4 Easy Steps to Making Old-Fashioned Lenticular Images from Your Photos

A lenticular is an image that appears differently depending on how you look at it. If you’ve ever seen a postcard or movie poster that changes when you look at it from the left vs. the right, you’ve seen a lenticular.

Lenticulars usually require a special plastic sheet consisting of many tiny convex lenses, but you can make a super simple one with just two photos and some paper.

They make great, unique gifts, and it’s a cool way to show off more than one photo (especially related ones) in a single frame.

And it’s as simple as slicing, printing, folding and enjoying! Read our tutorial to learn how to do it!

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The process is pretty simple, and the final result is really fun. We’ll be taking two photos, slicing them into strips in an image editor, then printing the alternating strips as one image which we’ll fold up. Although we do this in a computer, you can do the same thing by carefully cutting and pasting a real photo.

The Ingredients

  • Two images, both landscape, or both portrait (the higher the resolution, the better.)

  • Photoshop or the photo editing program of your choice.

  • A printer

  • Thick paper (cardstock works best)

Step 1: Choosing Your Images

Lenticulars are extra awesome when you use two photos that depict different states of the same thing. Here’s some ideas of what you could do.

  • A shot of the same location (your house, a park, the beach) one taken during the day and one at night.

  • Someone crouching down low to jump and then a shot of them mid-jump.

  • A close up on someones eyes – looking left in one shot and right in the other (think Mona Lisa’s eyes following the viewer).

  • A portrait of a pal smiling wide, and a portrait with his face covered in pie.

Step 2: Getting Your Photos Ready

Once you’ve chosen your photos, it’s time to slice them together. Before we explain how to do that, have a quick look at this diagram to get a general idea of what we’re going to be doing.

As you can see, your final lenticular will be as wide as both of your source images combined.

When you fold your lenticular, the effective width will shrink a bit since it’ll be scrunched up. So if you plan to frame this puppy, know that the final result is a bit variable, but an inch or two wider than your source image is about right.

Whew!

Ok, you’ve got your two photos ready. Now you need to make sure they’re the same size. Open them both up and make sure they have exactly the same height and width. (Best to measure it in pixels so you avoid any confusion.) Crop/resize as necessary to get them to be the same size.

STEP 3: Bringing Your Two Photos Together A Last!

With your two source photos ready, it’s time to create a new document for your lenticular.

Create a new file in Photoshop by clicking “File” -> “New…” from the menubar.
Set the height of your new document to the same as the height of your source photos, and the sum of your source photos’ widths. (So if each of our souce photos is 2,000 pixels wide, your lenticular should be 4,000 pixels wide.)

All set? Awesome.

With your blank document ready, it’s time to copy in your two source photos.
It’s a simple process, but mind the details!

You’ll need to copy and paste alternating strips from each of our source images into one new lenticular document. We used strips that were 10% of the width of the source image, and 100% of the image height. (If you’re using Photoshop, you can make things easier by choosing the selection tool and putting in fixed pixel dimensions for your selection in the tool options.)

When you’re done, it should look like this image.

Step 4: Fold it and Frame it!

With your image all spliced up, you’re nearly done! Just print and fold! You can try different kinds of paper, but we had best results with a mid-weight card stock. (It’s easier to fold and creases nicely.)

Fold your lenticular accordion-style, creasing wherever the strips of your two photos meet.

Your new lenticular will fit nicely in a standard frame with the glass removed, or you could use a shadow box frame which has enough depth to hold the folded image.

When framing, hold the image in place by tucking each end under the frame and securing with some tape.

Ta-da! You’re done!

Your lenticular makes a great gift, and a cool way to show off more than one photo in a single frame!

What’s Next?

When you’re done, check out the inspiring work of lenticular photographer Brian Loube.

Posted in DIY, Photojojo Original, Tutorials