Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lenticular Superman


A while back I added the "Ultimate Collector's Edition" of Superman to Paul and I's DVD collection. When I flipped it over to the back I had to laugh. Who the heck was their marketing director?
The copy reads:
Unique Keepsake Case Contains:
• Eye-popping lenticular package
with 7 special edition movies
• Reproduction of vintage Superman comic book
• And Superman mail-in offer for 5 movie posters
Come on now. Lenticular? Len-tic-u-lar? That's the first thing you list for folks who are thinking about dropping $70 on the Superman DVD spectacular? I think the art director somewhere lost a bet somewhere.

Obviously I could infer the lenticular reference to the front of the slipcover. The cover does have a cool kind of holographic Superman flying up through the "S" symbol and into the clouds when you tilt it back a forth. I dropped the $70 for the DVD's not the packaging and ran to my nearest encyclopedia (wiki).

Lenticular printing is a multi-step process consisting of creating a lenticular image from at least two existing images, and combining it with a lenticular lens. This process can be used to create various frames of animation (for a motion effect), offsetting the various layers at different increments (for a 3d effect), or simply to show a set of alternate images which may appear to transform into each other. Once the various images are collected, they are flattened into individual, different frame files, and then digitally combined into a single final file in a process called interlacing. From there the interlaced image can be printed directly to the back (smooth side) of the lens or it can be printed to a substrate (ideally a synthetic paper) and laminated to the lens. When printing to the backside of the lens, the critical registration of the fine "slices" of interlaced images must be absolutely correct during the lithographic or screenprinting process or "ghosting" and poor imagery might result. The combined effect can be used to show two or more different images simply by changing the one views the print from. If you use more images, taken in a sequence (30+), one can even show a short video of about one second. Though normally produced in sheet form, by interlacing simple images or different colors throughout the artwork, lenticulars can be created in roll form with 3D effects or multi-color changes. Alternatively, one can use several images of the same object from slightly different angles and then create a lenticular print, which will then result in a three-dimensional effect. 3D effects can only be achieved in a side to side (left to right) direction, as your left eye needs to be seeing a slightly different angle as your right to achieve the stereoscopic effect. Other effects, like morphs, motion, zooms work better (less ghosting or latent effects) as top-to-bottom effects but can be achieved in both directions.

So basically someone spent a heck of a lot of money on the lenticular graphic and they wanted to be darn sure that it was listed first - even before the actual DVDs. Silly art director, packaging is for product, not the packaging.

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