1What is lenticular printing?
Lenticular printing derived its name due to the material it’s printed on. A lenticular lens sheet is smooth on one side, with peaks and valleys on the other side. Each of these ridges is called a “lenticule” – hence the name Lenticular. For more info, check out How Lenticular Works
2How can the lens make my files move?
Your digital files will be optimized by an animation specialist for the lenticular effect you select, then go through a process called interlacing, which basically slices and dices your image to match the very specific measurement of the sheet of the lens being printed on. It’s then ripped and screened for the final print.
3How do you print on the lens material?
There are two methods of lenticular printing. Early on, the process involved printing onto a stable film based substrate, hand aligning the print to the lenticules of the lens, and laminating the print to the lens. With the continued advancement of digital technology and print equipment, the optimum method is to print directly to the lens with 4/C UV cured inks, with opaque white for opacity.
4How will I know which the right lens for my project?
Tracer will review your artwork and project details, and determine the best option for you. There are many factors that go into selecting the correct lens for any given project. Lens selection is typically Tracer’s responsibility, so take advantage of our years of experience and relax!
5Is there a difference between 3D and lenticular?
3D is actually one of the many lenticular effects. It’s still printed on a sheet of lenticular lens, however, the most impactful depth is achieved by printing on lens specifically engineered for the 3D effect.
6How many effects are there?
The most common lenticular effects you will hear of, are 3D, Flip, Zoom, Morph, and Full Motion Video, but you shouldn’t necessarily limit your artwork to one specific effect. Tracer animation specialists will often see animation options you may not have thought possible, so we often create Hybrid effects that may include a 3D/animation combo, or something entirely unique to anything done before. It really depends on your artwork and your vision! For additional info, download “Lenticular Effects”.
7What is the maximum number of frames you can print?
The maximum number of frames depends greatly on the artwork and lenticular effect. A good rule of thumb, is often less is better. If you’re attempting to show 4 or more frames with very distinct views, you can expect a lack of clarity for each of the views and residual ghosting from one view to the next. If the frames are sequential, then this is less of a concern. Tracer is always available to consult with your team to give you answers specific to your artwork and project.
8What kind of files do you require?
Common to all effects is a resolution of 300 dpi at final size for all offset print projects, 150 dpi at final size for large format projects printing on our flatbed press. We can talk you through this, but when in doubt, 300 dpi to be safe. For effects such as Flip, Zoom, and Morph, high-resolution jpgs are acceptable, but for the 3D effect, layered Photoshop files are our preferred format. Each element should be on its own layer, with 1” bleed left and right, and standard 1/8” bleed top and bottom. Please see our Lenticular Resources for more details, and always feel free to contact us for consulting.
9As I research my project, I’ve been asked for the viewing distance. Why does this matter?
As previously mentioned, there are many lenses to select from. One critical factor in selecting the correct lens, is knowing the optimum viewing distance – at what distance will the viewer typically pass by your lenticular product to activate the animation effect? Most often, it’s a range, such as 8’ – 10’.
10Will my animation still work at a different viewing distance?
Yes, however, depending on the artwork and lenticular effect, it will work best at the viewing distance selected. As you get closer or further away, the animation won’t be quite as crisp, but will still work very well.
11Will I get to see a proof?
Our first step in the proofing process is an eProof, or electronic proof. This is an animated gif or QuickTIme, created from the animation working files just prior to interlacing. This gives your team a chance to review and approve, or make changes prior to producing a hard copy proof. Changes to the eProof, and from the existing files, are included at no additional charge, allowing you to view and change your animation until you’re thrilled with the results. We often provide several eProofs with different animation options, if the artwork lends itself to multiple effects to consider, again, this is at no additional cost. Once the eProof is approved, we will generate a hard copy proof for final approval.
12What is the typical lead time?
Lead time will vary depending on the size of the project, and whether it’s running on the flatbed press or offset press. We can normally turn the eProof in 2-4 days, with a hard copy proof an additional 2-3 days to ship. Typical lead time for a project running on the offset press is 7-10 days after proof approval, depending on any special finishing requirements. Large-format projects can vary quite a bit, depending on size and quantity. We can provide a more accurate lead time when we quote your project and have a date we can expect to receive files. We will always try to accommodate expedited schedules, and with no additional rush fees.
13Can lenticular graphics be back lit in a lightbox?
Yes, however, there can be many challenges to achieve the best results. Lightboxes can come with a variety of light sources and color temperature combinations. The more we know about your specific lightbox, the better we can dial into the correct color balance and brightness with your artwork. We view backlit projects on our lightbox, with an adjustable color temperature and brightness range, but it’s also an option to send your lightbox to us for those ultra-critical projects. Oversized projects that require tiling should be avoided in backlit applications unless you attach cross pieces at the seams to prevent any slight light leakage where the panels are seamed.
14What is the maximum size?
Typically, the maximum size is limited by the size of a sheet of lens. There are many lenses available to choose from. Depending on the application and animation effect, the maximum sheet size is in the range of 48” wide x 72” high, or 48” wide 96” high. The lens extrusion is a very difficult process to yield perfectly straight lenticules. Simply put, some lens is straighter than others, so just because a lens can be purchased at 96” high, doesn’t necessarily mean it would yield good results at that full length.
Tracer can tile panels together for seamless animations for larger sizes. The individual panel size will be determined once the artwork and job specifications are reviewed.
15Is there a minimum size?
While we have run pieces at 1”, that’s a very small landscape to show an animation that will truly draw attention. That being said, it can still tell a story. A very small size is artwork and application dependent and requires a very fine line lens. The finer the lens (more lenticules per inch), the less evident a lenticular effect can be.
16Are there minimum and maximum quantities?
No! We are set up to print one-offs on our digital flatbed press at a very competitive price, and have no limit to the maximum quantity, as large quantities are printed on an offset press. Due to the complexity of our set-up to print quality lenticular products, the unit price can drop significantly for large quantity runs.
17What is the cost I should expect to pay?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this. We take great pride in engineering your project specific to any and all details we learn from you. Once we have all the details, we’ll be able to determine the best material and print process to yield the best results at the best price. Please allow us to quote this properly for you.