Get colors from images in bulk with Node.js

Posted on September 25, 2021 in
3 min read

Today I need to extract the main or dominant colors from a bunch of images, thus, I created a script in Node.js to do that.

The process I encoded in order to use the script is something like:

  • paste a list of image URLs in a txt file (that I grab from a spreadsheet)
  • run the script
  • get a list (in a .csv file) of the extracted colors in order to paste them on the original spreadsheet

The process might look rough but it works well and with a simple manual copy/paste I can easily decorate a spreadsheet with additional info that otherwise would be hard to integrate automatically.

The script

The Node.js script is quite simple because it uses a specific library for the color extraction task, which is colorthief.

Let's prepare the input values:

const fs = require('fs')
const source = fs.readFileSync('./source.csv', 'utf-8')
const list = source.split('\n')

Next, I created a Promise based function to process in sequence all the images:

const process = (url) => {
    return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
        const f = async () => {
            const dominant = await ColorThief.getColor(url)
            const palette = await ColorThief.getPalette(url, 5)
            resolve({dominant, palette})

The above function uses ColorThief to both extract the single dominant color and the main palette as well.

I've wrapped all the required promises in an array:

const allProms = => process(url))

Now the main function in async mode in order to use the great await Promise.all() command:

;(async () => {
    const all = await Promise.all(allProms)

    let csv = 'dominant,palette1,palette2,palette3,palette4,palette5\n'

    all.forEach(pict => {
        csv += rgb2hex(pict.dominant) + ','
        pict.palette.forEach(p => {
            csv += rgb2hex(p) + ','
        csv += '\n'

    fs.writeFileSync('./destination.csv', csv, 'utf-8')

The above function also create the final csv file, saving it in the file system.

You should see also that there's a function to convert RGB value (this is the way ColorThief return the color value) to Hex value. You can skip it if RGB values are ok for you.

const rgb2hex = arr => {
    const rs = => {
        const y = parseInt(x).toString(16)
        return y.length === 1 ? '0'+y : y
    return '#' + rs.join('')

After run the script, you just need to open the destination.csv to get the extracted values, each row related to each source image.