What is a Lenticular Image

A lenticular image allows the viewer to see different images on a single picture surface, when it is viewed from different angles. Whilst the name lenticular image may be unfamiliar, most people will have seen lenticular images before. For example, they are commonly used to create moving images on tazos or collector cards, and distributed as gimmicks in packets of potato crisps.

This changing image effect can be used to create an illusion of movement (see for example Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch), or it can be used to change the image between two entirely different images (eg GI Joe v Jihad Joe).

A lenticular image has two components: a printed image created by interlacing a number of different image frames together; and a lenticular lens screen through which the image is viewed.

The first step in making a lenticular image is to produce each frame of the image. A lenticular image can contain many frames (some say up to 70). The images in Making the Empire Cross – Unleashed! have two frames each.

The frames were created using Adobe Photoshop. A specialised software program was then used to interlace the two frames together. This means that the two frames (Image A and Image B) were divided into hundreds of thin strips and recombined in the manner shown in Figure 1. For this series a print of the interlaced image was then made using archival pigment inks.

This print does not look at all like either of the two component images, although fragments of the images do make them recognizable. The images become visible once a lenticular lens has been carefully aligned over the interlaced image. Once the lens is in place, the viewer can only see one frame at a time. This is because the ribbed lenticular lens has a series of parallel lenses (lenticules) on its surface that magnify portions of the segmented (interlaced) image underneath.


The wikipedia also has a good description of lenticular images and http://www.lenstar.org also provides information on creating lenticular images.