How to Convert RGB to CMYK Without Photoshop

How to Convert RGB to CMYK Without Photoshop

To get a faster conversion, you need to learn how to convert RGB to CMYK without photoshop. Because Photoshop can be bulky at times. Getting used to other methods would make your workflow seamless at its best. Below we will cover conversion with GIMP, online tools, and others. 

With a converted JPG CMYK file you get the most accurate printing results. Plus, learning CMYK conversion would help you save up additional costs from the printing company as well. So, let’s shed some light on all of the easiest ways to convert RGB to CMYK without Photoshop.

It’s possible to convert RGB to CMYK Without Photoshop. But first, let’s get to know the real meaning of each color profile. After the definitions, we would dive into how to convert RGB to CMYK color mode.

Meaning of RGB and CMYK

RGB: The acronym RGB stems from Red, Green, and Blue. It represents three different colors of lights. The following color profile combines each light to create a wide array of colors. The RGB contains an additive color model. Thus, the RGB is the main color profile used on digital devices. Almost every display unit uses RGB color mode to display. 

CMYK: The CMYK is a print media color mode and it stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key. It’s the color mode every printing equipment uses to publish images on paper. You need to convert other color modes into CMYK before printing it out.

Meaning of RGB and CMYK 1

Convert RGB to CMYK with GIMP

Among the best free alternatives to Photoshop, GIMP works the best for converting RGB to CMYK. First, download the GIMP software from the official site. Afterward, you need to install the plugin called CMYK separation. Download the plugin file and double click to install it into the GIMP file. It would be crucial to converting the color profiles of your images.

Then download the ICC profiles for your image. You can get the ICC profile on your print papers company’s official website. 

  • Now, open GIMP and go to File > Open and choose your image.
  • Right-click on your photo > select the “image” option on the appearing menu. 
  • Click on the Separate(normal) option. 
  • At last, accept the default destination profile. 
  • For the last time, hover your mouse over image > right-click > click on “Image”. It would do the trick. 

Convert RGB to CMYK with Online Converter Tool

Probably the easiest way to convert RGB to CMYK is to use an online tool. For now, we would use the RGB2CMYK tool. It’s an online converter that works like a charm to convert JPG to CMYK online. First, go to the tool’s official website. Next, you could upload the image file or enter the URL to start with. 
Convert RGB to CMYK with Online Converter Tool 2

Then select the file type of your image. It’s best to remember the following tool supports JPEG and TIFF only. After selecting the file type, select your preferred ICC color profile. Once done, click on the blue “Start”. Within a few seconds, you would get the converted CMYK image file. 

Note: In case you already have an ICC profile file, you could upload it at the output file option.

Convert RGB to CMYK with Illustrator

Illustrator is a great option to go on. Because It has the familiar interface of Photoshop as a creative suite app. Let’s learn how to convert RGB to CMYK in illustrator. First off, open your image into the illustrator with File > Open. Now go into the File > Document Color Mode. On the additional drop-down menu, click on the CMYK color. 

Convert RGB to CMYK with Illustrator 3

It would convert your artboard containing the image into CMYK color mode. Thus, your image colors would turn into alternative color ranges. After converting you could export the image with File > Export. The best part is you get to choose the image format you like. The Illustrator will provide you with an output image with JPG CMYK color mode. It’s all easy and smooth steps that don’t take much time at all.

Convert RGB To CMYK in Procreate

Convert RGB To CMYK in Procreate 5

If you have iPad or iOS devices, Procreate can convert RGB to CMYK as well. You could set up your image or artwork as a CMYK print-ready file with easy steps. At first, open Procreate and tap on the icon with plus and rectangle. Now you would have all the options regarding dimension. 

Then go into the “Color Profile” option under Custom Canvas. Afterward, select the CMYK > “CMYK Generic Profile” option. Then import your image or artwork and it would convert RGB to CMYK Procreate within seconds. The artwork would be print-ready with proper color mode. Thus, you could export the image into several formats as you like.

What To Do As A Last Option

Are you skeptical about how to convert RGB to CMYK without losing color? Better send it to your print company. They would convert your RGB file into a proper CMYK print-ready file. The company might charge a bit for the conversion process. It’s better you negotiate with the charge beforehand. Thus, it would be a lot feasible 

You could try to convert your image with yourself. If everything seems messy, going for a printing company assistant would be the last option. To further avoid these scenarios, keep CMYK in mind while shooting images(If the image gets printed).

What Is The Difference Between Pantone Colors And CMYK?

Both Pantone colors and CMYK are used for printing productions. Yet, the key difference is Pantone gives you as accurate results as possible. Wherein CMYK might get slithy altered with color tones.

Why Should I Convert RGB To CMYK For Printing?

You need to convert RGB to CMYK for printing because printers do not process RGB colors. In every printing application, you need to provide a CMYK file format to work on. So, make sure to convert your file before putting it out on the printing.

How To Convert RGB To CMYK In Canva?

You could work with CMYK color images in Canva. Thus, you only have to convert JPG to CMYK online before you import the image into the Canva online editor. Once done you could use the same file for printing as well.


These are the easiest ways on how to convert RGB to CMYK without Photoshop. We have covered options such as GIMP, Illustrator, online tools, and procreate. Try out each one and check which one works best for you. Certainly at least one would start to work there.

As you can convert RGB to CMYK without the help of Photoshop, it’s a faster process. So, check out these options to get a seamless color profile conversion. Your printing would be hassle-free and smooth. So, start converting your RGB files right now without paying extra to printing companies.

Navaho Mizsey

Navaho Mizsey


“Navaho Mizsey is a Content Writer Executive with 5+ years of experience. He is a hardworking and talented writer. He writes what the audience wants to read. He completed his degree in journalism and started his career in content writing. He loves to write about photography, camera, and photographer”

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