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ICC Profiles (Color Correction)

What it does and why you must have it

If great sublimation inks are the "heart" of an inkjet process, ICC profiles are the "brains," and just as necessary as the inks.

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Sublimated Tile using the ICC Profile
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To obtain consistently accurate colors from any dye sublimation ink, some form of color correction must be used. There are many different approaches taken by ink suppliers to obtain decent colors. However, for optimum results, we use the internationally recognized ICC color profiles method.

Without getting overly technical, an ICC profile is basically a custom designed file that you load onto your computer system. This file takes into account the characteristics of the specific ink, paper, printer and program being used. Every time you print from Corel or Photoshop, your printer knows to use this file and therefore prints accurate colors.

This is because your program would think it is printing with regular Epson inks. The ICC profile gives it new instructions. If you don't use our profile, then you must make your own, or the sublimation inks won't print true colors

The graphics programs used with our "SI-PI" ICC Profile

New! - We welcome Nikon View to our list of supported programs. Nikon View comes with Nikon camera's as bundled software and has proven to be as good as the Nikon name. It too has the ability to use the ArTainium ICC profile to correct colors.

Sublimated Tile

With Tropical's award winning "SI-PI" (See It - Print It) ICC color correction profiles you can obtain virtually "what you see is what you get" printing. The profile works with Hanes SublimationMaker 2.0 and up, Corel Draw v9.0 and up, PhotoShop 5 and up, Novelty Pro 7 and up, Novelty 7 and up, Mural 7 and up and any program that is able to set both the working space to "Adobe RGB (1998)" (or "Internal RGB Frasier (1998)") and the print space to the ArTainium ICC.

A decision needs to be made about sub maker 2.0. You may want to call them if you need anymore updates or data. If we are not going to offer it we need to get off the pot and delete it. It will affect sales and as we know, Novelty is nothing to brag about either but the choice is yours. Just do it.

Important Notes - CorelDraw 8 and down, Photoshop LE, Elements, 2.0 version 4 and down, or any version that comes with a printer, may not work correctly. Your colors may come out wrong! (these programs do not allow you to set the working space) Other graphics programs cannot be used, unless you export your image into a supported program for printing. More Information

UniSub® coasters

We know not everyone has or knows how to use these programs, but they are necessary. Unfortunately, a profile cannot be offered

for every graphics program and many cannot read ICC profiles anyway. More Information

What many do however (including us), is to create their artwork in a different program and then copy and paste it onto a blank page in Corel or Adobe, to print it. This is a very workable solution. When you print, just make sure your graphics and pictures are printing with RGB values.

Which printers, inks and profiles work together

Profiles for ArTainium inks are offered for the current Epson printers: 4800, 1400, R1800 and C88+. Older Epson printers include: Ricoh SG 3110DN, Ricoh SG 7100DN, Ricoh GXe7700DN, Ricoh GX7000, Ricoh GXe3300, WorkForce30, WorkForce1100, WorkForce7010, C120, R1900, R1800, 1400, C88+, 4880, 1280, C88, C86, C84, C82, 900(4 color), 900(6 color), 980, 3000, 4000, 4800, 4880, 7600, 7700, 9700 printers. No other desktop printers may be used.

The Tropical ICC profiles allow you to print predictable colors, without color replacement. By using one of the printer/graphics possibilities listed above, even a novice can expect to easily get excellent (and saleable) printed images on their products.

After purchasing your ICC profile, you will receive it, and detailed installation instructions, by e-mail.

Having realistic expectations.

Sublimated Tile

With the profile, the sublimated image will look very close to what is on your screen…most of the time. If your eyes can count the hairs on a fly's leg across the room, see a half percent difference in color shade and you demand absolute perfection, don't get into sublimation. Stick to "National Geographic" type photography and use a Heidelberg printing press.

Why do we sound like we are "hedging" the previous glowing words? The reason is, because we are honest, and want to help you have fun (and profit), with realistic expectations.

ArTainiumTrademark UV+ inks are terrific, and the profiles that go along with it produce top-level color transfer reproductions. This still does not make it (or any other process for that matter) "touch-of-the-finger" perfect, every time.

Many factors interfere with the look of absolute perfection. Here are some examples.

  • Human eyes are different and therefore see color different. Our color consultant, for example, has a conniption fit over color variances that 99% of us can't even see.

  • The type of material and shade of white, changes how your eyes see and interpret color. The same print on white plastic, fabric and ceramic will look different. The same holds true for a slightly different shade of white, on the same material.

  • Believe it or not, humidity in your paper will also greatly affect your transferred image. Guard against humidity, as best you can. For example, never store your transfer paper on the floor or leave it in the printer, after printing.

  • Sublimated images from scanned photographs are copies of copies. By themselves, they seldom look exactly like the original. The better quality scanners do a better job, and some skills in Adobe PhotoShop are most helpful, in some needed spot color corrections. Even pros have to do it occasionally.

  • It is even helpful to remember that you are reproducing prints with relatively inexpensive equipment. It really does a great job, but it is not a "zillion dollar" Heidelburg printing press (and even they have to be color managed).
UniSub® tiles in stand

We share the above examples to be fair to you and us both. We have never talked to anyone who didn't want to produce good quality. However, you will have a lot more fun (and make much more money) if you realize that it is not necessary to worry about producing original "Rembrandts," to keep your customers happy. Also, remember that the better you know your graphics program, the easier and better your results will be.

This is very important to remember - There is no ink or method that will let you print a good picture from a bad one, without adjusting the picture. Just because you can't see the flaws on your monitor, doesn't mean they are not there. A printer cannot "see" what is on your monitor. It prints using information your graphics program sends to it about the image.

The old saying, "Garbage In, Garbage Out" is true about information…and graphics.

Realistic expectations help us some also, by eliminating a few complaints that start off like,
"Something is wrong with your inks. The print I just put on an ash gray T-shirt doesn't look like the same one I put on a white shirt." Happy!

Hang in there with us. You are almost finished, but we need to go look at inkjet sublimation printing paper. It's very important!
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Updated: 6/10/2011
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