There are a few details that can cause your Lumii print not to look its best. These fall into three categories.
- The top and bottom layers are misaligned
- The print was blurred, smudged, not dark enough, or otherwise doesn't faithfully reflect the content in the PDF
- The spacing between the layers is wrong
Here are some tips for figuring out what the problem is, and solving it.
The top and bottom layers are misaligned
It can be hard to know what you're looking for the first time you align a Lumii display. The short answer is, "you'll just know" when it's aligned. If there are no other problems with your print, there should be a remarkable difference between a properly aligned print and a misaligned print. Make sure your print can be properly aligned, and practice it a few times before you apply any glue.
Here are a couple shots of a card with the layers aligned (left) and misaligned (right). Notice how even when viewed up close, the patterns in the aligned card seem to look smoother and more regular.
You should also see some realistic changes as you move your head back and forth in front of the card. For example, the dark sides of the letters on the right should be visible when you move your head to the right. If the patterns look smooth but the letters seem to pop in instead of out, you have the top layer on the bottom and vice-versa.
"It's the poor artist who blames his tools."
"An artist is only as good as his tools."
So maybe it is the printer's fault, after all? The patterns on your holiday card encode all the information necessary to create a high-res 3D scene. If the patterns aren't represented faithfully in the document that comes out of the printer, then the 3D effect will be reduced or destroyed.
First, make sure you're following all the guidelines in the Printer Settings Tips section. Second, some printers are finicky about settings or just poorly made. It's one thing to print "1200dpi" on the side of a printer box, its a whole other thing to actually be able to print at 1200dpi, or even 300dpi on real media. There are quite a few ways to get it wrong, and we've seen most of them while trying to print on transparent media. That's why we included a little tool to help diagnose problems with your print. Many of the issues below can be improved by tweaking the settings in your print driver, or installing the print driver tools provided by your printer manufacturer. However, not every printer is up to the task. If you can't make it work on your home or office printer (try a couple different ones), you can always take a trip to FedEx to have them print your Lumii holiday cheer for you. You'll probably be the first person to print out a light field display at your local FedEx location!
Not every transparency sheet is the same thickness. We've seen quite a range from just two or three thousandths of an inch to about ten thousandths. While your Lumii holiday printout has room for two spacer rectangles, in practice thinner transparency material will need more than two spacers.
If your 3D card is looking pretty flat even though your print quality looks good, then try adding one or two more layers of transparency material to your stack between the top and bottom patterns. We've prepared a handy sheet for you to print out if you want to be neat. Get the letter version here and the A4 version here. Otherwise, feel free to cut out some appropriately sized spacers free-hand.
If instead your card looks really 3D, but the image goes away when you move the card just a little, you can trade in some of that shiny pop-out effect for a wider viewing zone (called field-of-view, or FOV). You can do this by taking one spacer out (take-one-out, or TOO).
Still can't get it?
If you're at your wit's end, give us a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't promise we can solve your problem, but we know a good therapist.