Lenticular Printing 101: What, How, And More

Published On: May 8, 2018

What Is Lenticular Printing?

Lenticular is a printing method that adds dimension and/or motion to images which are normally static and flat. The “magic” is actually an optical illusion. By covering images with plastic sheets of tiny lenses, printers allow the eye to view alternating sections of multiple images simultaneously. This creates a sense of dimension, motion, or sometimes both.

You don’t need any special equipment to view lenticular printing and experience the effects. Printers can adapt the effects for a wide variety of different installations and uses. Let’s explore what they are, how they work, and whether they would be a good fit for your brand:

How Lenticular Printing Works

Lenticular printing requires two main components:

  • Printed images
  • The lenses (or lenticules)

Every lenticular image is a composite of two or more graphics that are interlaced together. Printers specially prepare each graphic to create the desired effect.

Lens sizes range from about 40 lines per inch all the way to 150 lines per inch. Each lens acts as a magnifying glass, revealing only portions of an interlaced image at a time.

The composite is printed to match the lens pattern. There are several considerations for experienced printers to think about here – everything from the resolution and desired effect, to the optimum viewing difference for the final product.

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Types of Lenticular Printing

There are two major types of lenticular effects: animation and 3D.

Animated effects play image frames like a motion picture projector would. These short clips can be comprised of computer-generated animation, videos, time-lapse photography, or even motion picture films. Popular animated effects include:

  • Makes visual elements appear to jump out toward the viewer, so it’s great for focusing their attention on your logo or a featured product.
  • Turns visual elements on and off so that one image can completely change into another. Picture a “before and after” shot.
  • Instead of turning an image on or off, morph allows you to transform between the two dynamically. Which is recommended if you’re trying to get consumers to compare a new product, logo, etc. with a previous version.

3D effects create an illusion of depth. By positioning visual elements on different spatial planes, it appears that some are behind or in front of the others.

You’ll often see combinations of lenticular effects within the same product, like flip/3D or motion/3D. However, it takes meticulous planning and execution to pull this off.

How to Use It: Common Applications

One of lenticular printing’s greatest strengths lies in its versatility. Here are some of the most popular applications you’ll see today:

      • DVD/CD covers
      • Direct mail/postcards
      • Posters
      • Signage
      • Stickers
      • Trading cards
      • In-store retail graphics
      • Key rings
      • Labels
      • Magazine covers/inserts
      • Drinkware
      • Hang tags
      • Package wraps
      • Packaging
      • Phone cards
      • Point of purchase

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Engage Your Audience Like Never Before

Lenticular printing will help you engage viewers like never before. These effects aren’t just eye-catching. They also drive people to pick up packaging, to play with it and experience the effects up close.

It takes a lot of precision to pull this off, both in the concept and execution. Lenticular experts must account for the desired visual effect, optimal viewing distance, font styles and type sizes, which way to overlay the lenses, and a whole lot more.

Trust your lenticular printing needs to the right partner. With over 20 years of experience producing lenticular and plastics, JohnsByrne has the creative vision to develop the effect you want and the technology to bring it to life. Check out our extensive work gallery here.

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