain a string in the hexadecimal format RRGGBB. If
no valid color could be scanned from the string, the method returns false,
else true. Example: "FF0000" sets the color to red,
"00FF00" to green and "0000FF" to blue.
CString GetName() const
Gets the user friendly name of the color. When no name is known for the color, a string
in the html format "#RRGGBB" will be returned.
static int GetNumNames()
Gets the number of named colors (the number of values enumerated in ENamedColor and ENamedColorIndex).
static LPCSTR GetNameFromIndex(int i)
Gets the user friendly name for the index i.
static CColor GetColorFromIndex(int i)
Gets the color for the index i.
static CColor FromString(LPCSTR pcColor)
Constructs a CColor object from the string pcColor. The string must be of the
format RRGGBB, where RR, GG, BB are two digits hex values.