The Sublimation Process

About The Sublimation Process

The Heed Group IncFine art photo printing on metal or what is known as Metal Prints, is a relatively new industry. So what are metal prints? Simply put, Metal Prints are images printed on Aluminum. But it is vastly more complicated than that. The secret is how the printing is done. Most photo prints are simply ink jet printers on a piece of canvas or other paper material. That material fades, cannot be cleaned easily and of course must be framed. Fine art metal printing uses a technique called dye sublimation. Dye sublimation means that inks are turned into a vapor or gas, before they turn into a liquid. Let’s walk through the process of how we make an HD fine metal print.

Step 1

We look at your image on screen and make slight adjustments to the image so that what you see on your screen is what you will get when the metal print is made. Our studio technicians are experts at color manipulation. Too much adjustment and the print will be over-saturated and too little the image will wash out.

Step 2

We proof every image that comes in our studio. That means we make, at a minimum, two metal prints in a small format before we make the final fine art metal print. We do this to assure that the final metal print image will be just like what you saw at home and through the lens. We do this because our total satisfaction guarantee means that if you are not satisfied, we will make it right. The time up front helps assure we will get it right the first time. The adage, “measure twice, cut once” means something to us.

We make two proofs because one is a metal print of the overall image and the other metal print is a close-up at scale. If you want to see your metal print proof, we will gladly mail it to you for your approval for a small fee. If you want to speak with one of our Studio Technicians and fine tune your print, we are happy to do that as well.

Step 3

Once everyone is satisfied with the metal print proof, we print the image on a special sublimation paper with special sublimation inks in a extraordinary printer that applies X million of drops of ink per second. We then inspect the paper image for any issues.

Step 4

We cut the aluminum to the size you requested and we thoroughly clean it.

Step 5

We take the special paper and apply it to the metal.

Step 6

We put the metal and paper into the world’s largest and most sophisticated metal printing press. We assure a consistent temperature across the surface and under a proprietary time, heat and pressure combination, those special inks turn into a gas (they sublimate) and are magically transported under the specially coated aluminum surface—yes the ink is not on top, but is under the surface. This is why metal prints are the longest lasting photo medium—they outlast paper prints under glass by over 60 years.

Step 7

We inspect the print for defects. If we find one, we start over.

Step 8

We frame your fine art metal print and add either a wire mount or our secure mount hardware.

Step 9

We package your print with a cleaning cloth and ship it to you.

As you can tell, our HD fine metal prints are simply the finest metal prints you can buy. We take fine art metal printing to a whole new level with our exclusive state-of-the-art sublimation process. When you want high quality metal prints, we are the best company to choose. It is part art and science. We make more than metal prints—we make HD fine metal prints. It arrives, framed and ready to hang out of the box. Of course if you just want the print (unframed), we can do that as well.

98% of our metal prints ship in 7 days or less. And when you get an HD fine metal print, you can rest assured, if you are not happy, we will make it right. Our Total Satisfaction guarantee gives you the peace of mind that that our fine art metal printing system is unequaled for consistent reproduction quality.