Big3D captures depth and animation, along with the viewer's imagination.
By Jake Widman
Flipping through multiple images enables a lenticular graphic to create a morph, a zoom, or an animation. A morph uses multiple images, but rather than having the images be disconnected, separate subjects, they show one image slowly transforming into another—imagine a movie poster with the hero turning into a vampire. Similarly, the multiple images can show increasingly close-up views of a subject, creating a zoom effect, like a car coming toward the viewer. And an animation uses multiple images of a scene to show a short flipbook-like movie.
Most complicated is a 3-D graphic. These rely on multiple views of the same image to separate the foreground, midground, and background planes of an image. This enables it to present the viewer with the illusion that some elements of the image are in front of other elements.
Creating lenticular images is not a push-button process; it requires mathematical calculations to create the graphic and precise placement of the lens sheet to make the illusion work. A look at some possible applications will illustrate just how complicated the procedure can be.
Let’s start with a simple two-flip for a point-of-purchase display—say a poster that shows one image of a cold, full bottle of beer with the cap on and another of the empty bottle sitting on a table next to a full glass. The process begins with the client supplying both images to Big3D.
Prior to every job, Big3D does “pitch tests” of its lens sheets in order to determine the exact frequency of the lenticules. Similar to calibration, the pitch tests involve printing a test pattern and then laying the lens sheet over it; the interaction of the test pattern and the lenticules reveals the exact frequency of the sheet. A common lens sheet used with large-format output might have around 15 lenticules per inch.