A series of experimental images to prove out the
process and efficacy of creating fine art lenticular prints

Two sets of images are examined here. The first is a focus pull from macro to landscape, five images total. The next is a single image, bringing out the details of the subject on a foggy bay.

The open questions are:

  • Efficacy of the final print to be displayed along with other fine art prints
  • Number of images to be encoded within the lenticular print
  • Two images – Is the transition between the two pleasing to the viewer?
  • Three images – Can the middle image be the ‘main image, with the left/right images being the effect?
  • Five images - Will five images allow for a pleasing transition as the viewer walks past the print?

The viewing modes:

  • Viewer walks past print to see the effect
  • Viewer stands in front of the print and tilts their head left and right to see the two or three image effect
  • Viewed at a distance from static location

The Printer:
Researching the interwebz, I ran across Chris Deans work (http://www.chrisdean.com), and then Midwest Lenticular (http://www.midwestlenticular.com). I am impressed with what they have going so decided to ring them up. Chris has been very helpful detailing the technology, limitations, and thoughts on these experiments.

Fine tune the thinking…
Lets think about five total prints:
• A five image sequence to simply check as an experiment, with the knowledge that "5 images with subtle changes will be hard to pick out individually in a lenticular print.”
• Four prints with a main center image and a secondary image with 50% reduced power flanking the sides.

Results of the experiment:
First: A couple of quick questions that came up:
• Are there options other than white for the backing?
• Can there be a clear backing?
Both of these questions are around the opportunity for backlighting and stacked prints. Could be something interesting there. Need to work the answers to these.

Overall I'm impressed with the work of Chris Dean and Midwest Lenticular – and appreciate the contribution to the art. 

On the overall lenticular technology, my first impression is that while the state of the art has increased greatly for the printing side (SW, human skill, and the actual printer ability) of the lenticular world, the physical attributes have not changed much since the '60s. I fully understand the optics/physics nature of what we have to work with, but just imagine a world where the the lenticular substrate is physically smooth. Where the images are encoded on a very fine diffractive optic rather than a lentical. Where you can choose the diffractive optic of the material to be used for 3-D / Flip / Morph / etc. for various viewing distances and depths. This is where we need to take this technology.

A 1985 Patent:
Optical imager with diffractive lenticular array: http://www.google.com/patents/US4708436

Until then, we need to live with the state of the art materials from Lenstar, Microlens, and others. The materials portion of the state of the art is also critical to assure long lasting fine art prints: non-yellowing, non-brittle-over-time, color stable, optically clear, uniform, etc. We can also explore RGB Holographic prints and see where we can bring that technology for large format fine art prints.

The assumption for these is that we will eventually be making larger prints - 24 to 40", in some sort of appropriate for the image aspect ratio. The viewing distance is in the 2 to 10 foot range as these would be large and wall hung on some yet to be determined mount.

Of the six images, the butterfly focus pull was an experiment in color saturation and effect. The two fog sets were to determine how (in this case not so-) subtle changes in the images would look, especially with light B&W tones and low color low contrast images. The super cool thing is that one of the fog images is ripe for a larger print. Pretty cool and unexpected for an experiment.

Print #1: Five Image Animation:

IMG_4184IMG_4188IMG_4187IMG_4186IMG_4185IMG_4186 2IMG_4187 2IMG_4188 2

The Results:
Print #1: Focus Pull
Five images, equal strength:
• Thoughts: This one turned out as expected, showing the full set of focus elements. For what I'm after there is too much activity as you pass by the image, or just stare at it from various viewing angles. The color saturation and image quality are super, and meet my expectations of what we can do with larger prints.

Print #2: Two Image flip with Main (color abstract) plus L/R Secondary (clock) Images:

IMG_4185IMG_4187IMG_4187 2

The Results:
Print #2 & #3: Two select focus pull images
Two images used, three views - [Left – Center – Right] at 50% reduced power for side images
• Thoughts: These two show an interesting physiological / 
psychological intersection. The brain expects the in-focus image to be the one front and center, with the blurred abstract as you approach. With the abstract front and center, there is some tension in the viewing, which I find stimulating in an odd sort of way. These give food for thought on what the audience expects and how to essentially stress their view of the story being told. Pretty fascinating. For these, I might try reducing the side images from 50% to 25% - 33%, giving the center image more prominence.

Print #6 - The Optional Added Bonus• Thoughts: These two images are the both in-focus images, relieving the viewing stress noted above. A good image test, but too much image change from one to the other for what I'm looking for.

Print #3: Two Image flip with Main (clock) plus L/R Secondary (color abstract) Images:

IMG_4187IMG_4185IMG_4185 2

Print #4: Two Image flip with Main (fog) plus L/R Secondary (boat detail) Images:

_K0P0921_2_DxO_K0P0921_1_DxO_K0P0921_1_DxO 2

The Results:
Print #4 & #5: Bay Fog
Two images used, three views - [Left – Center – Right] at 50% reduced power for side images
• Thoughts: While the first set (#s 1, 2, 3, 6) offered insight to lenticular imaging ability, these two prints are more along the lines of where I'm going with these class of prints. These two have the same sort of stressor when the foggy image is center while the detailed image is left / right. The subtly in image change is wonderful, and gives a sort of otherworldly impression of the piece. As with the others, it is not yet clear to me which I prefer - the stressor or the expected image that comes into detail front and center. Very very cool. For these as well, I might try reducing the side images from 50% to 25% - 33% weighting, giving the center image more prominence.

Print #5: Two Image flip with Main (boat detail) plus L/R Secondary (fog) Images:

_K0P0921_1_DxO_K0P0921_2_DxO_K0P0921_2_DxO 2

The purpose of the experiments:
New images are going to be created with the Lytro Illum light field camera (http://500px.com/lytro). Lytro has, it is hoped, finally created a camera capable of creating large(ish) prints - roughly 4MP small(ish) - with their new 40 Megaray lightfield sensor, and has the potential to help tell a story through semi-living lenticular or holographic prints. We will see if the base images can hold up to the lenticular process, especially going to a 30+ inch print. The Lytro folks are all for web based living pictures, but I find the large format mounted living piece oh so much more grand.

Time to get into the field and create some images with Illum #247.


Eric Anderson
August 2014

© Eric Anderson Photography 2014