Big3D captures depth and animation, along with the viewer's imagination.
By Jake Widman
The Big3D operators then enter the measured frequency of the lens sheet plus other data—for example, the number of separate images in the graphic and the angle of the sheet’s lenticules—into the company’s SuperFlip! software. This software combines the two source images, interlacing a strip from the first image, then a strip from the second image, then a strip from the third image, and so on, basing the size and frequency of the strips on the data input earlier. The result is a single TIFF image of the interlaced strips.
“It’s not as simple as a strip of each under each lenticule,” says Fitzhenry, “and the software’s calculation isn’t always correct. Sometimes we have to tweak the numbers a bit to get the effect to come out right.”
The interlaced TIFF image is printed on photo paper on Big3D’s Océ LightJet printer. “If you looked at the printed piece,” says Fitzhenry, “it would just look like a blur, since the strips are so narrow.” The magic happens when the clear lens sheet is placed over the image, with the lenticules side facing up and the flat back side against the print. “When we place the lens onto the interlaced output, it’s precisely registered by hand to the point where all of the strips of one image are seen from one view, and all of the strips of the second image from another view,” explains Fitzhenry. The result is that, when the viewer stands to one side of the display, they see the full-bottle image, and from the other side, the full-glass photo.
For a morph, the process is similar: The client could supply intermediate images of the bottle going from full to empty. Similarly, the scene could be animated, with multiple images of the bottle being picked up and the beer poured into the glass.
On a 3-D image, on the other hand, “you’re seeing multiple flip views of the same image,” analogous to camera angles, Fitzhenry explains. “The number of views is based on the particular lens being used, the artwork itself, our experience, and on trial and error. On average, a 3-D graphic might involve 20 views, but sometimes having more views makes it more convincing, and sometimes having fewer views does.” Each view or camera angle is saved as a separate file, and the files are interlaced to make a TIFF as with the other effects.