Target Image Printing


Table of Contents



Congratulations! You’ve taken the next step in perfecting your sublimation printing process! Creating a custom ICC profile is the best way to ensure that your printer is creating a print with a quality image. We recommend that you print out the checklist from our Downloads page, to make it easier to complete these steps.

You’ll need to carefully follow the steps outlined in this document to print out our “Target Images” so that the “Target Prints” can be pressed onto your specified blank.  This Target Print is used to create a custom ICC profile which will capture the baseline of your printer’s characteristics along with the ink, paper and substrate, giving you a custom profile.

There are two options for the profiling service:

Option #1: You Press the Target Images onto Blanks

The best results come from you printing and pressing like you would in your normal workflow. You’ll download the files, print them using the instructions supplied and then press them onto your blanks.

Option #2: The Peridot Pig Presses the Target Images onto Blanks

Use this option if you are mainly printing mugs, tumblers, hardboard panels or other odd shapes. We can’t profile on curved surfaces so we use blanks that are close to the profile of mugs and tumblers. You will still download the files and print them using the enclosed instructions.

You MUST follow the steps in this document to avoid problems with the profiling. If you have any questions, please contact us at . We recommend that you print out this document and/or the checklist to ensure you’ve completed all of the steps for proper profiling.

The most difficult part of this process will be to print the Target Image(s) without any color management from your software or printer driver. These distort the results of the printer profiling process. You will also want to have your printer in good working state with the proper drivers before printing.

Before we get started:

  • DO NOT open the Target Images in Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, Aperture, Preview, Gimp, etc. You run the risk of changing the color profiles.
  • Each of the following sections will have a checklist for you to complete. We recommend that you print this document and use it to ensure you complete all the necessary steps.
  • Make sure you have completed the ICC Guide steps from the checklist on our download page.

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Download and Install the Printing Utility

The hardest part of creating a good baseline Target Image, is getting the Color Management software disabled. This is especially hard on a Mac computer. You CANNOT use any software like Photoshop, Gimp or even the Mac Image Viewer to do this reliably. 

The easiest solution is to use the free Adobe Color Printer Utility (APCU) from Adobe’s website or our download page. It does not require that you use Photoshop or any other Adobe products.

Mac Users - Note the Adobe site says that ACPU is no longer supported on MacOS Catalina 10.15 or later but it DOES still work. 

You can also use one of the following applications, which are the ONLY other applications that will work:

Windows Users - Instructions to download and install ACPU:

  1. To install ACPU, download the file
  2. Double click on the .zip file
  3. Choose to extract all the files.
  4. After the extraction is complete, drag the Adobe Color Printer Utility to the “Programs” folder or your preferred folder.

Mac Users - Instructions to download and install ACPU:

  1. To install ACPU, download the appropriate ACPU installation file
  2. Double click on the file to unzip it.
  3. Double click the resulting .dmg file.
  4. If you get a security warning since the file was not downloaded from the App Store, go to your “System Preferences” and select “Security & Privacy”. Under the “General” tab, you should be able to allow the ACPU file to be opened.
  5. Drag the “Adobe Color Printer” file to your “Applications” folder

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Printing Setup

Before you purchase an ICC profiling package, please download the Target Images, and ensure that you’re able to print them correctly.  The Target Images are available for free on our downloads page. Note that the Target Images will vary based on the substrate you are profiling. “Soft” substrates like t-shirt material or fabric will use the Standard Target Images. Gloss and hard substrates like aluminum, ceramic, textured canvas will need the Complex Target Images. Please contact us if you have questions on which images to use.


    Windows Users - Instructions for setting up a test print:

    1. Download the Target Images and unzip the file
    2. Download the Color Printer Test Page (color-printer-test-page.jpg) file and print it using your normal software and settings. Remember to mirror the image
    3. Press the test page onto a piece of white substrate. This will be your “before” image.
    4. Download the Adobe Color Printer Utility (ACPU) and unzip the file
    5. Read the readme file and when ready, double click the .exe file
    6. Select “File” -> “Open…” and choose one of the Target Image .tif files
    7. Click “Open”
    8. The image preview will appear. Select “Print Setup…”
    9. Select the correct orientation (should be “Landscape”). Make sure to select “Letter 8.5” x 11” 22x28cm”.  You may need to adjust the margins if the page does not fit.Select landscape mode in the print setup
    10. Select OK to return to the image preview menu
    11. Then select the “Print…” button and select “Properties…”
    12. Click the “More Options” tab
    13. Under “Color Correction”, select the “Custom” radio button to enable the Advanced options
    14. Select “Advanced…”
    15. On the “Color Correction” menu, select “No Color Adjustment”
    16. Select “OK”
    17. Back on the “More Options” tab, turn off “High Speed” and turn on “Mirror Image”
    18. Save this configuration as a preset, select “Add/Remove Presets…”
    19. Give the preset a name (we used “CustomICCProfile”) and click “Save”
    20. Close the preset menu
    21. You’re now ready to create a test print. Select “OK”

    Mac Users - Instructions for setting up a test print:

    1. Download the Target Images and unzip the file
    2. Download the Color Printer Test Page (color-printer-test-page.jpg) file and print it using your normal software and settings. Remember to mirror the image
    3. Open the Adobe Color Printer Utility (ACPU)
    4. Select “File” -> “Open…” and the first Target Image .tif file
    5. Select “File” -> “Page Setup…” and select the correct orientation (Landscape or Portrait). It should say “Scale” is at 100%. Click “OK”
    6. Select “File” -> “Print…” but don’t press “Print” yet!
    7. Open the “Advance Setting” by clicking the “Show Details” button.
    8. Confirm that you have the correct Printer model selected.
    9. Select each of the center dropdown menus and check the following settings. The names will vary by model, but you should see menus similar to “Layout”, “Print Settings”, “Quality & Media”, “Color Matching”, “Paper Handling”, etc.
      1. SCALE: make sure that the image is printed at 100%. DO NOT select “Expand to Fit” nor “Scale to fit paper size”.
      2. Paper or Media Type: Select the items that you’ll be using with this profile and matches your chosen paper. You must select the appropriate “Media Type” and “Print Quality”
      3. Color Matching: All the options should be grayed out. If your printer model has “Advanced Color Settings”, the “Color Settings” should be grayed out and say “Off (No Color Management)”.
      4. Print Settings: Select “Mirror Image"
    10. Save these settings as a preset and/or write them down. You’ll want to use the same configuration with your new custom ICC profile. These same settings should be used with each of the Target Images.

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    Print a Test Target Image

    You’re now ready to print your first Target Image file. We recommend doing this step before making the purchase. If you have problems with the verification, please contact us before you buy a profiling package.

    1. Print one of the Target Image .tiff files. Make sure the image is mirrored!
    2. Inspect the Pre-Profile Colors using the criteria below:
      1. At the top of each Target Image file, you’ll find the following graphic with color swatches. Inspect each Target Print and Target Image to make sure they are clear and crisp
      2. The colors should be solid and clean with no bars or “pizza wheel” marks
      3. Patch 1 Blue – should be a solid dark blue
      4. Patch 2 Cyan – should be solid cyan with no magenta or yellow dots
      5. Patch 3 Green – should be somewhat dark and not a light green
      6. Patch 4 Yellow – should be solid yellow with no cyan or magenta dots
      7. Patch 5 Orange – should have no cyan dots
      8. Patch 6 Red – should have no cyan dots
      9. Patch 7 Magenta – should be solid magenta with no cyan or yellow dots
      10. Patch 8 Dark Gray – will be slightly lighter than the black
      11. Patch 9 Black – should be solid black
    3. If the colors look correct, then move onto the next section
    4. If the colors do not look correct:
      1. Windows Users – The problem is usually due to Color Management (ICM) being left ON somewhere in the printer driver settings. ACPU (or any other application) cannot turn off Color Management in the print driver, so you must always verify the driver settings to confirm it is OFF
      2. Mac Users – The problem is normally because the AirPrint driver is still being used. If you have an older printer, it might be that color management is still turned on in the print driver. It could also be that the Target Images were opened in Photoshop, Gimp, etc and were converted to a color profile.

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    Purchase the Appropriate Custom Profile Package

    Option #1: You Press the Target Images onto Blanks

    If you have the ability to press the image onto proper sublimation blanks, purchase either the Standard or Complex Profile packages depending on your needs. We recommend that you start with a Standard sublimation ICC profile package. The Standard package will require you to press your Target Images onto pieces of white, 100% polyester fabric. You can provide your own fabric, but it must be 100% polyester without any coating or treatment.  You will need to print the pages on 8.5” by 11” white blanks.


    Option #2: The Peridot Pig Presses the Target Images onto Blanks

    If you are ordering a profile for mugs, tumblers, hardboard or other material that is not 8.5” x 11” in size, allow us to do the pressing. Select one of profiles that includes the material. We will finish the pressing onto the material after you have sent us your Target Images.

    NOTE: Make sure you test print a Target Image before making your purchase!

    NOTE: Make sure you include your email address in your order so that we can send you final instructions and your Custom ICC Profile!

    Visit our website to review the different Custom ICC Profile Packages we offer. Not finding the combination you need? Contact us at .

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    Print the Target Image

    After you have purchased your Custom ICC Profile package, you’ll receive an email with instructions regarding the number of images that will be required to create your ICC profile. Eight Target Images are required for the Standard Profile. Ten Target Images are required for the Complex Profile.

    You’ll want to use the same printer settings that were saved out of the “Setup and Test Print the Target Image” exercise.

    Instructions to print the Target Image:

    1. Download the .zip file specified in your Custom ICC Profile purchase email
    2. Unzip the file and save the image .tif files to a folder that you can locate
    3. Open the Adobe Color Printing Utility (ACPU)
    4. Click “File” -> “Open…” and select the first downloaded file
    5. Verify that the page setup and print setting are still as specified in “Setup and Test Print the Target Image” section
    6. Print the first image
    7. Inspect the pre-profile colors at the top of the page. If they look good, continue with the remaining files in the Target Image package. If the colors do not look correct, revisit the “Setup and Test Print the Target Image” section and confirm all your settings are correct. If all your settings are correct and you are still having issues, read through our Trouble Shooting guide.
    8. Inspect the print to ensure all the color patches are on the page and the image has not been resized
    9. Allow all the Target Images to dry overnight


    Option #1: You Press the Target Images onto Blanks

    You’ll also need a heat press and substrate large enough to press the Target Print. You should use the exact paper, ink, and substrate that you’ll be using in your regular sublimation production process. If you have different sized material or a specialty substrate, please contact us .

    1. After the Target Images are completely dry, press each of the Target Images to the specified substrate using your ink and paper manufacturers recommendations. If you don’t have that information, these are the suggested time, temperature, and pressure settings: 





      100% Poly Fabric

      400° F (204° C)

      50 – 70 sec


      Poly Duck Canvas

      400° F (204° C)

      50 – 70 sec



      400° F (204° C)

      90 sec



      400° F (204° C)

      55 – 70 sec


      Scuba Foam

      400° F (204° C)

      50 - 90 sec



      400° F (204° C)

      6 min


    2. Inspect each print to ensure there are no flaws
    3. Add your name and order number to the Target Prints using a permanent marker making sure not to write on any of the color images.


    Option #2: The Peridot Pig Presses the Target Images onto Blanks

    Make sure you specify your heat press settings on the order form that you’ll send with your Target Images.


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    Instructions to Send the Target Image or the Target Prints

    1. Complete the order form that was included in the download package. Make sure to include your name, email address and order number on the form.
    2. Package your Target Prints along with your order form and send to The Peridot Pig at the following address:
      The Peridot Pig
      Attn: ICC Profiling Department
      11395 Normandy Lane
      Chagrin Falls, OH USA 44023
    3. Make sure you do not write on the Target Print images or put any stickers or labels on the back.
    4. Label the envelope/package with “DO NOT BEND” on the front.
    5. If you are including hardboard, aluminum, or tile panels, make sure they are carefully wrapped and secured from damage. Place plain paper between the prints so that they do not get scratched or damaged during shipment.
    6. Place plain paper between the prints so that they do not get scratched or damaged during shipment.

     We’ll notify you as soon as we receive your shipment. 


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       v01.04 Dec 2021

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