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Leveling the Lenticular Playing Field

(March 2007) posted on Thu Mar 15, 2007

How five wide-format print providers have upped their game in lenticular.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Kacey King

For an intriguing aquarium project for its offices around the globe, German-based Schreiner Group turned to Total Graphic Solutions, a print provider in Smyrna, GA.

The job was a 3-D backlit aquarium piece designed with pictures of real fish and coral that would be placed in the backs of aquariums in the worldwide offices of the Schreiner’s various headquarter buildings. And it took anything but a direct route to Smyrna: When Schreiner Group queried a European lenticular plastics provider about the project, that company referred Schreiner to Photo Illusion, the lenticular software provider based in Atlanta. Photo Illusion then turned the job over to Total Graphic Solutions.

"We primarily sell our lenticular software to large-format and litho printers," says Wahn Raymer, Photo Illusion president. "But if people call and ask me specifically for something, I’ll do it on a personal level. I’ll let them know how much the software costs, and I’ll let them know how much it costs for us to do it for them."

Photo Illusion received the designed files from Schreiner and converted them into 3-D form using its Power Illusion interlacing software. The software took 17 to 20 layers of Photoshop files and output them as an interlaced TIFF.

"We prepared some anaglyphs (3-D proofs) for Schreiner to view. Once these had been approved, we took them to Total Graphic Solutions and had 10 to 15 of these run."

Total Graphic Solutions used its Inca Columbia digital flatbed inkjet printer with Wasatch RIP to reverse image onto 36 x 48-in. pieces of 15-lpi 3-D lenticular lens material from Microlens.

"Before with lenticular, you would have maybe 50% waste-because you’d have to hand-align an optical lens to a 48 x 60-in. piece, and if you’re off by 1/20-in., keep going down 60 inches, and you’ve screwed up the piece. With the Inca, however, you can print the alignment pattern right on the bed of the press, align the optical lens, vacuum it down, hit ‘go,’ and the machine never deviates. It always hits dead-on every time with virtually no waste," says Raymer.

Once the printing was complete, Total Graphic Solutions used its Seal laminator to put a GBC translucent backing material on the back of the lens. Finished graphics were shipped to Europe to be distributed to Schreiner facilities.