What ICC profiles does Adobe Illustrator use to convert between RGB and CMYK in its color picker?


I'm trying to understand Adobe Illustrator's color conversion method between RGB/HSB and CMYK. I'm pretty sure they use ICC profiles to do the conversion, and they make a bunch of ICC profiles available for download (

I can't match the conversion using a combination of those profiles to Illustrator's color picker.

What RGB and CMYK ICC profiles does Illustrator use in its color picker?

7/19/2013 11:18:00 PM

This is a pretty old question, but based on its unanswered status and number of up votes and views I thought I'd take a crack at it. Based on your question and the additional comment about doing the conversion on a programmatically on a Linux server, I did some hunting around. There is a Ruby library called ruby-pdf that does colour conversions for handling PDFs. In the docs for the library's colour tools it discusses using the tools for conversion. Interestingly, there is this tidbit:

 # Adobe PDF Display Formula
  r = 1.0 - min(1.0, c + k)
  g = 1.0 - min(1.0, m + k)
  b = 1.0 - min(1.0, y + k)

See here for the reference:

Note this comment: "Converts the CMYK colour to RGB. Most colour experts strongly suggest that this is not a good idea (some even suggesting that it’s a very bad idea). CMYK represents additive percentages of inks on white paper, whereas RGB represents mixed colour intensities on a black screen."

5/16/2014 6:22:00 AM