Sublimation printer settings and manual color correction (2023)

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SublimationDruckerSettings is something I get asked a lot! Everyone seems to want to know something about sublimation color correction. I'll do it a little differently this time. i have a pastPost where I talked about color correction and ICC profiles, and I get so many comments from people who struggle with color and its sublimationDrucker. You really don't understand the print settings. You don't understand how to fix it. I'm here today to help. We're going to talk about manual color correction in your print settings and hopefully this will help you fix those colors for good!

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Table of contents

sublimation printer settings

You can click on the video below and see what I do to get my sublimation printer settings. Then you can try to find these on your own computer to dial in what works best for your situation.

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(Video) Sublimation Printer Settings and Manual Color Correction

Can't watch the video or miss some information? You can also follow below.

Consumables used

PC vs Mac

I will use a PC for the following information. I'm assuming the Mac settings are similar, but I don't have one to show you. Also, I can't answer questions about how to do this on a Mac. Hopefully this gives you the information you need to do a manual color correction and experiment with your colors.

Why do you need color correction?

What happens when you upgrade an Epson EcoTank printer? The printer itself is set to use inks for inkjet printing. We are converting this to a sublimation ink sublimation printer which may not print the colors as you would like due to the different inks. With these converted printers, sometimes you need to do color correction. An easy way to do this is to go to your ink manufacturer, get a customized ICC profile for your printer paper or combination and use that. Sometimes it looks great and sometimes it doesn't. If your colors are still off, read on for another option!

Problems finding printer settings

If you just open an image on a PC, it will most likely open in something like Photos. When I go to print in this program, there aren't many options. If you see a screen that looks like the one below and you can't find all the settings, you'll need to look for another program to open your images. To do this, you can right-click any image and click "Open With" to find other programs that will open images that are on your PC. A program that is present on almost every PC is Paint and you can set all the settings that I will show in Paint. I will illustrate the process in both Word and Cricut Design Space as these are common programs people use to print sublimation designs.

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Using Word for sublimation printing

To print from Word, open a blank document and click Insert, then choose Picture from this device. Find the picture you want to print and insert. I usually right click on the image, do "wrapped text" and do "before text".

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Then grab the corner of the picture and you can resize it. If you want the exact size, you can put it in the corner. I made this example 5 x 5 inches. Then click File and Print. Once you click "File" and "Print" you should see something like the image below. Select your sublimation printer and click "Printer properties".

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Printer settings in Word

This is the screen you want to see when you print with your sublimation printer to get the settings that we are going to talk about. First thing I would like you to do is switch the paper to premium presentation paper matte. If you can't find that exact setting, a different setting for matte paper is fine. Make sure you change the quality to high and you should always print in color. Two-sided printing should be disabled. If you are using letter-size paper, it should be 8.5 x 11. Then click More options at the top.

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Here make sure that the high speed is not activated and that the mirror is activated.

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Manual color correction for sublimation

Now we will do a manual color correction. Under Color Correction, switch to Custom, and then click Advanced. From here we click on “Color Control”.

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Make sure the color mode is set to "Adobe RGB" and gamma to 2.2. At this point, the choice is entirely yours. You can change brightness, contrast, saturation and density. You can also change the color yourself. The color itself is a little easier to change if you click on "Sliders". Now you can shift the colors up and down from cyan to magenta to yellow to get more or less of these hues in your print. This will help you set those colors without requiring an ICC profile. If you feel that your print is pretty good but you would like a little more or less red in your print, you can use this slider to add or subtract and then do a test print.

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How to create a preset for a sublimation printer

Adjust each of the settings as you like, then click OK. Now you can make a preset. That means you don't have to do this every time! After adding the preset, from now on you can select it and print it in seconds. Click Add or Remove Presets, name them whatever you want, and click Save. From now on, when I print, I just have to make sure the preset is selected if I like the results. You would have to experiment with these color settings, get what you want, create yourself a preset, and then use that every time to print with your sublimation printer. The beauty of this is that you can create more than one preset. Customize each one to be exactly what you want for different types of sublimation printing. Maybe one color combination looks good on fabric and another on mugs. You can make two different ones with this method.

NOTE: Wherever you have this screen, you can set a preset. It doesn't have to be Microsoft Word. These include Paint and Cricut Design Space. There are many free options to print your sublimation designs and set those presets.

Using Cricut Design Space for sublimation printing

In Cricut Design Space, you want to upload your image and add it to the canvas. Then you would resize it to whatever you wanted. You must ensure that a machine is selected that will do the printing and cutting, i.e. a Maker 3, Explore 3, Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Family. Click on "do". Since we're mirroring within our settings, we don't need to mirror here. Just click Next.

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Click Send to Printer. Select your sublimation printer, turn off the bleed, then click Use System Dialog, then click Print. NOTE: Currently, Design Space does not preview correctly, but prints correctly.

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The same screen I showed for Word above will appear. Select your sublimation printer and then go to settings. Now that you have created a preset you can select it or create a new one as shown above.

Using PhotoShop for sublimation printing

Open the file in Photoshop, then click File and Print. If you want to use manual color correction, I make sure you select "Printer manages color". Then go to "Printing Preferences" and the same window I showed above will open. You can choose a preset if you've created one, or create a new one using the instructions above. Click 'Okay' and then click 'Print' once you have made your settings.

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Changing the settings of your sublimation printer

If this is your first time using this in your printer, add paper and it will tell you on screen the paper settings of the printer itself. Mine says plain paper and I want to change that to the matte paper setting. Click "Change" on the screen, then scroll through the settings. Choose letter-size paper and high-quality matte paper. Then select “Okay” twice to confirm. Now my settings on my printer as well as the settings on my computer have been changed. You can do this when you load the paper into your printer or when you go to print. The printer should remember this unless you need to change it again.

How to test colors

I like to test my colors with a color chat. The color chart I like to use to test my colors is You can print it with any ICC profile or manual color corrections you make to see the difference it makes on your colors. Remember that testing isn't just printed on paper. You should press it onto a 100% polyester cloth to actually see the colors.

Preheat your cloth, make sure you get all the moisture out, roll it up well and then press on the color chart you are printing. This way you can see what your colors will look like when you press them. What you print is not necessarily what you get when you print. Grab a 100% polyester cloth and start sublimating these color charts to see the difference it can make.

sample tests

Let's look at some sample colors I printed. The middle one is with my printer only - no color correction at all. The bottom features my custom ICC profile of Hippo. The tip is when I played around with these manual settings a bit to see what would happen. I can definitely see a personality difference between them. This is a great way to determine what you want to use. As you'll notice on the top, I've increased my brightness a lot and I've actually lost some of the lighter colors. This will help you set your preferences.

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This is what you need to do to dial in your manual color correction. Print, then slowly make changes until you get something you're happy with. Again, you may find different presets that work for different types of sublimation, but this is a great way to set those colors manually if you can't find an ICC profile that works, or an ICC profile that you like. Since this is a hex color code chart you can find the hex number and change the colors in something like Photoshop on a variety of prints. For photos though, you just want to dial it in as close as possible and use that preset for all your photo sublimation.

Where do I start with color correction?

Now you have the option to manually correct your colors and hopefully adjust them a bit to what you prefer for sublimation. It will take some trial and error - I won't lie. This is not a perfect process. I can't tell you exactly what to set your printer for. Feel free to move these sliders around a bit and test what happens. You can also try the valueshere from my friend Cheryl over at That's What Che Saidto get a starting point.

I think you'll really love this once you find a preset that works for you and your particular printer. I don't think every printer will be the same. Maybe you have the exact same printer as me, but yours doesn't work like mine. Happens. Just because my printer works great with the Hippo profile doesn't mean it's for everyone. You really just have to adjust these to suit your printer and situation, but I think you'll find that manual color correction will get you the color profile you love.

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