Because of our extensive expertise in lenticular processes, we’re often asked by printers what software solution works best. Many times it’s the first question a printer will ask. Given the fact that we don’t sell lenticular software, it is not always easy for us to answer that question. Furthermore, choosing a particular software solution will depend on several factors like experience skill with lenticular printing, the desired result, the prepress and printing equipment, and much more. The question could also be reversed. Do you need a software solution, or wouldn’t it be easier to work with companies specializing in the design and creation of lenticular images? Also on this question there is no clear-cut answer. Walking both paths is probably the best choice.
Most software packages have similar functionalities
The different lenticular software packages on the market all have similar functionalities. Some focus more on the creative side of the lenticular process and others have very powerful interlacingcapabilities. Several solutions run only on a Mac, while others run in a Windows environment or both. Most of these software programs can be downloaded for evaluation, but doing this is only useful if you have some experience with other lenticular software solutions. Compare it to word processors: if you can work with one program, you probably find your way around in others as well. However, if lenticular printing/designing is all new to you, we strongly recommend our onsite training before you make any software decisions. This short training will give you valuable insights about the different production steps involved in lenticular printing and will enable you to understand the software requirements (if any) for your company, market and applications.
90% of all lenticular designs are made by printers
Besides a good software solution, there are many other important factors in achieving good results. One crucial factor is the skill level of the graphic designer. When the same animation idea is given to several designers, each of the final printed results will be different. This is probably due to the many different parameters one can adjust, but also the experience and creativity of the designer plays an important role.
According to Henry Clement, a French photographer with more than 25 years of experience in designing lenticular images, 90% of all lenticular designs are made by printers. “For simple effects such as flips, the results they get are quite good, but for the more complex jobs like 3D, morphs and animations, you really need creative people and in general most printers do not have these specialists.” Starting with an outsourced specialist is certainly a good approach in building up the necessary experience before you spread your own wings.
Understanding all processes involved
Where good interaction between creation, prepress and press is important for traditional offset printing, it is even more crucial in the production of lenticular print. Good results can only be achieved if the printer understands all processes involved. The designer for example can only produce the final interlaced image if he knows the exact pitch values of the lenticular sheet, and that information has to come from a pitch test on the press. The imposition scheme is based on the direction of the lenses, and that’s also vital information for the designer as well. Finally, the printer has to know exactly how to judge the final result on the press. A postcard will be looked at from close by, while a poster will be viewed from a distance.
Onsite training helps to determine your requirements
It is fair to say that the final result is not just the work of one person, but a combination of many people and processes working closely together. So before deciding on what software to buy or to work with an outside specialist, we think it is wise to start with our onsite training. This small investment will certainly help you in getting a clear picture of all the processes involved in lenticular design and printing. Ultimately this will help you in making the right choices for your company.