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chris dean
March 6th, 2007, 10:13 AM
Lenticular Photography

In response to an earlier request by Ray I will outline the process for making a lenticular image. The lenticular process produces an image that can portray depth (like a hologram) or motion. . . or both. Most commonly you will see lenticular images on DVD cases, Mouse Pads. . . as posters in airports and a variety of commercial applications. It is a tremendously rich medium to explore artistically, and underutilized. It can be much more than a gimmicky trick.

The process for making a 3 dimensional lenticular image is a multi stage endeavor. The photographic part of the process involves shooting a subject from distinct, incremental positions along a single axis. You can do this inexpensively with a still subject by placing your camera on one of many commonly available camera slides. Here is a photo of my 5 camera setup:

http://www.chrisdean.com/chris_dean_01.JPG

Deciding how far the spread should be between the left and right views, or the "stereo base" can be based on a number of factors best left for another discussion. Once you have your sequence, 12-36 images typically depending on the lenticular material you are using, you are ready to do some post editing in photoshop. I generally throw all of the images into a multi layer photoshop file and select a single part of each photo to be the Zero Point. . . . the point of convergence. Everything in front of this point will project into the room, everything behind will recede into the wall. These files are then cropped and saved individually and fed into a special piece of software that interlaces them into a single image. You can see a cropped detail of what this looks like in the image below.

http://www.chrisdean.com/interlaced.jpg

Once you have interlaced the image you need to print it. There are a variety of factors that must be considered in this respect, not the least of which is what kind of printer you are using. I use an Epson 9600 which is optimal in many respects for this process. There is a calibration stage that must be performed to make sure the printer and the material are working together. This is crucial, tolerances are to the 1/100 of an inch or greater. The printed image must be face mounted to the lenticular plastic as the final step. An optically clear sheet adhesive is first applied to the lenticular plastic, the image is carefully aligned to the material, and it is fed through the cold pressure laminator while the release liner is removed. The final image is then trimmed to the selected size.

I am a fan of stereo images, and photographic processes that bring something extra to the table. Again, not as gimmick, but as a range of experience. The lenticular process is so cool because unlike Anaglyph or IMAX of other methods for creating stereo images, lenticular images are auto-stereoscopic. There is no additional hardware necessary for the viewer. And they can do motion! That is a whole 'nother discussion.

Thanks for letting me share.

Ray West
March 6th, 2007, 02:31 PM
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the explanation. I guess the lenticular sheet has different profile lenses, depending on the viewing distance, and possibly depending on if 3d or movement effect required. I couldn't find a supplier of the sheet, just print houses in the UK. Do you know anyone in USA who may export?

Best wishes,

Ray

Asher Kelman
March 6th, 2007, 06:13 PM
Thanks Chris for sharing. Amazingly simple setup. I'm impressed.

Would love to see the real thing.

Asher

chris dean
March 6th, 2007, 07:37 PM
There are a few suppliers of the material worldwide. One of the best is microlens. (http://www.microlens.com/) You might also check out New Systems Group (http://www.newsystems.com.hk/lenticular/en/index.html) in China. With regard to the camera setup, it is overly simple. In fact you can't create good 3 dimensional images with only 5 cameras, so there is more post processing that needs to happen after the images are taken. That is why unless you are shooting action shots, a camera and a slide bar are probably best for this kind of thing.