List-based interpolations

I've been thinking about array-based interpolations recently.

One that often comes up is how to interpolate not just between two colors, but across an arbitrarily long list of three or more colors, e.g. a heatmap scale blue-white-red:

color lerpColors(float amt, color... colors) {
  if(colors.length==1){ return colors[0]; }
  float unit = 1.0/(colors.length-1);
  return lerpColor(colors[floor(amt / unit)], colors[ceil(amt / unit)], amt%unit/unit);

Another that I see is complex path navigation: how to interpolate not just between two PVectors, but along an arbitrarily long list of three or more points, e.g. a sprite patrolling path:

PVector lerpVectors(float amt, PVector... vecs) {
  if(vecs.length==1){ return vecs[0]; }
  float unit = 1.0/(vecs.length-1);
  return PVector.lerp(vecs[floor(amt / unit)], vecs[ceil(amt / unit)], amt%unit/unit);

Of course, this can be done when interpolating multiple floats as well:

float lerps( float amt, float... vals) {
  if(vals.length==1){ return vals[0]; }
  float unit = 1.0/(vals.length-1);
  return lerp(vals[floor(amt / unit)], vals[ceil(amt / unit)], amt%unit/unit);

These could also be implemented for ArrayLists rather than arrays.

This problem seems fairly fundamental to the idea of interpolation, and comes up a lot. I wonder if it would be worth putting together a pull request to simply add an extra signature to lerp(), lerpColor(), and PVector.lerp().

A downside of I can see for applications of this method is that there is no distance scaling -- so it wouldn't work if for example you wanted a constant increase in amt to navigate the path or move through colorspace at a constant speed, but your points were not a constant distance apart.

Alternately, I wonder if there are better approaches to this class of problems.

Any suggestions or feedback?

Color examples

Vector example


  * LerpVectorsExample -- interpolates any list of vectors rather than just two
  * Jeremy Douglass 2017-11-30 Processing 3.3.6

PVector vecs[];

void setup() {
  size(200, 200);

void draw() {
  // new path
  // draw the path
  // draw a circle along the path
  PVector loc = lerpVectors(map(mouseX, 0, width, 0, 1.0), vecs);
  ellipse(loc.x, loc.y, 50,50);

void newPath( int count){
  vecs = new PVector[count];
  for(int i=0; i<count; i++){
    vecs[i] = new PVector(random(width), random(height));

void drawPath(PVector... vecs) {
  for (int i=1; i<vecs.length; i++) {
    line(vecs[i].x, vecs[i].y, vecs[i-1].x, vecs[i-1].y);

PVector lerpVectors(float amt, PVector... vecs) {
  if(vecs.length==1){ return vecs[0]; }
  float cunit = 1.0/(vecs.length-1);
  return PVector.lerp(vecs[floor(amt / cunit)], vecs[ceil(amt / cunit)], amt%cunit/cunit);
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