3D Focus were the first to see Soliddd’s new lenticular glasses free 3D system that offers massive depth, super clear pictures and 60 views. We were seriously impressed.
The company’s CTO, Richard A. Muller, is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley and he created the ‘Soliddd equation” after years of research. From what 3D Focus has seen, this lenticular based system vastly improves on what is available now with sharp pictures, huge depth and wider viewing zones. This is due to a greater understanding of the optics according to Neal Weinstock, the Chief Executive Officer.
“We soon discovered the other lenses in the world had been highly inaccurate. Nobody realised just how good autostereo displays can be and so people were not trying to manufacture as accurately as they should be doing.” he told us.
The system offers a 10 degree viewing angle repeated several times across the overall viewing cone. Neal tells us that they have the capability to offer more views than others. Most offer eight or nine views but Soliddd’s close up lens typically has 60 views. These extra views can be used for both movement and depth simultaneously.
The system has only just become available and markets range from outdoor displays to small books such is the available size range “Our newest lens is meant for close-up viewing and you get several inches of depth from something that is just a few inches from your eyes. That is a different lens to something you would use for large scale posters on the street. For street posters you would need a good amount of depth. We are working on a six sheet for potential customers and for that we would have five feet of depth including 2.5 feet of negative and 2.5 feet of positive parallax”.
Whilst the quality of the 3D image is certainly the best 3D Focus has ever seen, what is the most impressive innovation is the Soliddd Replaceable Picture-Frame system. Until now, to produce a lenticular picture, an image is encoded according to the parameters of the lens (size, lenticules-per-inch, pitch etc). The lenticular lens is then permanently attached to the poster, usually through lamination. As the lens is the most expensive aspect of a lenticular poster, it is cost prohibitive to create new lenticular images in volume.
What Soliddd have patented is a system that allows the picture to sit behind the lens and can be changed by anyone without any training. This would be a huge benefit to a cinema chain for example. Once the Soliddd boxes are installed (which can be either reflective or backlit and do not affect the quality of 2D images), 3D movie posters and advertisements from agencies can be replaced by customer service staff time and time again. This provides extra business for printers who are able to work with the Soliddd equation.
Interestingly, Neal says it was not one of the original goals of the system “If you understand the optics and you make a very accurate lens then you get some benefits we hadn’t really realised. One of those benefits is you can achieve air gap pictures which people have been able to do for quite some time on a one off basis but not reliably on a volume manufacturing basis. We are so accurate that the printer doesn’t have to align and calibrate every individual print or few prints to a slightly different setting for different lenses which is the normal way of operating now with lenticulars. It also means you can have replaceable picture frames for sale at five and dime stores and people can just have their photos converted to autostereo 3D and place their photos behind the lens”.
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There are several software packages used by professionals to create high end lenticular images such as Triaxes 3D MasterKit as used by experts like Martin Hausler and William Watling. Some lenticular image creators use Adobe PhotoShop with bespoke scripts. So how will designers and printers create images using the Soliddd equation?…
“We like the idea of lots of people making art for what we do. We are in the business of selling lenses and replaceable picture frames. We will look at each of the design systems one after another and see if they are doing things right enough to work with what we do. I think we have to go to the software companies one at a time and talk to them about enabling a software plugin. In terms of the creation of the art it’s not all that different from creating art that you have already done for other people’s lenticulars it’s just we get much better depth, much better viewing angles and much better focus. One of the things that I am really proud of is that we are getting tremendously accurate focus with our close viewing lens so this could be something on the cover of a book and you will be able to read very fine type where you simply can’t see that stuff with any normal lens.”
This is just the start for Soliddd who believe they could also revolutionise the autostereoscopic display market. According to Neal: “The problem with lencticulars on screens is you need a lot of pixels for 3D and you need even more for autostereo 3D. The more views you have the more pixels you need so there are a couple of innovations that we have patented that extend the pixel count and we think those are more serious properties than our Soliddd equation for lenses. We think we can multiplex pixels by between 3 and 12 and even more and that is what we are working on our prototypes and I hope you will see the results in several months”.
SoliDDD will be showcased at the Advertising Week, starting today in New York. Soliddd is represented in Europe by Lenticular Europe. UK companies are currently investigating where and how it can be used so we could start seeing the first implementations in the UK soon. We were present during a demo of the product for a well known advertising company and they were very impressed. What will determine whether it becomes ubiquitous is if advertisers jump on board. It certainly grabs peoples interest and studies show glasses free 3D campaigns increases dwell time and sales (click here to read about a recent significant increase in banana sales after Chiquita installed a glasses free 3D screen).
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Soliddd (The word Solid means stereo in Greek) represents a new direction for Jake Purches. Jake has a lot of experience in the design and production of lenticular imagery, for blue chip clients. He told 3D Focus…
“Soliddd for me represents a total game changer in lenticular image production. I have been pushing the envelope of possibility in lenticular for the last 14 years, and along comes the Soliddd equation, which has achieved the unachieveable. Radically more accurate lens patterns, with a massive increase in depth perception. Where as, on a very high resolution printer, it was possible to achieve about a 100 cm of depth plus or minus parallax, with Soliddd it’s actually easy to achieve a metre, or more. Conventional lenticular 3D has always had a depth compression issue as a result of its limitations. A ball would always be 'squished' in the depth plane. True volumetric depth is now easily achievable with the Soliddd system, such that a portrait or a model is seen not only realistically but with unprecedented clarity. Gone has the 'lenticular' look now. The results are more akin to holography, and better, as it's full colour!'
For more information visit the Soliddd website.
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