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Is it lenticular or just a piece of plastic?

All lenticulars are not created equal. Our company has extensively researched lenticular lens for the last 12 years. The only 100% repeatable optical quality lens that we have found in the world is in Japan and made by Toppan.

All other lenticular lenses on the market are not made with the same rigid optical standards as Toppan. These other lenticular lenses are made using the same type of plastic extruders that make the diffusers in a common overhead light where close tolerance is not an issue. The Toppan lens is the only lens that passes the “Parallel Test” and “Viewing Distance Test”. These tests determine whether a lens is of optical-grade quality or just a plastic light diffuser. We use the Toppan lens exclusively because we prefer not to deliver a defective product or allow our customers to use a lens that does not meet our own standards for production.

Guaranteed Lenticular Lens? Not until a lens passes the following tests.
Test No. 1 “The Parallel Test”.

All printers print rows of “Parallel” pixels so it is very important to have a “Parallel Lens” to match. This test is used to determine if the lenticules across an entire sheet are parallel to one another. For example, when testing a 48 x 96 inch lens, we make a file 48 inches wide x 96 inches high at the pitch of the desired lens. We insert registration lines (at least 8-10 pixels wide, based on 400 dpi) every six inches across an image for a total of seven registration lines running the entire length of 96 inches. This file can be output on a Lambda, Lightjet 5000, or ink jet. This image is placed on a light table and secured with masking tape. The lens is put on top of the print. A piece of one-half inch thick glass or clear plastic is placed on top to keep the lens in contact with the print. We register the lens along either the left or right outside registration line. The outside registration should go on and off at the same time from top and bottom as we move our viewing angle laterally across the entire sheet. If the lines do not go on and off, then it would be unwise to use this lens for any
production run. This basic test is easy to perform; if a lens passes here, go on to the next test.

Test No. 2 “Viewing Distance Test”
All lenticular-capable printers place down the same size pixel each time, based on the resolution that is selected. It is very important that the width and focal length (depth) of each lenticule is consistent and identical in order to match the pixels made by the printer. In a production environment, this is the critical factor in maintaining a consistent viewing distance on each print that is laminated to the screen. Toppan lenticular is the only lens we know that meets or exceeds this requirement.

the following test can be performed on any lenticular screen to see if each lens maintains the same Viewing Distance for every print:

1. Use the same 2-3 Flip interlaced file each time you print. Print on the same substrate material each time.
2. Use the same thickness of optically clear adhesive each time.
3. Pick the widest viewing distance range (ie. 2-8 feet). Record it.
4. Select 50 lenses from the same batch, or from different batches.
5. Laminate each print to a lens and verify that the viewing distance is the same as established range and check for ghosting. Ghosting can appear if the lenticules are not of consistent width or focal length across the lens sheet.
6. Place the same lens on a variety of prints to establish print consistency. [You will find out how important it is to maintain the correct viewing distance after you produce fifty 30”x 40” prints and find out that 30 of the images flip at 20+ feet, instead of the 2-6 feet that are specified on the Purchase Order.]

To protect your interest and that of your client, this type of test should be performed prior to taking on a job, unless the company is using lens made and guaranteed by Toppan. Each lens should have exactly the same viewing distance and the entire registration line should go on at the same time. We do not recommend using any lens for production that does not pass this test.

Inconsistent lens is expensive-- even if it’s free!
We use only Toppan lens for production because we have found no other lenses which pass our two basic
tests. We are proud to use Toppan made lens in our production, which is backed by a 2 hundred year old,
nine billion dollar company that has been making lenticular lens for over forty years! When choosing
lenticular imaging, choose the only company with a tested total lenticular solution -- Lenticular Image LLC
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