Design Guide - Lenticular Printing
3D IMAGE CREATION
Photoshop Layer-Based/2D to 3D Conversion
The very first step, is to create a Photoshop PSD file composed of multiple layers. These layers will eventually represent different depth planes within the 3D scene. Below is an illustration / sample file with 4 layers taken from a sequence of 20 to the right of our concept image.
The layers selected represents the foreground, ( the dancer ) the middle ground colors behind the dancer’s leg, a background floor and a background texture.
The 3D simulation below was generated once the 20 layers were interlaced together at Softmotion 3D.
Once your final file is processed, we can print the information on a physical 3D animated print for you.
Guidelines & Specifications:
- Layer a 2D image with each element in its own layer using the same size and resolution. For exemple, if your artwork has 3 cars, give each car its own complete layer.
- The back layers cannot contain empty space below the objects on them.
- Produce at least 3 layers: background, middle and foreground, but 24 maximum and provide files in the TIFF format with alpha channel, at 300 DPI actual size. Always add 1/8’’ bleed on 4 sides.
- As a rule of thumb, more layers will provide better dramatic 3D effect, and a smoother rendering. Place layers in the final position: background, middle and foreground layers.
- If your concept contains layers with text or logos, they should be placed closer to the key plane ( middle layer ) to avoid blurriness and promote better legibility.
- Avoid solid colors or white background and replace with a textured background to increase depth perception
- Brighter colors will render much better and enhance the 3D illusion. However, B & W subjects will also work fine if the background is textured
- Use CMYK to minimize potential color shifts
- Avoid Serif, Italic and fancy fonts. Very fine font size will reduce readability.
- No text, logo or illustrations within ½’’ from all outside edges.
In order to avoid any gaps or voids while the layers are in motion on the 3D print, it is mandatory that the file is ½’’ wider ( on each side ) than the width of the final print. This is referred to as 3D margin. Furthermore, the back layers cannot contain empty space below the objects on them.
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3D Image Sequence
An image sequence is a set of frames usually generated from a 3D photo session, where several views of a still subject is created with a still camera on a rail system. It can also be created in a 3D modeling software.
Render the scene in the TIFF format and provide 10 or 20 views for optimal impact at 300 DPI actual size, with 1/8’’ bleed on all sides. All views needs to be of identical sizes.
As a rule of thumb, use one degree distance between views. Place the views in their sort order.
When previewed, objects in the foreground will be moving to the right and objects in the background will be moving to the left.
If your concept contains text or logos, they should be placed closer to the key plane ( Focal Point ) to avoid blurriness and promote better legibility. Avoid solid colors or white background and replace with a textured background to increase depth perception. Brighter colors will render much better and enhance the 3D illusion. However, B & W subjects will also work fine if the background is textured.Use CMYK to minimize potential color shifts. Avoid Serif, Italic and fancy fonts. Very fine font size will reduce readability. No text, logo or illustrations within ½’’ from all outside edges.
- In order to avoid any gaps or voids while the layers are in motion on the 3D print, it is mandatory that the file is ½’’ wider ( on each side ) that the width of the final print. This is referred to as 3D margin. Furthermore, the back layers cannot contain empty space below the objects on them.
Flip 2 Phase Transition
The simulation below was produced with the first and last image of the concept.
Guidelines & Specifications:
- Upload 2 still images for a 2 phase transition.Provide JPEG or TIFF files only, at 300 DPI actual size. Always add 1/8’’ bleed on all sides.
- Use CMYK to minimize potential color shifts.
- Avoid Serif, Italic and fancy fonts. Very fine font size will reduce readabilty
- All images should be identical size.
- Avoid extreme contrast such as bold saturated text on a white or light background. High contrast subjects will create ghosting shadows.
- Privilige images of similar contrast and color saturation to optimize quality results.
- No text, logo or illustrations within ½’’ from all edges.
Exra Considerations For Great Results
Every concept is different and has its own features and challenges. Before going to far in the design workflow, we can provide you with a free feasibility study of your idea. If you have images or a storyboard available, we could make you save a lot of time and energy by proofing your concept. Here is a list of suggestions for your consideration:
- Special Effects Available
While it is possible to blend both 3D and animation on the same print, one must consider that to much image data will be challenging for the humain brain to process. When dealing with the 3D lenticular printing media, it is a good idea to keep it simple and as a rule of thumb, less is always better in term of performances. A busy concept may leave the wrong impression with observers, making them walk away with a negative viewing experience.
- How Many Frames?
A 24 frames animation will provide a more fluid result, at the expense of less clarity. If your subject is a car racing on the track, this will work better since the blurring effect of the 24 frames will create speed simulation. Click here to see a sample of such concept.
However, if you are promoting a cosmetic product showing the transformation of a face, you will be better served with a before and after approach, keeping all details and better clarity of the face attributes. Click here to see a sample of a flip 2 phase.
- Avoid High Contrast
Avoid having any items in the concept changing from black to white. Highly saturated colors, solid lines illustrations, solid black ink from one frame will not disappear into a white or pale background and you will see a residual image of this first frame at all positions all the time.
The phenomena is called Ghosting. See a sample here of high contrast solid red on white back and ghosting results and see another sample here of a reversed situation, the same red but on a black background. Darker backgrounds as well as textures will absorb the information better and minimize the ghosting effect.
- Motion Configuration
Up/Down works better than Side/Side. With lenticular animations, images that animate when tilted up/down work better than animations that moves side/side. The clarity of an up/down movement configuration will always be much better than side/side, and with a smaller handheld image size, it will feel more natural to tilt the print up/down.
- Keep Images in Registration
If images are of the same size, they need to be in registration one on top of the other, when possible. This will minimize distorsion and ghosting.
See here a sample of dark eyes makeup working well and see here a sample where the positioning of the eyes is not optimized.
- Keep Text Size Above 10 Point
Avoid fine lines and small text. Fine lines will break up under the lens creating a pixelated look that will render your text poorly.
- Make Sure to Add Texture When Creating a 3D Sequence.
When possible, backgrounds should not be solid colors since it will not provide a good depth cue to the viewer. An alternative to a solid color would be the addition of textured image data or image noise.
- Good Depth Cues for Creating a 3D Lenticular Image.
Elements that overlap even so slightly, are great depth cues and will enhance the 3D illusion while optimizing depth. Keep in mind that cool colors tend to recede and warmer colors will project more.
- Adding Depth Files or Depth Maps
Adding depth maps for each layers or selected layers, will give your images a rounded look, or image relief that mirrors the way your eyes view the objects, thereby providing a more realistic simulation. While depth files are not required, they will reduce the flat layer appearance between the layers.
The lenticular lens will magnify and project all image data, and low resolution graphics will show all flaws such as noise, banding, pixels etc… In order to produce a quality lenticular render, it is very important to use a resolution of at least 300 DPI, at the actual size.
Simply stated, perception of depth is due to the fact that we have two eyes offset from each other, which view our world from two different perspectives. Our brain processes these different views and converge them to deliver the illusion of depth.
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