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This program is part of Netpbm.
pamseq generates a PAM image of a specified depth and specified maxval that consists of a single row. The row consists of one tuple of every possible value, in order.
For a depth of one, the order is simple: From 0 to maxval, going from left to right. For higher depths, the highest numbered plane goes from 0 to maxval (going left to right) while all the other planes have value 0. Then the sequence repeats except with the next highest plane set to a value of 1, then 2, etc.
To create a simple ramp of the values 0..255, for input to various matrix calculations, try
pamseq 1 255(Before pamseq existed, pgmramp was often pressed into service for this).
To create a PPM color map of all the possible colors representable with a maxval of 5, do
pamseq 3 5 -tupletype=RGB | pamtopnmAgain, with a modern program based on the Netpbm library, you don't need the pamtopnm because a PAM RGB image is equivalent to a PPM image.
You can use such a color map with pnmremap to quantize the colors in an image. With the maxval of 5 given in the example, you get a color map of the set of "web safe" colors as defined by Netscape. Most web browsers guarantee that they can produce at least these 216 colors (215 plus black).