Lenticular Images

A lenticular image is a combination of multiple input images overlaid with a lensing material to provide a sense of depth, movement, or other change (depending on how the input images differ). The lensing material is a sheet of plastic molded into many tiny prisms. The Save Image panel in Chimera includes a lenticular image camera mode for saving a set of images that differ slightly in viewing orientation. Such a set can be used to make a lenticular image with apparent depth, a 3D image.


Making a lenticular image as described below requires the following:


The following instructions are for making lenticular images “by hand.” To produce very large images or a large number of copies, you would more likely work with a commercial printer.
  1. Find out your printer's resolution in DPI (dots per inch).
    For example, the UCSF Computer Graphics Lab (CGL) has an Epson printer with 720 DPI.
  2. Note the chosen lensing material's LPI (lenses per inch). For best results, perform a pitch test to determine the effective LPI of the lens for your specific printer.
    The CGL has lenticular sheets in the portrait orientation with 60 LPI. These lenses were designed for 3D images and a viewing distance of 1–5 feet.
  3. Prepare the scene in Chimera, avoiding the use of thin lines, especially vertical or near-vertical. Use stereo to see how much parallax is present. Overly strong parallax makes it hard for the eyes to fuse the two views together. One rule of thumb is to limit how much objects protrude in front of (or recede behind) the focal plane to approximately a third of the window width. The relationship of the objects to the focal plane and the window width can be viewed and adjusted in the Top View. You may wish to save your setup as a Chimera session. See also: tips on preparing images

  4. Generate the input image files. DPI/LPI gives the number of files that should be generated (use the original LPI, not the pitch-test-corrected value).
    With CGL's Epson printer and the lenticular sheets described above, 720/60 = 12 images.
    In Chimera's Save Image panel:

  5. Use the software to interlace the input images into one image. (We used software from ProMagic, but the procedure should be generally similar with other packages.)

  6. Print the interlaced image.

  7. Use a cold laminator to mount the image. Air bubbles should be eliminated; the trick is to go slow and only expose the adhesive a little at a time. Hand tools for applying wallpaper might work well enough. A hot laminator should not be used because it might melt the lensing material.

UCSF Computer Graphics Laboratory / August 2012