Creating lenticular images can be challenging and highly rewarding. This section provides information and tips on creating images using photography and purely digital media.
There are many different ways of creating lenticular images and many different applications of the lenticular media. My best advise is to use your imagination! A solid understanding of the basics behind lenticular imaging will be your best tool in image creation. Please read the Primer to get a head start on the basics.
You can find the following information below:
Photo editing software
Motion composition software
3-D Modeling/Animation/Rendering software
Printer Dots Per Inch (DPI): The printer you will use to create your lenticular image will be a limiting factor in your image creation. Ensure you know the highest resolution your printer will actually print at; usually NOT the advertised resolution. The final DPI resolution is determined by the printer driver controlling the ink dot and the amount and pattern of ink dispersed, allowing the printer manufacturers to claim a higher resolution although the image is in effect resampled. Epson's consumer printers print at 360 and 720 dpi, the professional level printers at 360 dpi with standard drivers. Many HP printers print at 300 dpi. A RIP may allow higher resolutions to be printed from these machines with third-party drivers installed.
Verify your highest resolution by test printing an image of single pixel wide vertical and horizontal lines. If lines are missing or blurred the printer drivers may be resampling the image to the highest output image size. Start from the highest advertised resolution and divide by two for the next test if it does not prove to actually print at that resolution.
Even at these 'lower' resolutions excellent images can be created using LIC, as it works at the 'sub-pixel' level. With a 360 dpi printer and a 40 lpi lens nine or more images may be used and blended to create a smooth final lenticular image (360 / 40 = 9).
Source Image Count: When creating 3-D or animation for LIC, using a high number of source images will provide a cleaner final lenticular effect. LIC provides a 'guideline' minimum images to use, although it has no minimum or maximum image limitations. Final images are a blended composite of sub-sampled source images. There is a point of diminishing returns on final image quality at roughly double the 'minimum' suggested image frames, but this is a subjective measure and requires proofing the image to be sure.
Many visual tricks from standard visual design can be used to increase the percieved sense of depth such as fading, blurring and other depth of field effects.
Field of view
Calculating the movement/ percieved distance.
Digital imaging allows amatuer photographers and hobbyists along with professionals to easily create stunning 3-d and animated images using a single digital camera. A solid understanding of photgraphic and digital imaging principals, practice, and experience will be the path to success.
The basic method for photographing for is to take many images in a straight line focused and centered on a focal point. An appropriate focal point is on a stable object such as the top corner of a park bench, a notch on a tree or the eye of a statue. Moving objects will cause sloppy source imagery and difficult to correct blurring in your final lenticular image.
Using a narrow aperture with minimal depth of field is advisable for a higher quality final image; the depth of field will be provided by the blending of the foreground and background image in the interlacing process.
To guide the camera while shooting I use a simple rig of 6ft aluminum channel attached to my tripod (like a T). I marked the angle at regular 1cm intervals to allow sliding the camera along, counting the marks between each shot. If a wide angle is required the tripod and track can be moved and 'eyeball' aligned for good results. This keeps the image sequence in a generally straight line, although requires some post work in Photoshop to align the images.
To photograph close objects (<2m), a curved path is required depending on the viewing angle of your target lens and the distance to the object to prevent distortion in your final lenticular image. The curved path should follow the arc between the edges of the view angle. Distant focal objects do not require a curved path, and some distortion artifacts with close objects can be compensated for using spherical distortion filters in photo editing and imaging applications.
For a realistic image aim to re-create the viewing angle of the lenticular lens although this may prove difficult in a real situation. Digital imaging wizardry allows some forgiveness, but careful setup in the field will save some work and prevent image smearing and other difficult to correct artifacts. A great number of clean images taken in the field gives more to choose from in post.
Applying the techniques described under photography to the video camera is an excellent way to create 3-d and animated lenticular images. The low resolution of current DV is not the best source, but useable. Soon coming HDTV resolution cameras will provide better source images.
Clean smooth horizontal movement will work best for creating 3-d images. Animated images are best created from a tripod or other stable position.
Use the 'export' function in your video editor to create an image sequence from your video clip in an image format LIC can import.
Many different applications can be used, I outline a few uses below:
Photoshop and other image compositing software are the workhorses for creating lenticular images. They provide the ability to line up, scale and color correct images to provide the best possible 'flip' or animation.
The general workflow using photographs or possibly a rendered 3d image is outlined below:
Choose a focal point for your 3d or animated image. The focal point should be a point desired to be on the picture plane and will appear the sharpest in your lenticular image. Parts of the image that are moving will not appear as sharp depending on the amount of movement. The focal point can be a mailbox flag, a knot in a tree or any other legible object in your image that is intended to be on the picture plane.
Use the image compositing application to line up all your images at the focal point. Using Photoshop add each image to a layer. Color match and correct your images if needed before interlacing.
Increasing your source image size in you photo editor may help if your interlaced images do not show enough detail or are vertically or horizontally aliased. LIC automatically sub-samples source images, but low-resolution images may give poor results.
An AMAZING tool (PC only) for increasing image sizes along with managing your prints and many other features is QImage. No professional photographer or printer should be without this application as it has several excellent algorithms for increasing image size and preserving detail.
An excellent tool for creating and managing lenticular projects is After Effects or any other motion composition tool. These tools allow you to tweak parallax effect, color and other transitions over time to create effects for lenticular lenses and many times allow a high frame rate export for creating highly detailed lenticular images. Other similar applications such as Macromedia's Flash can be used to the same effect.
Creating different layers for the background, midground and foreground with other layers in between for more convincing detail and animating them by sliding horizontally will create a convincing depth effect. Simply changing the range of motion will adjust the perceived depth. Experimentation and proofing is needed to find the right range of motion for the objects you are moving and lenses vary greatly in the type of motion they are designed for.
Easier than a photo editor in many ways, these applications allow image sequences to be aligned, color corrected and composed with time based effects. Ensure your motion image composition software allows export of high resolution images for the best quality final lenticular image.
3d modeling, animation and rendering applications are perfect for creating lenticular images. Precise camera control allows artists to create spectacular sharp and detailed images with ease for use with lenticular lenses. I have used Cinema4D, Blender, Zbrush, 3dsmax, Form-Z and other 3d software for development testing and creating my own images.
For accurate camera matching, Matching your lenses For best results running several renders and tests will give you the best field of view and depth for the particular lens you are using. Some simple guidelines to start:
Narrow view angle lenses will allow more clarity of 'movement' and allow a wider field of view