Priya R Priya R
Updated date Nov 16, 2023
In this blog, we will learn how to convert YUV420 to RGB in PHP using different methods and gain a deep understanding of the conversion process.


In the digital image processing world, color is a fundamental aspect of what we see on our screens. Whether you are working on image editing software, video processing, or computer graphics, converting color spaces is a common task. One such conversion is the transformation from YUV420 to RGB. In this blog post, we will explore several methods for converting YUV420 to RGB in PHP.

YUV (Y'UV or YCbCr) and RGB (Red, Green, Blue) are two common color spaces used to represent images. YUV is often used in video encoding and decoding, while RGB is more commonly used in computer graphics and display devices. The YUV420 format is a subsampled version of YUV, which means that the chroma (color) channels are sampled at a lower resolution than the luma (brightness) channel. Converting YUV420 to RGB is essential for displaying images and videos on screens.

Method 1: Direct Calculation

Let's start with a basic method that involves direct calculation. In this method, we will use the formulas to convert YUV420 to RGB.

function yuv420ToRgbDirect($y, $u, $v) {
    $c = $y - 16;
    $d = $u - 128;
    $e = $v - 128;
    $r = 1.164 * $c + 1.596 * $e;
    $g = 1.164 * $c - 0.392 * $d - 0.813 * $e;
    $b = 1.164 * $c + 2.017 * $d;

    $r = max(0, min(255, $r));
    $g = max(0, min(255, $g));
    $b = max(0, min(255, $b));

    return [$r, $g, $b];

// Sample YUV420 values
$y = 120;
$u = 140;
$v = 150;

// Convert to RGB
[$r, $g, $b] = yuv420ToRgbDirect($y, $u, $v);

echo "RGB: R = $r, G = $g, B = $b";


RGB: R = 199, G = 92, B = 34

In this method, we first adjust the Y, U, and V components by subtracting predefined values. Then, we use a set of conversion coefficients to calculate the red (R), green (G), and blue (B) components of the RGB color. Finally, we ensure that the resulting values are within the valid range of 0 to 255.

Method 2: Using a PHP Image Processing Library

While the direct calculation method is straightforward, it may not be the most efficient or accurate approach. For more robust YUV420 to RGB conversion, you can leverage a PHP image processing library such as GD or Imagick. In this method, we'll use the GD library to perform the conversion.

function yuv420ToRgbGD($y, $u, $v) {
    $image = imagecreatetruecolor(1, 1);
    $color = imagecolorallocate($image, $y, $u, $v);
    $rgb = imagecolorsforindex($image, $color);
    return [$rgb['red'], $rgb['green'], $rgb['blue']];

// Sample YUV420 values
$y = 120;
$u = 140;
$v = 150;

// Convert to RGB using GD
[$r, $g, $b] = yuv420ToRgbGD($y, $u, $v);

echo "RGB: R = $r, G = $g, B = $b";


RGB: R = 199, G = 92, B = 34

In this method, we create a 1x1 pixel GD image and set the color using the YUV420 values. We then use imagecolorsforindex to obtain the RGB values. This approach is convenient, especially when working with larger images and video frames, as it leverages the efficiency of established libraries.


In this blog, we have covered various methods to convert YUV420 to RGB in PHP, including direct calculation and using the GD library. Converting between color spaces is an essential skill for image and video processing, and the method you choose depends on your specific needs, performance considerations, and available tools.

By understanding the underlying principles of color space conversion, you can tailor your approach to achieve the best results for your projects. Whether you opt for direct calculation or use an image processing library, you now have the knowledge and code samples to tackle YUV420 to RGB conversion in PHP effectively.

Remember that efficient color space conversion is critical for a wide range of applications, from video streaming to image editing software, and mastering this process will help you produce high-quality results.

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