Moving to an all RGB workflow


New Member
Evening all. I recently had an interesting conversation with a studio manager who was contemplating moving all his agency workflow to wholly RGB.
We both know Adobe's opinion on doing it from the paper they produced a while back but neither of us know any studios who've fully committed.

Any experiences, thoughts on this?
RGB is a wider gamut than CMYK.

It makes sense to leave everything in RGB right until the very last minute (at RIP stage) and let the RIP handle the conversion to CMYK.

If you already have CMYK images then switching to RGB won't make a difference, as the CMYK gamut falls within RGB.

That's not saying that CMYK has the same gamut as RGB - they are completely different gamuts.

The best thing to do is work with Spots as LAB values, and leave RGB and CMYK alone if you get them that way.

Export to PDFx4a - and then do the CMYK conversion on the RIP.

But converting all CMYK to RGB is a pointless task.

You're going from a CMYK gamut to a RGB gamut (where most colours convert just fine) - then converting the RGB back to a different CMYK gamut - that's just crazy.

Best to convert the CMYK gamut to the output destination profile to get a more accurate conversion.
Cheers Hank. Sorry, should have clarified. I understand the technical aspects of the colour space, what I'm wondering is peoples experience of any problems and benefits and how they get on working with external suppliers. Leaving everything RGB until profiles are applied at the RIP stage requires a trust between you and the printer that isn't always available. You might not even who who the sprinter is or, they might look at you blankly when you start to talk profiles (normally that's when you exit but when you're the third party that isn't always possible). All
I understand that you may know what the technical aspects were, but my experience on other forums is that other people may not understand.

I tend to start at the bottom and be explanatory and basic as possible, then when necessary I can ramp up the talk depending on how the topic flows. :)

I fully agree, some printers do not simply adopt modern workflows, choosing EPS over PDF and flattened TIFFs over layered PSDs (or layered tiffs).

Some are simply computer jockeys, taught to ride the horse but never question the trainer. Some simply use a "preflight" that was handed down from the mid 1990's to generation and generation - never being updated.

Some ask for all CMYK document or they won't output.

Recently I had a spec saying "PDFs created on a Mac are only accepted" and my upper management team panicked and wanted to buy in £20,000 worth of Mac equipment!


But keeping things in their respective profiles while you work will benefit you also.

Think if your publication needs to go to an eBook - or an online PDF - or HTML5

You're going to need to keep your images in the widest gamut available.

so keep them in their native gamut when you are working with them.

The up side to a PDF workflow is you can choose your Destination Profile when outputting the PDF. This won't be a PDFx4a compliant file - but it won't need to be.

You can still output your PDFs to various destinations, like Coated Fogra 27, or 39, Uncoated, Newsprint, Euroscale or whatever.

And you still get a fully CMYK PDF.

The key there is not to include the Profile with the PDF - otherwise what happens is that when they open it their end the profile will be mapped to whatever junk they have there that isn't what you want.

A pdf with a Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers) works fine for me most time going to Coated Fogra 39 (as I mostly output for coated stock).


I think it would be worth your while to find a company that is PDFx4a compliant.

You can arrange proofs with them until satisfied you have a workflow.

In the end you benefit greatly with this workflow.

And the dinosaurs are left in the dark ages, where they belong.


Sorry if I went off track there - but hope that cleared up somethings.

Like you don't need to be PDFx4a compliant to send to all your printers.

You can still send PDFx1a to printers, flatten eveything and convert everything to a destination profile - it will probably be fine.

I always always always get a colour proof that has gone through their RIP. I make sure to make that time a must in the print schedule.

Even if it means me taking a trip to the printers to proof on machine.
Guess what I'm trying to say is working with profiles in the source document is best.

You don't gain anything by converting everything to RGB and you gain nothing by converting everything to CMYK.

You are a lot more flexible in working with RGB (or the profile the image came with).

You can output to RGB - CMYK - Web - or any other colour model/output device.

But the days of changing profiles for every image and storing 6 or 7 different images in different colour profiles are gone.
I tend to work in RGB all the while now, then convert the pictures ICC profile / colourspace for the device I know its being printed on just before sending the file to print.

Or if I have confidence in the printer, let them do the RGB to CMYK conversion on their Pre Press side.
I think it's definitely do-able, but I would make the conversation to CMYK myself right before I send anything to print... There can just be too much variation in results if you leave it to the printer or, God forbid, the RIP! For photos and imagery, I would convert it separately in Photoshop. Using an action if there is a lot to convert. For anything else I'd have thought you'd be working in Indesign or Illustrator, which make the process pretty simple and extremely accurate.

It's just my opinion, but if I was determined to work in RGB (which with so much web content these days isn't at all a bad idea) I would definitely make a conversation myself at the very last stage. So I guess I'm agreeing with TDesignCo above ^^
That's pretty much my conclusion. It's fine until you don't have control over final output, then it gets scary. Most of the agencies I deal with have relationships with good printers the problem comes when I work directly with clients Getting some of them to pay my time for a press pass is hard enough let alone a decent printer. As if I enjoy hanging around some rain-lashed industrial estate at 2am.
I definitely make the conversion at the very last moment too - when making the PDF to go to print.

The only PDFx4a files I send out are to printers who I am satisfied can handle them.

This means setting up a meeting with a PDFx4a file ready to go.
Sitting in their prepress going through x,y,z.
Passing on press
Approving that workflow

Then I can happily send more PDFx4a without worry.

But I convert to CMYK when needed before sending to printers.

No need to involve photoshop Batch process.

InDesign and Illustrator will both use the same conversion process that photoshop uses to convert colour to a destination profile.