The first task that a lenticular printer has to face is to calibrate the printing process and the stock of lenses, to ensure that the images created are aligned exactly with the lenses used. The images printed on the plastic should be processed in such a way that they match perfectly the number of lenses per inch of the plastic. This number is also known by the name of pitch. Both the manufacturing process of the plastics, as well as the printing process, make the pitch value change slightly from its nominal value. In order for the lenticular image to be correctly seen, it is critical to calculate the exact pitch for each job, and it is here where the calibration module enters into play. The function of this module is to generate a series of interlaced bands with different frequencies which, after they have been printed on the plastic, produce interference patterns which reveal the exact pitch value. Example of lenticular calibration (75,6 lenses/inch):
The lenticular interlacing of images is a fundamental process in the generation of lenticular effects of any type. The Interlacing module is used to assemble a sequence of images into a single interlaced image, ready to be printed and adhered to a lenticular plastic. The operation of the module is simple. First the images which will form the effect are loaded into the application and then some parameters are entered, such as the visual pitch of the plastic, the resolution of the printing device, or the direction of the lenses. With these input data, the program is able to generate an output image with the required visual effect.
The 3D effects module is the most powerful and innovative module of the application. In order to generate a 3D effect, a Photoshop PSD file made of layers of three types is entered: [checklist icon="check" iconcolor="#df0031" circle="no"] The normal layers represent objects of a scene located on different depth planes. The sequence layers are used to add flip or animation effects. The volume layers provide volumetric effects that are impossible to achieve with other techniques. [/checklist] After the PSD file has been loaded into the 3D module, the quantity and quality of the 3D effect are adjusted by using the controls for the depth of field, focus plane and relative position for each layer. In this way, a new image is generated, which, once seen through the lenticular plastic, provides a 3D effect without the need for stereoscopic glasses.
The composition module is especially useful for those offset printers who need to repeat the same image several times per sheet. It is designed to simplify the task of assembling several interlaced images on the same lenticular plastic without losing synchrony with the lenses. Given several input images and the properties of a lenticular sheet, the program generates a single PDF file, composed of all the original images correctly positioned for a perfect alignment with the lenses of the plastic and a minimum number of cuts with the cutter.