Select Page

HSL to NCS Converter

This HSL to NCS converter does a great job by quickly running through a list of all possible NCS colors and considering each one of them as a match to your input HSL color. The tricky part in this case is to find a good match when the HSL color does not represent any predefined NCS color. In that case, we use our internal algorithm that is equipped to pick the best match and present this NCS color for your judgement.

Enter HSL color values

Important: It is expected that your input format in HSL matches the standard expression for HSL colors, which is three values representing hue, saturation, and lightness. E.g.: 33-36-100 for Hue: 33°, Saturation: 36%, and Lightness: 100%. This converter tool will only process valid HSL values and will not compute invalid or incomplete HSL codes.

How does this tool work?

Converting HSL to NCS requires us to match two fundamentally different color systems. While HSL is widely used in digital spaces to represent hue, saturation, and lightness, NCS does not have this versatility in digital space, as it is intended for other purposes. However, even if we cannot directly match these together, we do our best to approximate such conversions.

Here’s an outline of our general approach that is being taken:

    1. We first convert your HSL input values to RGB. This step is necessary because RGB is a more direct representation of color values used in subsequent steps.
    2. We then convert your RGB values to a Perceptual Color Space (namely, CIELAB). For this, we use a standard RGB to CIELAB conversion, which involves converting RGB to XYZ and then to CIELAB. This is necessary because CIELAB is a perceptually uniform space, meaning distances in this space correspond to perceived color differences.

      RGB to XYZ (for hsl to ncs)
      XYZ to CIELAB (for hsl to NCS)

    3. We then compare the distance between the resulting CIELAB values and our known subset of CIELAB values that already have mapped NCS colors.

You can see this in action, just click the links below to perform some conversions:
NCS Color: S 2060-B from HSL: H200, S100%, L50% (blue)
NCS Color: S 0580-Y from HSL: H50, S100%, L50% (gold)
NCS Color: S 2030-Y50R from HSL: H30, S50%, L70% (tan)

You can try different variations or even use HSL values from some known color collections like RAL, Pantone, Munsell, etc. Some matches may be more accurate than others, however, this should be sufficient for general reference purposes. Hope that you will find it useful. Let me know what you think via the contact form on this site.