Best Softwares for Sublimation Printing – Free GIMP, Inkscape, Adobe, Pixlr

Sublimation Printing has become a serious business nowadays and it’s high time that you bring your A-game if you want to excel at it. That said, one of the most crucial factors in this type of printing is to produce beautiful and catchy designs. For your needs, we have brought up today the 6 best software for sublimation printing.

Best Softwares for Sublimation Printing - Free GIMP, Inkscape, Adobe, Pixlr

No one is going to like a simple smiley face or some other repeated designs on a shirt no matter how good the print is. To up your graphic designing game and to think out of the box, you will need the best software for sublimation printing.

A photo editing software that has it all can make you at peace and with little effort, you can simply ace the art of making creative designs for your sublimation business. With the experience we have of working in a sublimation factory with our father, we have already worked on dozens of sublimation software.

We have, therefore, compiled a list of the top 6 editing software that would help you create beautiful designs in a single go. Let us have a look at them one by one:

Top 6 Best (Free and Paid) Softwares for Sublimation Printing Compared

1. Adobe Photoshop – #1 Overall Software for Your Photo Editing Needs

Adobe Photoshop

Out of all the software that we used, Adobe Photoshop stands out as one of the best photo editing programs in 2021. Be it sublimation printing, creating beautiful designs, or re-editing different photos, Photoshop does it all in a single go.

Loaded with multiple editing tools as well as plugins, users can utilize this program as per their preferences. You can do a lot more than just re-editing different designs. What’s even more impressive is that you can create beautiful artwork from scratch using Adobe Photoshop only.

From a sublimation perspective, all the designs you create via Photoshop can be saved in high-quality resolution. Hence, you will be getting full HD results while sublimating the designs onto the sub-paper.

For those who don’t know, Photoshop is a paid software and you’ll need to purchase its monthly subscription, which is kinda expensive for beginners.


  • Literally the best software for sublimation printing.
  • Saves designs in full HD or even Ultra HD resolutions.
  • A plethora of editing tools to use.
  • Multiple editing plugins are available.
  • You can learn it within a month only.


  • Photoshop is a paid software from Adobe.
  • Monthly subscription is kinda expensive.

2. Adobe Illustrator – For Vector and Logo Designing

Adobe Illustrator

The sister app of Adobe Photoshop is already making rounds in the sublimation ideas industry.

Illustrator was first designed for Apple products, but Adobe later recognized its potential and released it for Windows operating system as well. Adobe Illustrator focuses more on logo and vector image designing. Graphic designers use this sublimation app primarily to make creative logos or other vector arts for their clients.

On top of that, this application has an interface similar to Adobe Photoshop with some extra tools and plugins. We have used it multiple times to create beautiful logos for different brands that were later used in sublimation printing.

Saving designs in full HD as well as ultra HD resolution, the app also offers compatibility with Inkscape. So, you can import or export different designs from Inkscape and furnish it further in Adobe Illustrator.


  • One of the best vector designing software out there.
  • Makes eye-catchy logos that could be used in sublimation printing.
  • Saves artworks in high-resolution for sublimation design.
  • Easy to use interface.


  • It’s a paid software but the subscription fee is lower than Photoshop.
  • Will take the user some time to get used to it.

3. Adobe Indesign – For Designing Magazine Covers and E-Books

Adobe Indesign

Another sister software of Photoshop and Illustrator with some new editing tools is around the corner.

Yeah, we are talking about Adobe Indesign which could be used to create an eye-catchy sublimation design with a few steps. Featuring a large library of fonts and different languages, Indesign can help users make beautiful posters, magazine covers, and other shapes.

You can also use the Indesign app for photo enhancement purposes or for adding narrow details into an already created design.


  • Large library of fonts and languages available.
  • Ready-made templates are included in some packages.
  • Perfect for designing movie posters that could later be sublimated on shirts.


  • It’s paid software as usual.
  • Not easy to get used to it.

4. GIMP – Best Free Software for Sublimation Printing


Enough with discussing the paid sublimation programs!

Now’s the time that we start talking about some free software to help those who are new to sublimation. GIMP is an open-source program that has an interface just like Adobe Photoshop. It offers multiple editing and enhancement tools to make necessary changes to different designs.

The best thing about GIMP is that it’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Not only that, but it can also import. PSD files from Photoshop or any other software directly. The free sublimation software for Epson printers offers saving images and designs in a high-resolution interface as well.

More than that, GIMP could be used by newbies and beginners as it’s free software and requires no subscription as well.


  • Absolutely free sublimation program.
  • Easy UI and UX just like Photoshop.
  • Does not consume a lot of rams.
  • Multiple fonts and languages are available for use.
  • Easy to create templates for future use.


  • GIMP offers limited plugins compared to Photoshop.
  • No other reason to avoid it.

5. Inkscape


Another free photo editing software, i.e. Inkscape has caught the attention of many sublimation artists who cannot afford paid programs like Photoshop.

Inkscape is also an open-source program and it offers to create beautiful designs and images with a variety of editing tools available. The user interface is smooth and easy. On top of that, you can learn how to use it within a week and get started with making eye-catchy designs for your sublimation project.


  • An open-source photo editor.
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • You can export Inkscape templates to Illustrator directly.


  • Nothing much to hate Inkscape.
  • It’s simply brilliant.

6. Pixlr – Best Free Online Editing Software for Sublimation Printing


The last photo editing software that we recommend for sublimation is Pixlr.

What’s the most impressive thing about Pixlr is that it’s an online program that helps users make awesome artworks for their sublimation projects. You can use it to design posters, and magazine covers, or to re-enhance already existing images and refine them for sublimation printing.

A perfect choice for users who are not using a powerful enough system to run apps like Photoshop or Illustrator.


  • Removes background from images perfectly.
  • No need to install the program as it is online.
  • Easy to use interface.
  • Different logo and artwork templates included.


  • Limited variety of fonts.

How to Choose Free Best Sublimation Software For Beginners?

When it comes to choosing a free sublimation software, the options are surely limited.

You should decide on it according to your needs and requirements. You will get a few preloaded fonts in some programs while limited templates in others. While it’s always a good idea to invest in software like Photoshop, not everyone can afford it.

We will recommend giving the first try to software like Pixlr, Inkscape, GIMP, or Canva and see which one works best for you according to your perquisites.

Canva is a newly trending online software with a plethora of free templates to choose from and work on from. It’s really one of the best free app options you can utilize.

Also, make sure that the software you choose is not too complex while editing different designs and artworks. That’s it. Keep exploring new free programs to see what works well for your sublimation business.

How to Use a Free Software for Sublimation?

We will get started by using Canva.

Go to and Sign Up as a free member either with your Gmail or Facebook account, whatever suits you!

In the dashboard, click on Create Design as shown in the illustration below Choose the design you want to create. We will pick the logo as mentioned below:

A new window will open with all editing tools and plugins from Canva available. Choose any template that looks creative enough.

Do some basic editing according to your needs.

Click on Download and save it anywhere on your computer.

Keep practicing with different templates until you start improving. You can purchase Canva Pro for as little as $12.99 for one month with the first one being absolutely free. So, that’s how you can use free software for sublimation purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Which program is best for sublimation printing?

Adobe Photoshop is undoubtedly the best program for sublimation but it’s a paid one and requires a hefty amount as a monthly subscription. For free programs, you can consider the likes of GIMP, Pixlr, Canva, etc.

2. Can I make sublimation designs on a mobile phone?

Android and iOS phones have got free versions of Photoshop, but you will have to purchase its add-ons. Moreover, Canva also has a free app that you can utilize for creating beautiful logos and posters.

3. Are there any printers with built-in editing software?

Sawgrass SG-500 is a sublimation printer with prebuilt editing software. You can use it for basic editing, but yet again for improved enhancement, you will need a third-party program. Also, check what kind of printer do you need for sublimation

Final Takeaways:

We have talked about the 6 best software for sublimation printing available in 2021. Out of them, the first 3 are paid while the rest are free. We have also discussed choosing free software and demonstrated using Canva for sublimation purposes.

All in all, consider each software according to your needs as well as your sublimation business and get better at the art of creating beautiful and eye-catching designs.

You can also outsource the graphic designing work for your business but that would depend upon your investment. With that being said, do recommend the software you have used recently for sublimation in the comment box so that others can also benefit from them.

Good Luck!!


  • Hello, artists and crafters. Welcome to Our State Of the Art! I am Leo O'Neal. I'm confessing that I am an artist and printing enthusiast. I've been working with my dad in the printing business since my childhood. After spending my whole childhood in the arts, I can easily write and review art, craft, and printing products including sublimation printers, sticker printers, Cricut, vinyl projects. cardstock, Art prints, and many more. From printing t-shirts to tattooing, you'll love the in-depth reviews and how-to tutorials on our blog.