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CMYK Print Shader

CMYK Print Shader

Jonathan Labao
by jonathanlabao on 13 Dec 2023

This is a shader I made for Unreal Engine 5 that's made to imitate the CMYK printing process. It took a lot more research and math than I thought when I first got the idea, but I'm glad with the final result!

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CMYK Shader used with a realistic scene. The first picture is with the shader, and the second is without it.

CMYK shader used in combination with a cel shader for a stylized scene.  The first picture is with the shader, and the second is without it.

The first step is to take each of the image's RGB channels and create a cel shaded version of it and apply a different dot texture to each value. Another pass will be needed for the image's brightness. Each pass must also have its dot texture rotated at a different angle from the other passes.

From left to right: the unaltered render, the red channel, the green channel, the blue channel, and the key/brightness.

Then some math is done to convert the RGB passes into CMY before being blended together with the key.

Increasing the textures tiling decreases the visibility of the individual CMYK passes.

From left to right: tiling of 20, tiling of 50,  tiling of 100, and the original unprocessed render.

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