Ability to export photos in Lightroom using a CMYK color profile

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  • Updated 7 years ago
It would be great to be able to export photos from Lightroom using CMYK color profiles.

Right now, the only way to convert to CMYK (that I've found) is to export each photo as a RGB TIFs (in Lightroom), then open them in Photoshop to convert to CMYK. The ability to export to CMYK right out of Lightroom would save quite a few steps, and likely reduce any color shifting issues.
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Frank Jones

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Posted 7 years ago

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Andrew Rodney

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Lightroom’s processing engine is RGB based so its very, very unlikely this can or will happen.

Plus its real useful to have a soft proof to decide on a rendering intent before such important conversions.

Even if LR could process the CMYK data from ICC profiles, it wouldn’t reduce color shifting, it be identical to Photoshop using the same settings, CMM etc.
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Frank Jones

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Okay, I guess my thinking is that if they can provide this conversion feature in Photoshop, why not Lightroom?

I can bring a RAW image into Photoshop and do the conversion there, why not in Lightroom? Can't they change the processing engine so that Lightroom can handle both? I would think that there are many, many photographers who need to convert their photos to CMYK for commercial printing.
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Andrew Rodney

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You don’t bring your raws into Photoshop. You bring them into Camera Raw, a plug-in which uses the same RGB processing path as Lightroom. Then after it renders the RGB data, you can convert in Photoshop. Remove Adobe Camera Raw from its proper location and try ‘bringing a raw’ into Photoshop. Not going to happen.

Its probably possible that someone could create a plug-in for Lightroom that would render RGB data and apply a CMYK conversion behind the scene, giving the impression that LR is converting the data. That’s how all 3rd party plug-in’s (NIK, OnOne etc) operate today in LR. The processing pipeline is closed. So they do the equivalent of an export in some RGB color space and apply their ‘effects’. In theory, I suppose this could be done for a conversion. It would only be useful if you didn’t own Photoshop and as I said, you’d lose the ability to soft proof, pick a rendering intent etc. You’d have less functionality than you currently have IF you own Photoshop.
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Frank Jones

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Yeah, I'm aware of the RAW plug-in. That's how I have been able to open my RAW files in PS. Like you said, without the plug-in I couldn't do this.

That said, when I export my RAW images in Lightroom, as you know, I have the option to export them with in a sRGB, Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB color space. Why couldn't they add an option to export in a CMYK color space?
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Andrew Rodney

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Because the engine is designed solely for RGB.
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Frank Jones

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I get that, but I still don't understand why there couldn't be a feature to convert a photo with a RGB profile to CMYK. I realize that the converted file will still only contain the original RGB spectrum, but it would save several steps for those photographers who are dealing with commercial printers who insist on receiving images that are converted to CMYK.
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Andrew Rodney

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As I wrote, it probably is possible once RGB data is rendered but probably not directly from raw. As such, you could just as easily build a PS droplet for the end of the Export session so Photoshop could do the RGB to CMYK conversions.
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Frank Jones

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Yes, but I do all of my image development in Lightroom. The only reason I open Photoshop is so that I can convert the image to CMYK. I've already created a droplet in Photoshop to do the conversion.., it just seems kind of weird that I can't do all of this in Lightroom when I export the final image.