What is 3D Lenticular Imaging?
Three-D Lenticular Imaging is a 2D printing process for creating auto-stereographic 3D prints and transparencies.
An auto-stereographic 3D print does not require 3D glasses, stereo viewers or any other aids to view an image in 3D.
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|About My Process|
I started playing around with 3D modeling apps when they first appeared for the Mac in the late 1980's, Dimensions 3D, Mac3D, Stratavision3D and RayDream3D, to name just a few. Experimenting with some stereo slides I produced several 3D stereo versions of some of my early scenes. This was cool, but having to use a viewing device, was not how I wanted to display my work.
Then in 1998, a colleague dropped by to ask me if I would help create some 3D modeled images for the new Kodak lenticular imaging division, Dynamic Imaging. This was the perfect medium for my art, so of course I said yes. For three years I consulted for DI, converting them from film capture to digital, developing better 3D capture techniques and creating 3D elements, even whole pieces for clients like Pfizer, Solar, Purina, Reebok, Martell, Pepsi, and Disney. It gave me the opportunity to learn the process and understand how it works. One thing I took away, was that backlit transparencies were the best way to display lenticular images.
As a result of experiments I created in my 3D modeling programs, I was able to determine the optimum way to capture the necessary stereo sequence for lenticular printing. This also translated into real life capture process improvements. Instead of the 6' long linear rail DI was using, with varying results, I proposed that an arc based system was the best way to go. We developed some early prototype camera rigs based on a semi arc design of mine and made some very successful captures. .
Capturing a 3D modeled scene or a real life scene is best accomplished by moving the camera around a point that is about 1/3 of the distance from the closest object in the scene to the furthest. The arc over which the camera moves varies, depending on lens focal length, but is usually only a few degrees with a wide to normal lens. A wide lens is the best choice for creating dramatic 3D scenes. To date, I don't know if anyone else has developed a variable arc camera rig, I have a design for one, but found an off the shelf solution which is almost as good. It was also much cheaper than developing my own.
These days my two 3D programs of choice are Strata Design 3D CX and Poser Pro 2014, the tools in which nearly all the images in the gallery were created. The exceptions are the first five landscape images in the Virtual Visions series. These were photos which were converted to 3D using Lenticular Effects software.
The scenes are assembled much like you would build a movie set. Many buildings and settings can be purchased online, as well as characters, clothing, and props. You start with a set , find a camera angle, introduce props and characters, light the scene, and then animated the camera to move around a point in the scene. To do this, every scene has a invisible sphere that I've placed in it, which I call the "Trackball". The camera is locked to this point and then can be animated by changing the x position from the first to last frame. Most of my works have been rendered to 24 individual views to provide smooth motion and a wide view angle.
Once the twenty four frames are interaced into one file for printing, I print the file on Epson DisplayTrans Film with my Epson 3800 printer. The next step is to hen laminate a lens sheet to the transparency. This is a difficult process to master and mistakes are costly. At the size I'm printing, the cost for each mistake is about $20. When I first started my success rate was only about 35%. However, after completing my new studio, (which gave me much more counter space), and some practice, my success rate has been about 90% on the last batch of lenses.
When it came time to display my work, I didn't like any of the light boxes on the market, so I designed my own using LED flat light panels. Much more stylish than the aluminum boxes on the market, it took nearly ten years from concept to final product.