Sublimation printing requires brighter, vibrant and clear results for the best quality end product.
Bright sublimation prints are desirable because they produce vibrant, eye-catching colors that stand out and are more attractive to customers. These colors make the print more appealing and can be used to create bold, striking designs that are easy to spot from a distance.
As sublimation printing is used for a variety of items,from clothing to home decor and personal items like phone cases and mugs, bright colors can make these items more desirable and appealing to customers.
So bright sublimation prints are also crucial for branding and marketing purposes. Bright colors can create a consistent look and feel for a brand, making it more easily recognizable and memorable.
To keep your sublimation prints brighter, you must know what are the common problems that keep these prints dull or faded.
Some Of Common Sublimation Problems And How Can You Avoid Them To Save Your Money
Being a high-tech process, there are quite a few common problems faced during sublimation printing:
- Faded or dull colors: This can be caused by using low-quality sublimation ink, incorrect heat, and pressure settings, or using the wrong type of paper or material for the sublimation process.
- Ink bleeding or smudging: It occurs if the heat press is not set at the correct temperature and pressure, or if the material is not properly aligned on the heat press.
- Uneven or inconsistent print quality: It happens because of dirty or contaminated heat press, incorrect paper or material, or a lack of regular maintenance on the printer.
- Ghosting or shadowing: This can occur if the heat press is not adequately cleaned and debris or residue is left on the heat plate, resulting in a second, faint image on the final print.
- Misaligned print: It appears because of improper loading of the paper or material on the printer, or if the printer is not calibrated correctly.
It’s important to identify and troubleshoot these common sublimation print problems to ensure high-quality prints every time.
What are the major causes of dull and non-vibrant sublimation:
Below are the main reasons of why the sublimation printing doesnot provide bright print:
1. Low-quality sublimation ink: Using sublimation ink that is not of high quality can result in dull or washed-out colors. Sublimation ink plays a crucial role in producing vibrant and accurate colors. Low-quality ink is usually cheaper but has lower color intensity, which leads to dull and pale prints.
2. Incorrect heat and pressure settings: If the heat and pressure settings on the heat press are not properly adjusted, the transfer may not be complete, resulting in a dull print. The pressure and temperature of the gas has to be extremely specific as per the design’s requirement otherwise the print will not be bright. Lower heat would not transfer the design on the surface properly and same goes with the lower pressure.
3. Dirty or contaminated heat press: A dirty or contaminated heat press can also affect the final print quality, resulting in a dull or uneven image. The heat press must be kept clean and free of debris to ensure that the print is smooth and high-quality.
4. Incorrect paper or material: Using the wrong type of paper or material for the sublimation process can also affect the final print quality. Some materials are not compatible with sublimation printing, which can result in dull or poor-quality prints. It’s important to use the correct material and paper for the best results.
5. Outdated or expired ink: Sublimation ink has a shelf life and can expire, which can cause the color to fade or become dull over time. The expiry date must be checked properly before buying the ink because the expired ink would not transfer bright color on the printing surface.
6. Lack of maintenance of the printer: Regular maintenance and cleaning of the printer can ensure the longevity of the print quality and prevent the print from getting dull over time.
Regular cleaning of the print head, replacement of the dampers and continuous ink system (CIS) tanks, and proper handling of the ink cartridges can prevent clogging and prolong the life of the ink.
How to make sublimation print brighter (Step-by-Step-Guide)
Making sublimation prints brighter can be achieved through a few different methods. However, in order to achieve bright and vibrant prints, first we need to understand the reasons why sublimation printings get dull.
Below is the detailed guideline for your reference:
1. Using CMYK and RGB Models properly:
Both the CMYK & RGB models mus be understood properly to enhance the printing brightness.
CMYK is a model in which the colors are created on the printing surface with the mathematical markdown of light’s wavelengths.
RGBis typically used in digital media, such as computer monitors and televisions, and in some digital printing processes, including sublimation printing.
When it comes to sublimation printing, using the RGB color model can produce brighter and more vibrant colors than using the CMYK color model.
This is because the RGB color model has a wider color gamut, meaning it can display a greater range of colors. When you convert an RGB image to CMYK, some of the colors will be lost in the conversion process, resulting in duller and less vibrant prints.
To achieve brighter sublimation prints, it’s important to use the RGB color model and to make sure that the color settings on your printer are set correctly.
2- Setup Of ICC Profiles for vibrant sublimation print:
ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles are used to ensure that colors are displayed and printed consistently across different devices and platforms. To set up ICC profiles for vibrant sublimation printing, you will need to do the following:
- Configure your design software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop) to use the ICC profile. This can typically be done in the color settings or color management section of the software.
- Make sure that the ICC profile is selected in the printer driver settings when you go to print your design.
It’s also important to test your ICC profile and color settings before printing large quantities to make sure that the colors are coming out as you expect.
3- DPI Resolution:
For bright sublimation printing, the recommended DPI resolution is at least 300 dpi. This is because sublimation printing uses heat to transfer dye onto a substrate, and a higher DPI will result in more dots of ink per inch, which will produce a more detailed and vibrant image.
The quality of the ink, the type of substrate, and the calibration of the printer are all important factors that can affect the final print apart from the DPI method.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the resolution of the image or design you are working with must also be at least 300 dpi, otherwise, if the resolution is lower, it will be enlarged to reach 300 dpi and in this process, the image quality will be affected.
4- Use high-quality sublimation ink:
The quality of the ink plays a crucial role in producing vibrant and accurate colors. Invest in high-quality sublimation ink that has a high color intensity, and that is specifically designed for sublimation printing. Avoid low-quality inks that may produce dull or washed-out colors.
5- Adjust the heat and pressure settings on the heat press:
Experiment with different heat and pressure settings to find the optimal settings that produce the brightest print. Higher heat and pressure can increase the vibrancy of the colors.
6- Use a bright white sublimation paper:
Using a high-quality bright white sublimation paper that is especially manufactured for sublimation printing can produce a brighter final print, as it will reflect more light and produce a more vibrant image.
7- Use a bright white sublimation blank:
Using a bright white sublimation blank is also important for better results. Using a darker or colored blank will affect the final print, making it duller. The blank must be of exceptional quality to avoid sublimation dullness.
8- Check and optimize the color profile settings:
Make sure that the color profile settings on your printer are set correctly, to ensure that the colors are printed accurately. Use color management software to create a custom color profile for your printer and ink, and make any necessary adjustments to the color settings.
9- Clean the heat press:
Keep the heat press clean and free of debris to ensure that the print is smooth and of high quality. Clean the heat press, the lower plate, and the area around the press to remove any debris that may have accumulated.
10- Use the correct material and paper:
Use the correct material and paper for the sublimation process to ensure that the colors are vibrant and accurate. Some materials are not compatible with sublimation printing, and using the wrong material or paper can result in dull or poor-quality prints.
11- Check the expiration date of the ink:
Make sure the ink is not expired, expired ink can cause the color to fade or become dull over time.
12- Perform regular maintenance of the printer:
Regular maintenance and cleaning of the printer can ensure the longevity of the print quality and prevent the print from getting dull over time. Clean the print head, replace the dampers and CIS tanks, and properly handle the ink cartridges to prevent clogging and prolong the life of the ink.
By following these steps, you can improve the vibrancy and brightness of your sublimation prints and achieve high-quality, vibrant results every time.
It is also important to keep in mind that to achieve the best results, you should always use the best quality equipment and materials, as well as have a good understanding of the sublimation printing process.
In conclusion, to make sublimation printing brighter, it is important to use the correct ICC profiles. Ensure that the DPI resolution is set at 300 dpi or higher and use high-quality sublimation ink and paper.
Additionally, it is important to test your ICC profile and color settings before printing large quantities, and also to check the expiration date of the ink, expired inks can cause issues with the colors and the print quality.
Can I use regular ink cartridges for sublimation printing?
No, sublimation printing requires special sublimation ink cartridges that are specifically formulated to work with this printing process. Using regular ink cartridges can cause damage to the printer and will not produce the desired colors.
Can I achieve brighter print using any printing paper?
No, sublimation printing requires special sublimation paper that is designed to absorb and hold the sublimation ink. Using regular paper will not produce good results.
Can I use an ICC profile from another printer or substrate for my sublimation printing?
No, ICC profiles are specific to the printer and substrate being used. Using an ICC profile that is not specifically designed for your printer and substrate can result in incorrect colors and poor print quality.
Can I increase the DPI resolution of my printer to make my sublimation prints brighter?
Increasing the DPI resolution of your printer may help to improve print quality, but it is not the only factor that determines print quality. It’s also important to use high-quality sublimation ink and paper, replace cartridges correctly and regularly, and perform regular maintenance on your printer.
Can I print on any surface with sublimation printing?
No, sublimation printing is only suitable for certain types of surfaces, such as polyester fabrics and coated hard substrates like ceramics, metal, and plastic.
Can I use sublimation ink and paper that is not from the same manufacturer as my printer?
It’s always recommended to use sublimation ink and paper that is specifically designed for your printer to ensure the best results and to avoid any damage to your printer. Using non-compatible products can cause issues with the colors and print quality.
Can I fix poor print quality or faded colors by adjusting the settings on my computer?
While adjusting settings on your computer can help to some extent, it’s important to check that you have the correct ICC profile installed, that the DPI resolution is set at 300 dpi or higher, and that you are using high-quality sublimation ink and paper that is compatible with your printer.
In addition, you should check the printer is well maintained and the cartridges are not expired.