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What is lenticular printing?

Lenticular printing is a way of printing images that gives the illusion of depth or movement when the image is viewed from different angles.

The concept has been around since the 1940s and it has been used to produce a wide range of novelty items like rulers, fridge magnets, product packaging and even bookmarks.

The effect relies on an optical illusion that is created by combining a lenticular image (made up of at least two images) and a plastic leaf that has multiple rows of tiny lenses spread over it. Each lens that is placed in a lenticular sheet magnifies a tiny portion of the underlying image and when the viewing angle changes a different area of the image is amplified.

If more images are used, they can even show short animation sequences. To create a 3D effect several images of the same object, from slightly different angles are used.

Types of lenticular prints

There are three distinct types of lenticular prints:

  1. Transforming prints – two or more very different pictures are used and the lenses are designed to require a relatively large change in viewing angle to switch from one image to another. This allows the viewer to easily see the original images, since small movements cause no change.
  2. Animated prints – the different viewing angles are such that while both eyes usually see the same picture, moving a little bit switches to the next picture in the series. Two or more sequential images are used, with only small differences between each image and the next. This can be used to create an image that moves, or can create a “zoom” or “morph” effect.
  3. Stereoscopic effects – the changes in viewing angle needed to change images is so small that each eye sees a slightly different view. If the images used are of the same object from different angles, a 3D effect is created.

References

Lenticular printing – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenticular_printing

How does lenticular printing work? – Explain that Stuff
https://www.explainthatstuff.com/lenticularprinting.html

Includes a very clear explanation of how lenticular printing works using diagrams.