Don’t you dare call lenticular 3D composited shots a gimmick!

Yikes! I posted a recent comment on LinkedIn as a response to someone in the lenticular industry that really got their nose out of joint when I suggested that photoshop image cutouts with displacement and aftereffects composites and step and shoot camera systems were a gimmick. He got so upset that he was compelled to strike back and comment that some early bird photographs that I took with one of my early camera system prototypes “didn’t have very much 3D and the color was not very good”.  Well, there I am standing defeated with that rhetorical comeback! ;^)

What is interesting is that the bird photographs had precise 3D that exactly matched what the naked eye was able to perceive. Now, maybe he was referring to the first proof that they did where they used a lenticular lens with a wide viewing angle (this greatly diminishes 3D because you see multiple image perspectives in both eyes).  But I rejected that proof (surprised that they would even suggest such a wide viewing angle lens). This company did do a second proof with a suitable narrow viewing angle lens overlay. It had the correct depth and did indeed match the naked eye view of the scene.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt that neither proof had “very much 3D”. This is because the holy grail for lenticular printing companies is in your face depth. It isn’t about recreating reality or producing something natural with nuanced depth as is perceived in the real world.

Now I referred to this as a gimmick because to me, having pictures with elements that have artificial depth in order to “be impressive” is what I define as a gimmick.  Indeed, in the dictionary one definition is: “something designed to attract extra attention or interest” and that is what I meant.

This IN YOUR FACE IS BETTER idea of lenticular is pervasive. My goal and humble opinion is that images that reflect what we see in the real world can have more meaning because our brains can interpret them with the context that our brains have from looking at the real world. When I evaluate one of my photographs I ask myself: “Does this look like what I saw with my naked eyes?” I don’t think about whether or not it has enough 3D effect. I think about whether or not it depicts the scene accurately and naturally.

My feeling is that before we embark on embellishing 3D we should first understand how to use it to produce accurate true to life imagery. Once we have that mastered, then of course as an artistic expression all things are possible just as they are in real photography where different films are used and different Photoshop filters and effects are applied to the image.

It is like learning the acoustic guitar and directly hearing the vibration of the strings and understanding those relationships before taking up the electric guitar with fuzz box effects and stacks of Marshall amplifiers.

So, I don’t have much of an axe to grind with regards to this fellow. When I received my print run from his company it was not representative of the proof that was provided and they agreed to take the whole print run back.  They told me I was too picky because I felt the colors were muted and muddy. They told me that I should not have expected the prints to look like the proof. Interesting that this fellow commented that “the color was not very good”. That was my feeling exactly and fortunately I was able to achieve color that I found more asthetically pleasing (but still not perfect) from another company.  These are the facts and they should not be construed as in any way negative. Indeed, they took the print run back and acknowledged that the print did not look like the proof.  These are the facts. Also, a fact is that I think compared to the work I am doing now that the bird photographs are not good. They were taken with consumer grade camera optics.  I am selling them for $12.95 and I think that represents their true value as compared to what I am producing now.

I have stopped posting the above mentioned thread on linkedIn because I’m not going to change this guy’s mind and he will keep commenting my posts forever.  I don’t agree with his mindset and I’m sure that’s fine with him because he doesn’t agree with mine.



Filed under 3D Photography

2 responses to “Don’t you dare call lenticular 3D composited shots a gimmick!

  1. Hi Almont,

    I stumbled into your blog and thought I’d leave a few comments. I’ve worked in lenticular printing for many years and the why-doesn’t-the-proof-look-like-the-final-production situation is legendary. Mostly because the proof generated for a client to approve often uses a methodology other than litho offset and there is no good way to dumb down the system to give a litho representation. You get the retouched overseas bride photo in the mail, say yes, then you meet what’s-her-name face to face at the courthouse. Hey, there’s a Starbuck’s over there…let’s talk. I always hate it when I get a chocolate rabbit at Easter thinking it is solid, and the cold reality that sets in when I bite hard onn its ears. I am glad you, as a fine artist are exploring lenticular. Fine art helps to legitimatize an emerging medium like lenticular. Lenticular offers the ability to enhance an idea rather than redefine it…and this is where understanding the limits of the medium is crucial. Where would I go to see some of your 3D work?

    • I don’t have any of my work on display in Minnesota yet but will advise as soon as it is. There are several retailers evaluating things so it might not be too long. Stay tuned!

      I’ve had many discussions with people in the lenticular game all across the country and in England, Germany and Australia. Right or wrong, I am taking a very unique approach and after much research, I am rejecting the premise of what people are doing with the technology and blazing new pathways that I hope will have an impact in the way autostereoscopic imagery made and presented.

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