Printing Profiles for Sublimation Printing

The subject of printing profiles used in sublimation printing is a complex subject. Understanding colour management and colour spaces is tough and therefore I am not going to get too far into it beyond what it does in the context of sublimation printing.

For those who want to get into the detail and learn more, I have offered a Wikipedia link below. This gives a reasonable take on the subject and is a good starting point for learning. My interest in ICC profiles and colour management is limited to how it affects using printers.

Wikipedia Link re colour management:

Most companies selling printer bundles for sublimation printing, advertise that they supply a free downloadable colour profile or an ICC profile.

What is an ICC printing profile & what is its purpose?

Its purpose is to help users to get the correct colours on their sublimated items. In simple terms, it does this by making adjustments to correct the colour shade differences that each ink manufacturer’s ink has in its inks. But it is not that simple.

A good profile will have been based on measuring a set of colour swatches printed by a specific model printer using a specific manufacturer’s ink that is printed onto a specific sheet of transfer paper and then sublimated onto a specific sublimation blank.

The profile is then created from these colour swatches by an optical reader that measures the results and places them into profiling software, such as eye1. The software compares the measured results to a set of base colours to create what is in essence, a colour correction chart that can be used by your printer to adjust the printed colours.

Specific is important in terms of an ICC profile

Apologies for the overuse of the word specific, but it is important. The ink, the transfer paper and the blank (Maybe a Mug) that the swatches are measured from, have to remain the same for the profile created, to correct colours accurately.

Using any of these items supplied from a different manufacturer, will create differences in colour, which will follow through to the final colour or colours.

Primary Software.

ICC profiles are mainly used in conjunction with primary software such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw. These are the software titles that HobbyPrint® recommends to use and the profiles that we supply will work with them. There is a lot of software that does not use ICC profiles.

To further muddy the waters so to speak, ICC profiles can be problematic when used with a Mac computer as it will randomly ignore a profile. Android and other mobile devices, not really. Anyway, why run a business on a mobile phone?

Hopefully, this gives a better understanding of what an ICC profile is and what it does in the context of Sublimation printing. I have tried to describe this in terms that are understandable to most people and in doing this, I know that I have used incorrect terms. Click the Wikipedia link and read to understand the point I make. Its complex. Here at HobbyPrint®, we are not purists. We only comment on a subject to the extent needed.

Many of our customers do not print using ICC profiles. They prefer the colours achieved using the inks, papers and mugs that we supply. They advise that the combination give more than acceptable colours for their customers. Of course, where very specific colours are required, it is then that ICC profiles are required and come into their own.

Links to Gimp & Inkscape articles re ICC Profiles

InkScape Link

Gimp Link

Inkscape Forum Link:

InkScape Can Use Profiles:

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