Saturday, September 5, 2009

So, what is a lenticular print?

A Halloween exhibition simply needs more than a row of framed drawings.

I had made small holograms years before, but learned that life-sized holograms are awfully pricy. Prohibitively expense when animated. As I turned to looking into magician and theatre illusions, I came across ‘lenticular printing.’

As advertised, lenticular printing creates the illusion of motion and depth on a single printed image as you walked past. Having contacted National Graphics, I begin work on a couple of projects that resulted into two prints, Janus and Bonfire (though I planned a couple more).

Janus began with a number of short videos I shot of my son, Andrew, wearing two masks while sitting on a chair in the dinning room. Using ImageReady, I selected eight key frames. I used Photoshop to erase the background and then used Corel Painter to paint the masks and figure. The background image is primarily a heavily manipulated collage of photos taken at the Mississippi Valley Fair. Just at twilight. As Andrew’s head turns, the background image was pulled from left to right. The file I sent to National Graphics was in the gigabyte range. They needed a layer for every frame, for every layer of depth and high resolution for the size of the print.

I make it sound so simple, but I really didn’t know what I was doing -though I kept going forward. This took me months.

I wanted the next lenticular print to be the largest size that could be printed. It was. It is. 58 x 38”. This one presented a new problem as I simply couldn’t make a video of a fire that looked right or had details when printed nearly five feet in height. I ended up constructing a bonfire from photos that included details of cat’s fur, masks, and a blurry video shot at Epcot.

The resulting prints are both more and less than what I had expected. I’ve watch people look at them walking back and forth; stepping forward, closer, closer and then back. Sort of like the 2001 monolith. Yet, the motion isn’t as sequential as I envisioned.