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Art that Moves

Lenticular imaging combines art and technology.

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Digital artist Bonny Lhotka blends traditional artistic techniques with digital imaging and new technology to create a complex visual experience. Lhotka uses lenticular imaging to create depth and movement in artwork that has been used both as fine art and a commercial medium.

The lenticular-imaging process is time-consuming — Lhotka estimates 40-60 hours per project — but the results grab attention. "It’s a compelling medium, particularly for signage, because people go back and look twice," Lhotka says.

The artist has been creating lenticular inkjet prints for approximately four years — since software and lenses could create the combined 3-D and animated effects. With the technology, Lhotka now spends half of her time working on lenticular pieces and the other half creating flat digital projects.

In the last year, Lhotka completed three large, lenticular-based projects. Each of her "4-D" lenticular pieces blends the depth of 3-D, with an added element of animation. For WholeLife, a 6 x 6-ft. piece for the Wellington E. Webb Municipal building in Denver, the background "moves" with the viewer.

To accomplish this effect, Lhotka took digital photographs of the backlit, plastic-covered, interior windows, while the building was under construction, to serve as one background view. She created a second background — which appears to be the snow-capped mountains of Colorado — by manipulating plaster into a landform that she painted and photographed.

Lhotka used a Microtek 9800XL scanner to scan a section of one of her paintings to create the look of the Earth in the center of the artwork. She took 23 digital photographs of a collection of moss rocks to add to the piece, and she created a grid based on Denver’s street map, which appears over the top of the final image.

Having completed the digital photography, Lhotka digitally embedded the separate images into one. Using Adobe Photoshop image-creation software, Lhotka saved a series of each image’s variations in separate files. She then interlaced those files using 3-D Genius software and printed them on the Mutoh Falcon II using PhotoScript RIP. To create the 3-D effect, a lenticular lens is laminated to the printed image to manipulate the frame the viewer sees when moving by the image.

Bonny Lhotka works from her studio in Boulder, CO. She is a founder of the digital-artist collaborative Digital Atelier. The collaborative, including fellow founders Karin Schminke and Dorothy Krause, conducts research on digital imaging for fine-art applications. See more of her work online at www.lhotka.com or www.digitalatelier.com.

The three artists produced the lenticular image that graced ST‘s November 2001 issue. Their work was also featured in an article in ST‘s February 1999 issue, page 96.

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