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Leveraging Lenticular

(October 2010) posted on Thu Oct 14, 2010

Big3D captures depth and animation, along with the viewer's imagination.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Jake Widman

A hand production process
Big3D has an Océ LightJet photo printer for its wide-format jobs. “The continuous-tone output that we get from the LightJet is very important—the image quality and vibrancy is an important part of the product we sell. We evaluate other available output technologies on a regular basis, but I don’t believe that at this time there’s any plan for a change. But obviously equipment advances and improves, and we’ll keep our eyes open,” says Fitzhenry.

In addition to the LightJet, Big3D utilizes two lithographic presses (a 5-color KBA Genius 52 UV, and a seven-deck 40-inch Mitsubishi 3F) for smaller-format, high-volume jobs, such as postcards. In these cases, it prints with UV ink right onto the back of the lens sheet and register to the lens by tweaking the paper path through the press. “For lenticular litho printing, after you register the CMYK rosette, you have to register to the lens, to the media itself,” says Fitzhenry. “So you need a press that allows some pretty minute adjustments in order to get the file registered.”

If the company has enough volume to keep two litho presses running, why does it have only one wide-format printer? “The reason is that the production process for wide-format lenticular printing is largely a hand production process,” explains Fitzhenry. “We could have five wide-format printers, but we’re still limited to the speed at which we can register and affix the lens sheets by hand. And you can’t just stockpile a lot of printed interlaced images, because there’s so much technology and math involved in creating the interlaced print file to match the particular lens you’re using. If you work too far ahead of yourself, you may end up trashing a bunch of printed output before you can even add the lens because the math no longer works.”