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3D posters without glasses sure to demand attention


May 4, 2010

3D posters that provide a unique visual perspective for each viewing position could be clamoring for your attention within the coming year (Image: RealEyes)

3D posters that provide a unique visual perspective for each viewing position could be clamoring for your attention within the coming year (Image: RealEyes)

We’ve all seen cards with images that move or provide a 3D effect without glasses when the viewing angle is moved. Although the technology has been around since the 1940s, its limitations in viewing distance and clarity has seen it largely remain a novelty for prizes in cereal boxes, collectible cards and the occasional movie poster. Now researchers have updated the technology for the 21st Century, enabling a much clearer 3D image on posters up to five meters in size which can also be viewed from a distance.

Traditionally such animated or 3D images have been produced using of a technology called lenticular printing which combines two or more images attached to the back of a lenticular lens. Instead of these grooved lenses, the new display consists of 250,000 individual lenses with a diameter of two millimetres each. So unlike lenticular images that can only be viewed well at arm’s length, the new display allows 3D images to be seen clearly from a distance – the other side of the street for example – something that is sure to appeal to advertisers.

The new display developed by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in Freiburg, working jointly with the RealEyes company and the University of Kiel, owes its improved performance to its greater precision. When a finished picture is glued to the grooved lenticular lens the sheet cannot always be put in the exact position, negatively affecting the final effect. The new process sees the lenticular sheet glued to the photo paper before the image is applied.

Specialized software calculates a complete image for each of the 250,000 individual lenses based on the three-dimensional model of the overall image so that the lenses do not distort the resulting image. Each lens subsequently renders a perspective of the overall image that shifts toward or away from its neighbor to a negligible degree. For each of the 30,000 different viewing angles, the display delivers an independent view of the scene – therefore, the viewer sees one image that continuously changes with the viewing angle.

The researchers have already produced a prototype in A0 size (one meter square) and they expect the first advertising posters to appear over the course of the next year. These posters are expected to be larger and cover a space of approximately three to five meters (9.8 to 16.4 feet).

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

making the lens screen would be quite expensive I imagine. As the lenses are circular, presumably there would be up and down viewing available. Would the lenses still be 2mm on the giant posters? If so , how many millions would there be?


windykites the lens\'s are not circular, so only left / right changes are possible. Incidentalaly, Toys R us (UK) having been selling lenticular posters for ages now and some are VERY good!


hi. can anyone help me by letting me know as to how i can get this printing done on a poster. and from where can i get it done. had seen a rock band poster somewhere and it striked me. please help

Kawleen Singh

Most lenticular printing manufacturers are in China and they sell really cheap lenticular products. The problems are product quality tends to be low and you will have a hard time communicating with them on your requirements. In the US, I have used big3d.com and www.vicgi.com. Both companies are in California and they do make very high quality prints. Google them and you will find their contact.

Andrew Carter
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