Your Ultimate Guide to ICC Profiles for Sublimation (2024)

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I have been getting a ton of questions about ICC profiles for sublimation ever since I converted my Epson EcoTank printer. Do you have to use one to use your sublimation printer? What exactly do they do? Can they really correct the colors that you are seeing on your projects? Well, I am here to answer all of that and more! Follow along below to understand ICC files and start using one if you would like! I also have an ICC profile for Hiipoo sublimation ink below if you would like to download it for your own use.

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ICC Profiles for Sublimation

Want to learn all about profiles and how to use them? You can watch the video below as I walk you through using the profiles and even show you examples of how the colors change when they are in use.

Can’t watch the video or missed some of the steps? You can also follow along with the blog post below!

What is an ICC profile?

ICC stands for International Color Consortium and these files manage the colors from just about anything. You would have profiles on cameras, computers, monitors, printers, etc so that the colors remain the same no matter where you are looking at them. When you buy a printer, it comes with an ICC profile already installed in the printer driver and that’s how it handles colors. However, that ICC profile is meant for the ink that comes with the printer.

When you convert a regular inkjet printer to a sublimation printer, you have now altered a component that they used to create that ICC file. Traditionally on an inkjet printer, I would use standard regular copy paper and inkjet ink with the printer. Once converted, I am using Hiipoo sublimation ink and A-Sub sublimation paper. That means I can potentially get different colors out of that standard color profile.

ICC profiles are a way to fix that. You will need to find and install a custom ICC profile for your printer. This ensures that the colors you see on your computer screen come out of your printer consistently. So what you see, you actually get printed as well as pressed to your shirt or another substrate. If you have a problem with some of your colors, it is due to the ICC profile most likely.

How to Get ICC Files

You will need to go to the manufacturer of your brand of sublimation ink and see if they have a file for your exact combination. These files are based on the printer, the brand of ink, and the brand of paper. So the exact combination should be used for optimal results. Will you have good results without a file or with a different paper? You might! But you may have issues depending on the file and the changes you are making.

ICC Profile for Hiipoo Sublimation Ink

I was able to get one file for Hiipoo sublimation ink for my particular combination of printer/ink/paper. They are working on more files and I will update this post when they have them. For now, the file that I have is for an ET-4700 with Hiipoo sublimation ink and A-Sub sublimation paper. I will note that I had someone try it with an ET-2760 and she really liked it as well so you may be able to give it a try and see what happens.

To get the profile, just sign up for the newsletter here. Once you sign up, the file will be sent directly to your email address. From there, you will need to download then follow the instructions below to use the file. Please note that you can only use these files on a computer with something like Photoshop or Corel installed for use. You can’t open this file. You will just need to install it as instructed below.

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What do you need to use ICC color profiles?

You will need a few things to get started with using custom color profiles.

  • ICC file for your combination of printer/ink/sublimation paper – you can usually go to the ink manufacturer and see if they have one for your combination.
  • Computer – these only work on a computer so you will not be able to use your mobile device.
  • Software – you will need some type of software to read and handle the ICC profile. I am using Adobe Photoshop but Corel will also work. There may be other programs out there that will work but I do not have experience with those.

How to Use ICC Profiles

Now that you have your profile, it is time to use it on your computer for your sublimation printer. To do that, open up your the folder where the file is located and right click it. Then click “install profile”. It is important to note here that nothing will really happen as this is a super small file and it will install in about the blink of an eye. But once you install it, it will be ready for use.

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Now we will need to tell our printer to use this profile. First, open up your printing preferences dialogue box. There should be an area that says “color correction” and it is most likely set to automatic. This is the default for most printers when you set them up.

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Change that to custom and click advanced. You will then get a few options. To use your ICC profile, you will want to change this to “no color adjustment” and click ok. However, if you don’t have an ICC file for your combination, you can also click “custom” here and a dialogue window opens where you can manually change colors.

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While I don’t recommend this in all cases, if you don’t have an ICC profile and are having color issues, this may be one way to help solve the issue.

For me, I picked no color adjustment then pulled up Photoshop to print and example page. Once you click print in Photoshop, you will need to change the color handling to “photoshop manages color” and the printer profile to the profile you just installed. Then click print! You have now used a custom ICC profile to print on a sublimation printer.

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Do ICC profiles make a difference?

Let’s put it to the test. Do ICC profiles for sublimation really make a difference? I printed three Pantone color charts with the same sublimation paper, ink, and printer. One with the printer driver and automatic correction. One with color controls on but I didn’t alter anything manually. Then one with the Hiipoo color profile that I offer above.

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I saw very little difference in the first two but the one with the Hiipoo ICC file was definitely brighter when comparing certain colors.

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This was out of the printer, however, and before pressing. I wanted to take a look at these before and after pressing to see if I saw differences in both scenarios.

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Then I pressed each of these to a 100% polyester cloth using the same settings each time. Again, I felt the automatic and color controls were roughly the same. You may even say the color controls were a bit more muted.

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So, I decided to just compare the Epson profile to the Hiipoo profile and see what color differences I could see. Overall, the colors are brighter and there is more definition between colors with the Hiipoo profile.

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However, while some colors look way different and way brighter, other colors look relatively the same when comparing both pieces.

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I do think that overall, if you can get the Hiipoo ICC profile to work, you will see a difference in your projects with some brighter and more vibrant colors.

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Do you have to use an ICC file?

Now that you have seen how to use ICC profiles for sublimation and what a difference they can make, the question is do you have to use them. The answer is no. If you are happy with the way your printer prints right now, just leave it and continue making amazing things! This is for those that want or need to correct their colors.

I find that people see the color correction instructions online or in a Facebook group and automatically think you have to have that before you can start with sublimation crafting. That is totally incorrect. I used my printer for many, many projects over several weeks with zero color correction and never had any issues with the projects. If you feel that way, then just skip this entire step and continue using your printer!

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However, if you feel your purples or greens are just not coming out correctly, you might try ICC profiles for sublimation. I think you will be happy once you have the correct profile installed and it is working on your sublimation printer. Give it a try and see if your colors come out truer to what you see on your computer screen.

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I hope this helps if you are looking for color correction options on your sublimation printer. ICC profiles for sublimation can sound scary and hard to use but it is actually easy! So, grab your sublimation printer and get crafty!

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Love this and want to learn more about sublimation? Try the links below as well!

  • Getting Started with Sublimation
  • Sublimation vs. HTV: Which Lasts Longest?
  • Sublimation Paper Comparison
  • Guide to Sublimation Blanks
Your Ultimate Guide to ICC Profiles for Sublimation (2024)


Can you sublimate without ICC profile? ›

ICC profiles are a necessity when trying to achieve accurate colours with sublimation printing, and without their use the finished result will not be as desired.

Should I use RGB or CMYK for sublimation? ›

When working with sublimation, activate a specific RGB profile to produce accurate colours, unless working with a RIP, which uses CMYK. Many graphic artists design in CMYK colour mode because this is the most appropriate for commercial printing.

Where do I find Epson paper ICC profiles? ›

Open your hard drive, then select Library > Printers > EPSON > InkjetPrinter2 > ICCProfiles.

Where can I download ICC profiles? ›

How to Download Profiles from the Magic Website
  • Click the resources tab on the homepage.
  • Click the pink “icc profile search” box.
  • Select Product, Printer Make, RIP or Printer Driver and Printer Model (all fields are not required) and click search.
  • Click on the blue link to download the appropriate file.
12 Nov 2020

How do I get an ICC profile? ›

To make an ICC profile for a colour device you need a profiling package. This normally includes a measurement instrument, a test target, and a software program which can read the measurements and generate the profile. For an output device (display or printer) colour patches are displayed or printed and then measured.

How do I make my sublimation more vibrant? ›

Follow these steps, and the colors will be stunning, vibrant, and bright every time.
  1. Use high-quality Sublimation ink. ...
  2. Buy High-Quality Sublimation Paper, ex. ...
  3. Buy a Sublimation Printer that is designed for sublimation printing. ...
  4. Open your design in the software of your choice and then the design file.
19 Aug 2022

What color mode is best for sublimation? ›

Printing applications such as dye sublimation and paper printing mostly use CMYK colour space files as the inks used are physically CMYK inks. These printers begin with a white fabric base or white paper stock and the colour is then added to it, making it a perfect fit with the CMYK process.

What is the best resolution for sublimation? ›

Number of PPI between 100 and 300

For a sharp print, it is important that a photo has enough pixels for the size at which you want to sublimate it. The larger the size, the more pixels a photo needs. This is expressed in pixels per inch. A photo between 100 and 300 PPI is required for a sharp printout.

How many seconds do you press for sublimation? ›

40-75 seconds 400°F Medium Time varies check with manufacturer. Remove plastic coating. Remove transfer paper immediately after pressing.

What is the best image format for sublimation printing? ›

For dye-sublimation printing, always provide your artwork in CMYK. This way, even if further adjustments are necessary to get the right results, they will be minimal when compared to submitting it in RGB. If there isn't any color in the images, a grayscale file is the better option.

What is the best file format for sublimation printing? ›

How To Prepare a correct File For Direct To Sublimation Printing Stampa. We recommend saving your print files as PNG. PNG allows you to preserve transparency, maintains resolution, and is a modern, universal format. To save your print ready images in Photoshop or Paint, go to File > Save As > PNG.

How do I add an ICC profile to my Epson printer? ›

Install your Profile
  1. Download ICC Color Profile.
  2. Right-Click and select Install Profile.
  3. Open your printing preferences by selecting the Start key and going to Settings. ...
  4. In your Printing Preferences, go to More Options > Color Correction and select Custom.

How do I extract an ICC profile from a PDF? ›

Export an ICC profile from an output intent

Choose Tools > Print Production > Preflight. On the Output Intents tab ofPreflight Preferences, select the output intent and click ExportICC Profile.

How do I Install ICC profiles on Windows 10? ›

In Color Management, go to the All Profiles tab, and select Add... Navigate to the color profile (. ICC file) you wish to add and select Add. The profile will be added to the list.

Can I use any ICC profile? ›

The only ICC Profile you should use is the one that matches your paper and printer combination. If the paper you use doesn't have an ICC Profile for your printer, switch to a different paper that does. The only other alternative is to have a bespoke profile created.

Should I use ICC profile? ›

Each printer has its own features such as the printing technology, and the number of ink cartridges for instance. It is therefore strongly recommended to use the ICC profile linked to the paper and the printer, but also the same printer settings as for the ICC profile.

How do I add color profiles to ICC? ›

Answer: In Windows 10, you can simply right-click on the . icc profile and click 'Install Profile,' or you can copy the file to the following location: C:Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color.

Can I make my own ICC profile? ›

The answer is to have your own 'Bespoke' Custom ICC Printer Profiles made using our remote profiling service. Your own printer, with your choice of paper, is profiled remotely by us after you've downloaded our special colour charts together with our comprehensive instruction manual, printed them, and mailed them to us.

Can you edit an ICC profile? ›

To edit an ICC profile in Photoshop, go to Edit > Color Settings. In the Color Settings dialog box, select the profile that you want to edit from the Profile drop-down menu. You can then make changes to the settings for that profile.

What is a custom ICC profile? ›

What Is An ICC Profile? In a color managed workflow, an ICC profile is a set of data that characterizes the color input or output of a device (in this case your printer), according to specialized standards by the International Color Consortium (ICC).

Why are my colors dull on sublimation? ›

It's absolutely normal for sublimation ink to look dull when it's first printed. Once the print is sublimated onto the substrate with high heat and pressure, the ink converts to a gas and infuses into the polyester material and the colors will become bold, bright, and vibrant.

What can I spray on sublimation to make it brighter? ›

With Spray Bright you can Sublimate on 100% cotton and ANY polyester count. Even if you have a higher polyester count, Spray Bright makes all your sublimation results BRIGHTER. The fibers in the shirt will feel stiff until after its washed a few times.

Why are my sublimation prints not vibrant? ›

Why are my images coming out faded? Image fading is usually caused by too much time and temperature, and/or pressure. We suggest double-checking the recommended settings from the company where you purchased your sublimation blanks. Every heat press is different, which is something to bear in mind.

What is the best blend for sublimation? ›

Polyester. Polyester is one of the best fabrics to use for sublimation. The polymers of this type of fabric open up when subjected to heat. When the ink dye is subjected to heat, it will transform into its gaseous form, the ink dye easily enters the fabric through its pores, and will easily bond once the fabric cools.

Can you sublimation on dark colors? ›

If you want to sublimate on dark color shirts, you can print the sublimation paper above a heat transfer vinyl. That means, press the heat transfer vinyl on the shirt first, followed by the sublimation paper. It's like placing a base layer first to give way to your colored and vivid design.

Why are my sublimation images blurry? ›

A blurry, dull image is the most common sign of pressing your sublimation blanks for too long or with too much heat. Simply decreasing the time usually resolves the problem.

Does higher resolution use more ink? ›

Ink usage does not depend on resolution, it depends on what paper quality setting you have. Higher resolution print puts smaller dots and lower resolution printing puts bigger dots, bigger dots are bigger drop if ink so it is actually more ink for the same area if two of your paper are the same kind.

Is 300 DPI good for sublimation? ›

All-over printing (sublimation)

Even low-resolution files or files that were resampled and thrown into a 150 DPI template, don't seem nearly as low quality in this print as they do on the screen. This is why having a 300 DPI file won't have a big impact on the quality of sublimation products.

Do you leave bleed on for sublimation? ›

If your measurements are short a millimeter, it will show a thin white line after sublimating. The solution is to bleed your image! Bleeding also allows you to print all the way to the edge of a sublimatable item!

Should sublimation bleed on or off? ›

Be sure to pick your sublimation printer and uncheck add bleed. You will also want to use system dialogue in order to make sure your printer settings are correct.

What temp do you sublimate at? ›

60 seconds 375-400° F 40 psi (medium) Time varies with metal manufacturer (always consult manufacturer for correct time and temp). Place absorbent sheet on bottom of heat press. Then, place product transfer side DOWN on top of the absorbent sheet. 40 psi (medium) Time varies with press.

Do you use SVG or PNG for sublimation? ›

Another great way to use PNG files is for sublimation. These file types are also so fun to design. They can have tons of layers as you design since you will flatten the image before saving it.

Can I sublimate a JPEG file? ›

The file types you can use for sublimation printing are: PNG, JPEG, SVG, PDF, PSD, EPS, and TIFF. You'll want to make sure the file quality for your image is good and if you need to do a large print you'll want to make sure that the photo is high resolution.

What is the best program to create sublimation designs? ›

Some of the best sublimation printing software choices are: Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Adobe Illustrator, Canva, Cricut Design Space, Gimp, Go Daddy Studio, Inkscape, Photoshop, Procreate, Publisher, Silhouette Studio are the most common programs used for Sublimation.

Can you use a SVG file for sublimation? ›

You can print SVG files just like sublimation prints! But if you want to jazz them up a little (because you CAN!) then here are some videos showing you some design tricks that are easy ways to give those SVG designs a face lift!

What is better than sublimation printing? ›

Sublimation has some color limitations, especially white. If there is white in your image you may want to go with DTG or DTF printing. Type of fabric. DTF printing works on any type of fabric, but DTG works best on cotton and sublimation works best on polyester.

How do I install ICC settings? ›

Installing ICC profiles on Windows:

Open the extracted folder eci_offset_2009 and choose the subfolder of the same name. Here you will find info PDFs and ICC files which Windows recognizes as ICC profiles. Now right-click a profile and select Install profile.

What happens if you delete ICC profile? ›

It won't hurt anything to delete the profiles, as long as you're sure you'll never need them. Personally, I'd keep the Adobe RGB profile as that's a commonly used color space profile. However, the CMYK profiles are safe to delete, as few people outside of professional printers, have need for CMYK profiles.

How do I convert a PDF to a design? ›

Open the PDF in Acrobat, and then choose Tools > Export PDF. The various formats to which you can export the PDF file are displayed. Click Image and then choose the image file format that you want to save the images in. Choose the format that you want to save the exported images in.

How do I convert a profile to PDF? ›

To save a profile as a PDF from your desktop:
  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click View profile. If you wish to save a LinkedIn member's profile as a PDF file, navigate to their profile.
  3. Click the More button in the introduction section. ...
  4. Select Save to PDF from the dropdown.

What is ICC for sublimation? ›

What is an ICC Profile? An ICC profile is file used to help improve the colour tone and accuracy of sublimation prints. Basically to help produce images that are a good representation of the image or design displayed the computer screen.

Where are Windows ICC profiles stored? ›

Where to Put ICC Profiles
  • Mac OS X. – Library / ColorSync / Profiles – storing profiles here allows all Users to use them. ...
  • Windows 7, Vista and XP. – Windows \ System32 \ Spool \ Drivers \ Color. ...
  • Mac OS 9.x. – System / ColorSync / Profiles.
  • Windows 2000 and NT. – Winnt \ System32 \ Spool \ Drivers \ Color. ...
  • Windows ME and 98.

What is ICM file? ›

What is a ICM file. ICM files can be found on computers running on different operating systems. The file contains information about the color setting of a certain program or hardware device like a printer or scanner. The files helps to match the color options of different programs and devices used on the same computer.

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