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New Dimensions in Graphics: A Look at Lenticular Displays

(February 2012) posted on Wed Feb 08, 2012

This article demystifies the process of producing lenticular designs and describes how modern imaging technology simplifies the associated workflow.


By Jeff Miller

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The cutting edge of visual technology is once again centered on 3D, and it looks like it is here to stay. Consumers are excited by 3D, as we’ve seen with the recent box office success of 3D movies and the explosion of 3D television programming. Add to that video gaming, consumer video and still cameras, and smart phones, and you have a trend with no apparent end. Naturally, designers and brands want to exploit 3D technology for print campaigns, too.

Lenticular 3D printing is not new, but in the past it could be a difficult medium to master—and certainly took many printers out of their comfort zones. But the technology in the digital-imaging arena has continued to improve and, as a result, we have new tools that generate high-quality 3D lenticular prints quicker and easier than ever before. The appeal of 3D, coupled with clean workflows and superior print output, means a highly profitable product.

Potentially lucrative applications for lenticular graphics include wide-format signage, P-O-P and P-O-S displays, environmental and architectural installations, vending machines and ATMs, backlit displays (Figure 1), wayfinding signage, and more. For those of you considering lenticular printing as a product offering, let’s take a quick look at the workflow and equipment to be considered for high quality lenticular production.

Design
To get started, you need the proper equipment and qualified production staff. But the most important component for premium 3D lenticular printing is the quality of the content and design. When a designer nails content and layout, the wow factor is undeniable (Figure 2). Viewers are simply delighted. Viewers linger over 3D lenticular prints. They comment on them and pass them around to their friends. There simply isn’t anything in the print world that gets that kind of reaction.

Good design strengthens the 3D illusion, and great design can cause viewers to try to actually reach into a 3D print. However, designers who are new to lenticular 3D may not know what design components are necessary to get that impact. For instance, many brands require designers to use fonts, logos, and colors that work against a strong 3D illusion. Truly successful designs come from specific design knowledge and good coaching from experienced 3D designers.


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