Lenticular images owe their uniqueness to a printing process that creates an illusion of three-dimensional, moving, or morphing pictures. Two or more different images are loaded into a computer graphics program where each image is sliced into dozens of thin strips. The strips from each image are then woven into an alternating pattern in a process called interlacing.
The resulting high-resolution picture is nearly impossible to interpret until the ribbed lenticular lens is precisely placed on the image. The transparent plastic layer is actually made of hundreds of separate thin, hemispherical lenses called lenticles. These refract the light passing through them, determining what the observer sees, depending on his position relative to the picture.
To achieve a 3D effect, slightly different perspectives of the same subject are presented to each eye, much like the stereoscopic effect of a ViewMaster® 3D Slide Viewer. When the brain compares and interprets the views from the left and right eyes, a three-dimensional image appears. This is the bio-physical phenomenon called parallax, which allows us to experience depth perception.
Multi-flip images are produced when two or more distinctly different images are interlaced. The lenticular lens is precisely calibrated and aligned to match the resulting composite print. This allows the viewer to see one complete original image at a time. As the observer moves, changing the viewing angle, one image fades and the next image comes into view.
Several sequential images can be used to create an illusion of movement or transformation. These designs use a common background, with only small differences between frames, resulting in a visual effect similar to that of a flip book.
For all this to work properly, everything must be crafted with incredible precision. The image must be adjusted and printed so that it looks perfect when viewed through the lens. The lenticles have to be exactly the same size as the printed strips underneath and the two must be perfectly aligned. This attention to detail results in a stunning, high-quality picture.