3D Substrates – MGX Lenticular vs. 3D Bubble Sheets

In retail, direct mail, and manufacturing, companies are struggling to differentiate themselves from their rivals by utilizing eye-catching characteristics in their product offerings. As a digital printer, it is important to be able to offer clients materials and options that will help them stand out from their competitors. 3D substrates are an excellent way to help your customers literally “stand out” from the rest by displaying text and high-quality graphics that jump off the page or change images. Masterpiece Graphix currently stocks HP Indigo-compatible Lenticular and 3D Bubble sheets. Both plastic substrates are durable and extremely diverse, and are both applicable to a multitude of similar end-uses. However, there are advantages as well as limitations to consider when utilizing either substrate.

With lenticular sheets, you can produce a 3D effect, do 3D imaging, demonstrate movement with multiple frame animation, “flip” from one image to another, or “morph” two dissimilar images together, or any mix of the aforementioned processes. MGX Lenticular allows an image to be reverse-printed on the smooth side of the plastic on an HP Indigo S2000 press. The ink can then be laminated for additional image protection.

Masterpiece Graphix offers two types of in-stock Lenticular material: 75 LPI and 100 LPI Lenticular as 12”x 18” sheets. LPI, or lenticule per inch, determines the resolution capacity of the substrate. A higher LPI equals a higher resolution image. MGX 100 LPI Lenticular is a higher-quality substrate that is unavailable through other suppliers.

For any MGX Lenticular image effect to work, multiple images must be properly aligned, or interlaced, and the material must have a square, even cut prior to printing. Interlacing is when the multiple images that create the desired effect are “cut up” and strategically reassembled via specialized software to complete the visual illusion of depth or movement. A misaligned cut can slice into part of the morphed image which can ruin the desired finished effect. A perfectly parallel straight cut is guaranteed on all MGX Lenticular sheet products to ensure the quality of the finished image.

There are a few limitations in utilizing Lenticular in an application. MGX Lenticular sheets are only recommended for use on the HP Indigo S2000. Furthermore, specialized software such as HumanEyes or PhotoIllusion, is required in order to morph the images together and to create the finished piece.

3D Bubble Sheets
3D bubble synthetic sheets is an innovative material that when printed creates a 3-D effect that is similar yet different to the 3D look of lenticular, which can be utilized without costly software or art setup charges. In addition, 3D bubble sheets are compatible with any HP Indigo sheet press with a thick substrate upgrade.

Masterpiece Graphix currently stocks 3D Large Bubble 12”x 18” HP Indigo-compatible sheets.  The substrate is also available as a small bubble pattern by request. The look of the substrate reminds one of raindrops on a windowpane; the final effect creates the illiusion of 1-2” of depth, with images appearing at the front or back plane of this depth.

With 3D, text and images appear to float which creates a three-dimensional look similar to that of 3D lenticular. The substrate is optimized to be printable on either side, allowing printers to choose the desired finished look depending on which side of the material is printed on. If the  sheet is surface-printed, the floating text and image look is achieved with the printed image appearing to be in front of the bubbled material. If the image is reverse-printed, the “bubble” look of the material appears to be in front of the printed image.

Although images still “pop” off of the substrate with a 3D effect, 3D bubble sheets don’t have quite the versatility of lenticular. The substrate cannot demonstrate movement or morph between two dissimilar images like lenticular can. However, any HP Indigo sheet press user can utilize without specialized 3D software like HumanEyes. The substrate prints on any HP Indigo sheet press with a thick substrate upgrade, and is not limited for use only on the HP Indigo S2000 model.

Other custom 3D substrates are also available through Masterpiece Graphix. For substrate samples or more information on 3D substrates and how to apply them to a particular end-use, please contact your MGX sales rep.