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Is Lenticular in Your Future?

(January 2006) posted on Thu Jan 05, 2006

New software from HumanEyes turns 2D images into 3D

click an image below to view slideshow

By Stephen Beals

Lenticular printing"?3D output achieved by using a special
plastic lens material"?has been around for a while, of course.
But working with the technology has always been somewhat
complex, reaped relatively low profit margins, and typically has
been pursued by lenticular specialists.

In the last few years, however, the cost of getting into the
business, and the ease of creating the prints themselves, has
eased dramatically, changing the landscape of who can get in on
the ground floor of the technology. Now, not only can 3D imaging
make a big splash for viewers, but the profit margins for very
short-run P-O-P and other
digital-print applications
also can be substantial.

One company that has
helped shape these lenticular
trends is HumanEyes. at
Print 05, in Chicago, the company
showcased its original
HumanEyes3D software
(which was shown at Graph
Expo last year), and also
previewed its new 2D-to-3D
technology. The HumanEyes
3D product allows for the
creation of natural panoramic 3D images with a single standard
digital camera (and also provides the ability to re-use the same
shot for multiple applications for print or display). Plus, it "builds"
the lenticular knowledge into the software, so that the process is
automated. For example, the software's calibration strip gives you
immediate feedback as to whether or not the image matches the
lens pitch"?and if it's off, it tells you what to do about it.

In addition, the new 2D-to-3D technology is capable of taking
any standard 2D image and converting it to a 3D image suitable
for output in the same manner and with the same basic
effect as images created from a stereo-camera process.

How it works

To produce 3D images via HumanEyes' software, here's how
the process works. For 3D imaging, the user places a standard,
high-quality digital still camera on a panning arm. Images are
then shot at about 1-degree increments. These increments
need not be precise, and it's possible to create the final 3D
images without using all of the shots taken. The HumanEyes
software then analyzes the various images and "interlaces"
them into a single image.