Adobe has released a ‘public beta’ of Photoshop Lightroom 4. New features are an improved raw conversion engine, the possibility to locally adjust white balance and noise, soft proofing, making photo books at Blurb, and ‘mapping’ of photos using GPS-location. All these new features are welcome improvements, but there is an odd limitation in the soft proofing. Lightroom can only soft proof using RGB-profiles, CMYK-profiles are not supported. Having no option to soft proof using CMYK-profiles is disappointing for any photographer working for the publishing industry. A printing press works in CMYK, not RGB. It becomes even more odd considering that Lightroom itself now has a module directly targeted to a printing press. Blurb books are printed on a (CMYK-based) HP Indigo digital printer, and Blurb supplies an icc-profile to soft proof images for their books. That profile is CMYK-based however, so it can’t be used in Lightroom 4… It’s possible that Blurb (or anyone else) may one day release an HP Indigo icc-profile converted to RGB, but don’t fool yourself. Although that profile can mimic the CMYK-profile to a certain extend, it can never be an exact match, for the simple reason that the CMYK color model and the RGB color model are fundamentally different.

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