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These Lenticular Murals Will Give You a New Appreciation for Insects

Photographer’s stunning work brought to life by a Pennsylvania print shop.

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This project won a 2023 Best of Wide Format award from our sister publication, Big Picture. See all of the winners here.

Print Shop: Color Reflections | colorreflections.com
Location: Philadelphia
Tools and Supplies: 3M Controltac IJ180Cv3 film, 3M Scotchcal Matte Overlaminate 8520, 6-mm black Sintra PVC board, HP Latex 3600 press, EFI Vutek H5 flatbed, Zünd G3 L-2500 and G3 3XL-1600 digital cutters, Miller Weldmaster T112 hot air welder and Miller Weldmaster T300 Flex Welding Machine.

YOU MAY THINK twice about grabbing the fly swatter the next time you find an insect in your home after exploring Microsculpture: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss from the collections of Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Now on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the British photographer’s stunningly detailed work is the product of a groundbreaking technique that involves capturing nearly 8000 individual images under strobe lights. Local PSP Color Reflections helped bring the work to life by spreading the microscopic insect forms across large-scale, lenticular murals and photos up to nine feet tall.

In this company, the museum found a PSP that could handle the quality, precision, layout, and trimming perfection required for such a detailed job. To achieve the desired lenticular effect, the shop coordinated with the installation’s conceptual and graphic designer to survey the custom-built wall and to test and refine file and print settings. The result was “life-like quality, vivid color, and perfect contrast from the jet-black background,” Darren LoPrinzi, account manager at Color Reflections, says. “This exhibit was all about quality photography … [highlighting] the photographer’s niche macro work at close range with tiny insects. If our prints were pixelated, soft, or dull, the entire exhibit would be a failure.”

Color Reflection’s production team imaged nearly 800 square feet of graphics, printing the lenticular murals onto 3M Controltac IJ180Cv3 film with an HP Latex 3600 press and finishing with 3M Scotchcal Matte Overlaminate 8520. Individual print panels of various insects were direct printed with an EFI Vutek H5 flatbed onto 6-mm black Sintra PVC board with a flood white background. All the graphics were then machine-cut on Zünd cutters and Miller welders, adding z-clips and spacers on the back for install.

“Our team’s ability to accurately reproduce the fine pigmented scales, velvet-like surface textures, saw-sharp mandibles, swirling patterns, and iridescent colors of the insects was a true testament to our skill and attention to detail,” LoPrinzi says. “The exhibit’s photographs … were brought to life in stunning detail and vibrancy on our lenticular murals and high-resolution photo panels. To walk into this exhibit in person, it is nothing short of stunning.”

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