Direct-to-Film (DTF) printing has revolutionized the way that designs are printed on garments by providing an affordable and efficient alternative to conventional printing methods. DTF printing is a popular option for small and medium-sized firms in the apparel sector. It provides a high degree of detail and color brightness. However, it’s crucial to understand DTF color settings and how they affect the end result in order to produce high-quality DTF prints. Customizing DTF color parameters may improve print quality. In this post, we’ll examine the significance of color settings for DTF printing. We will also provide advice on how to make the most of them for the best outcomes.

dtf color settings

Understanding Color Modes and Color Spaces

Achieving high-quality DTF prints requires an understanding of color modes and color spaces. Color space is the spectrum of colors that are accessible inside a certain color mode. This color space is referred to as the process utilized to generate colors. The three primary color settings for DTF printing are RGB, CMYK, and LAB.


The additive color mode RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is used for digital displays and is the default color mode for the majority of design tools. We combine Red, green, and blue light in the RGB color space in variable intensities to produce colors. For designs that are intended to be shown on displays, RGB is the chosen color mode.


We use a subtractive color mode called CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) in printing to produce colors by deducting various amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink from white paper. The recommended color mode for printed designs, including DTF printing, is CMYK.


LAB is a great option for color correction and picture processing since it is a device-independent color mode that isolates color information from color space. Although we do not use LAB frequently in DTF printing, it can be advantageous for improving color accuracy during the design phase.

See the DTF color chart here.

Color Spaces

In addition to color modes, color spaces define the range of colors that can be reproduced within a particular color mode. Common color spaces used in DTF printing include sRGB, Adobe RGB, and ProPhoto RGB.

The most frequently used color space, sRGB, serves as the default for the majority of digital displays. It is an excellent option for designs that will be displayed on screens because of its very small color gamut.

When working with high-quality images, designers and photographers frequently use Adobe RGB, which has a wider color gamut than sRGB. It is a good choice for designs that will be printed, including DTF prints.

Professional photographers and designers that need the greatest degree of color accuracy often utilize ProPhoto RGB. It has the broadest color range of all the color spaces. Due to the limited selection of DTF printers, it may not be appropriate for all DTF printing applications.

Setting up DTF Color Settings in Photoshop

Credits: @PrintomizeAmerica
  1. Open Photoshop and go to Edit > Color Settings.
  2. In the Color Settings dialog box, choose the appropriate color settings for your DTF printer. The recommended settings for DTF printing are:
  • Color Management: Enabled
  • Engine: Adobe (ACE)
  • Intent: Relative Colorimetric
  • Use Black Point Compensation: Checked
  • Profile Mismatches: Ask When Opening
  • Missing Profiles: Ask When Opening
  • Conversion Options: Use Black Point Compensation
  1. Under Working Spaces, set RGB to Adobe RGB and CMYK to your DTF printer’s color profile. You can select your printer’s color profile from the list of available profiles. Click on the Load button to browse for the profile on your computer.
  2. Under Color Management Policies, set all the options to Preserve Embedded Profiles.
  3. Click on Save and name your color settings profile for future use.
  4. Ensure that your DTF printer is calibrated properly before printing.

Setting up DTF Color Settings in Illustrator

Credits: @signtradeinternational4137
  1. Open Illustrator and go to Edit > Color Settings.
  2. In the Color Settings dialog box, choose the appropriate color settings for your DTF printer. The recommended settings for DTF printing are:
  • Settings: North America Prepress 2
  • Color Management Offsets: Leave as Default
  • Color Management Policies: Preserve Embedded Profiles
  1. Under Working Spaces, set RGB to Adobe RGB and CMYK to your DTF printer’s color profile. You can select your printer’s color profile from the list of available profiles or click on the Load button to browse for the profile on your computer.
  2. Under Conversion Options, set Engine to Adobe (ACE) and Intent to Relative Colorimetric. Check the box for Use Black Point Compensation.
  3. Click on Save and name your color settings profile for future use.
  4. Ensure that your DTF printer is calibrated properly before printing.

Tips for Achieving Better DTF Prints

Achieving high-quality DTF prints requires attention to detail and careful consideration of several factors. The following advice can help you get better DTF prints:

  • Use high-quality designs since they will determine how well your DTF prints turn out. Be careful to properly optimize your designs for DTF printing and to use high-resolution files.
  • Select the proper color settings: To ensure accurate and vibrant colors, use Photoshop’s or Illustrator’s DTF printer’s recommended color settings.
  • Calibrate your DTF printer: A proper calibration of your DTF printer is essential to obtaining accurate and consistent color reproduction. Make sure to adhere to the calibration guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
  • Select the appropriate transfer film: Use DTF transfer film of the highest quality that is compatible with your DTF printer and ink. Your prints’ quality may suffer if you use cheap or inferior transfer film.
  • Print on a smooth, clean surface: Ensure that the surface you are printing on is smooth and dirt-free. Additionally, a smooth surface will ensure that your print adheres correctly and appears sharp.
  • Follow proper curing and washing instructions: To get rich, long-lasting colors from your DTF prints, you must cure and wash them properly. To get the best results, adhere to the curing and cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

By following these tips, you can achieve better DTF prints with accurate and vibrant colors, ensuring that your designs look their best.

Does DTF print white?

Yes, DTF printing can print white ink. In fact, white ink printing on dark or colorful substrates is a specialty of DTF printing. This is because DTF printers print a white underbase layer first, followed by the colored ink layers. The white underbase layer keeps colors bright, particularly on darker substrates.

Compared to colorful inks, white ink used in DTF printing is often thicker and more opaque. This is necessary in order to ensure that the colored inks cling to a strong surface and that the colors seem brilliant and vibrant. DTF printers are able to print with a variety of speciality inks in addition to white ink, including metallic and fluorescent inks, giving designers and printers even more creative freedom.

Color depth setting on or off?

The color depth setting in DTF printing describes how many bits are used to represent each color channel in the picture. The higher the color depth, the more colors and shades of color can be represented, resulting in a more accurate and detailed image.

For DTF printing, it is often advised to utilize a color depth of at least 8 bits each channel (total: 24 bits), since this ensures that the colors are adequately represented and provide enough information for the design.

In most circumstances, it is best to leave the color depth option at “on” in order to produce the best possible image. It’s crucial to remember that a greater color depth will lead to bigger files and more time spent processing. Therefore, you might need to think about lowering the color depth to a lower setting if you’re working with a particularly large file or have a limited amount of processing power. But generally speaking, it is advised to leave the color depth setting “on” for the highest quality DTF prints.

DTF white ink settings

Credits: @AAPrintSupplyCo

The amount of white ink that is applied to the transfer film depends on the white ink density. This setting can affect the opacity and brightness of the white ink. A brighter and more opaque white will emerge from a higher density setting, but it may also require more ink and lengthen print times. It’s crucial to change this option to suit the demands of your design.

White ink limit

The quantity of white ink that can be printed in a single pass is limited by the white ink limit. The excessive ink accumulation that might cause clogging or other printing problems we can avoid with the aid of this setting. It is important to find the right mix between white ink density and limit. This ensure that your prints have a bright, lively white without any printing problems.

White ink underbase

DTF printing employs a white underbase layer to make colors vivid and accurate, particularly on darker substrates. The amount of white ink utilized for this layer depends on the white ink underbase setting. In order to make sure that the colors print accurately and seem bright, it is crucial to modify this option depending on the color of the substrate you are printing on.

Curing of the white ink: For brilliant, long-lasting colors, the white ink must be properly cured. When utilizing a heat press or other specialist machinery to cure the white ink, it is crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

DTF Printer not printing white

There could be a number of factors why your DTF printer is not printing white ink properly:

  • Blockage or clogging: White ink tends to be thicker and more viscous than colored inks, which may sometimes cause blockages or clogs in the print head or ink lines of the printer. To clear any obstructions and ensure correct ink flow in this situation, you may need to clean the printer’s ink lines or print head.
  • Incorrect ink settings: Ensure that the printer’s white ink settings are correctly configured, including the white ink density, limit, and underbase settings. Ensure that these parameters are ideal for the printing medium and the print job.
  • Inadequate curing: If the white ink is not adequately cured, it may not cling to the substrate as intended. It may seem faded or dull. Ensure that you are using the right curing tools and that you are utilizing the manufacturer’s directions for curing the white ink.
  • Make sure you’re using superior white ink that has been specially formulated for DTF printing. Poor-quality ink can result in clogging, poor adhesion, or inconsistent printing.
  • Mechanical problems: If none of the aforementioned fixes work, your printer may have a mechanical problem that prevents it from producing white ink correctly. To identify and resolve the problem in this instance, you may need to contact the manufacturer or a qualified technician.

Conclusion | DTF color settings

DTF printing provides a broad range of color possibilities and great print quality on a number of substrates, making it a flexible and affordable printing technology. However, paying close attention to every little detail and setting up and calibrating your printing equipment correctly are necessary. It helps you achieve the best color accuracy and consistency in DTF printing.

You can streamline your DTF printing process to ensure accurate and consistent color reproduction by knowing color modes, color spaces, and color depth settings. Additionally, you can overcome common obstacles and get excellent results with this fascinating and innovative printing technique. You can do so by correctly configuring your DTF printer’s white ink settings and adhering to best practices for producing better DTF prints.

Learning the ins and outs of DTF color settings will help you get the best results and realize the full potential of this formidable printing technology, whether you are new to DTF printing or want to enhance your current process.


What color mode and color space should I use for DTF printing?

DTF printing is compatible with both CMYK and RGB color modes. Use a color space that is appropriate for the surface you are printing on for the best results, and make sure your color settings are calibrated.

Does DTF printing use white ink?

To achieve precise color reproduction and visibility on dark or colorful surfaces, DTF printing often uses white ink.

What typical problems does DTF printing face?

Some common challenges in DTF printing include achieving accurate color reproduction, ensuring proper white ink coverage, and avoiding color bleed or smudging.

How do I make my DTF prints seem better?

Consider adjusting your color settings, using premium inks and substrates, correctly calibrating your printer, and adhering to best practices for DTF printing procedures to get superior DTF prints.

Can I create spot colors in DTF printing?

Yes, you can create spot colors in DTF printing by creating a new spot color swatch in your design software and assigning it to the appropriate elements in your design.

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