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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

Being brought in as early as possible
To ensure a lenticular graphics project comes out well, Big3D tries to work with the client from the beginning of the process. “Not every concept is appropriate,” says Fitzhenry. “It’s best to design for the media to get the most impact out of it. We like to be brought in as early as possible, because there are a lot of choices that can be made that can improve the effectiveness of a project.

“The biggest problem comes when somebody says, ‘I have this flat image, and I want it to be turned into a 3D image,’” he continues. “That’s a challenge, because the ideal file is a layered PS file with as many elements as possible on their own layer. That allows us to place them in depth planes and create a scene around which we can take these different camera views.

“If we’re provided with just a flat image, everything is on one layer,” he continues. “Sometimes you can cut an image apart and put elements on different layers, but it’s very time consuming. You have to fill in the holes behind the things you cut out, and sometimes the final product isn’t worth the effort it would take. We’re not in business to produce disappointing results, so sometimes I’ve advised clients that lenticular may not be the right avenue for them to pursue, and take the time to make sure they understand why. Producing underwhelming lenticular won’t do the industry or our image any good.”

If all this sounds like a challenging market to enter, Fitzhenry would agree. “Many companies have tried to do lenticular, because it is interesting, it’s unique, it’s fun,” he says. “But it’s also technologically challenging, and the road to lenticular printing is littered with many bankrupt companies. It takes a lot of training to get someone to be able to register a lens properly—there’s no manual, it all comes from experience. It’s not something that you can pull someone off the street, give them a couple of weeks of training, and have them be proficient at. The personnel have to know what they’re doing.”

Not that the situation is hopeless. “Some companies do a little bit of lenticular work—they find an area they feel comfortable with, producing smaller pieces,” he says.