Animate your audience
Lenticular captivates audiences and Midwest Lenticular makes great lenticular prints. Our attention to detail throughout the production process results in some of the highest quality prints in the industry. Using a two step laminated process our lenticular prints have amazing color fidelity and resolution, unmatched by other popular production methods. We stock a range of products and will select the combination of options that makes your project POP!
What is lenticular?
A lenticular print is an illusionary image that portrays a sense of change, dimensionality or both. Its made by matching a carefully prepared composite image to a sheet of plastic with an optical surface. The plastic surface uses a pattern of lenses to filter out elements from the composite image to create impressive effects. The process was described in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until the middle of the century that lenticular became popular. It’s a well tested process that delivers something a lot like magic to everyone who sees it.
What makes a good lenticular?
The fundamentals of lenticular are simple, but well made lenticulars are among the most difficult printing processes. In addition to all of the things you would require from a regular print (color fidelity, finishing, longevity) lenticular has a unique set of considerations. While certain rules must be followed lenticular often involves prioritizing one concern over another in ways that are unique to the project at hand. What follows are the elements always considered when making a good lenticular print.
Lenticular prints have an optimal viewing distance that must be set for each print. A viewing distance of 6-12 feet is standard for large format lenticular but it can be closer or farther depending on the location in which its displayed. To achieve optimal and consistent results it is necessary to perform frequent testing of the optical plastics to track any deviations that may affect the perceived viewing distance.
Different lenses are considered faster or slower depending on their viewing angle. Most traditional flip lenses are slower (45 degrees) and most 3D lenses are faster (25-35 degrees). This means that a person will need to walk farther to see an entire effect on a 45 degree lens than they would for a 25 degree lens.
Coming from the digital world its easy to assume that greater resolution is better but with lenticular this is not always the case. Its true that a finer lens will be less apparent to a viewer than a coarser lens, but the coarser lenses often make up for this by producing deeper 3D and cleaner effects. A good lenticular balances these concerns. Wide format lenticular lenses are found in variants ranging from 15 LPI (lenticules per inch) to 40 LPI.
Most of the time it is desirable to have one image completely obscure another in a multi-image flip. This can be challenging at times, especially with high contrast images or when there are large flat areas of a light color. Image bleed-through, or ghosting, is common with lenticular but there are things that can be done to minimize its presence. Ghosting is most controllable by image choice, by avoiding things like black text on a white background for example. Certain lenses also handle ghosting better than others, with the better performers often at the lower end of the scale for resolution. Finally it may be OK to have a certain amount of ghosting, it can add to the animated effect of particular pieces and is sometimes used in creative ways.
A good 3D lenticular print owes most of its success to how things were prepared in the design stage of the process. Knowing how many frames and how much parallax a lens can handle are critical to preparing 3D lenticular. When it comes to printing lens choice is the biggest factor, and here the clear winners are the coarser lenses. The 3D 20 LPI lens is the deepest commonly available lens, with other choices being 28 LPI and 40 LPI.
Banding results from mathematical differences in the digital image, the printed image and the optical plastics. It can often be avoided but certain combinations of factors present special challenges. In particular any flip lenticular that changes from black to white will be difficult to rid completely of banding. 100% photographic or textured images rarely have banding, regardless of the lens plastics used.