You’ve undoubtedly gotten wind of the 3D mania that has taken over both Hollywood as well as the consumer electronic world in the last year or so. While we are starting to see more and more 3D cameras hit the market, we haven’t seen 3D printing solutions popping up with quite the same frequency.
If you happen to have purchased a 3D camera, or are thinking about taking the plunge, we thought we’d briefly run down a few of the options out there for turning those 3D images into prints. You should also know that you don’t necessarily need a 3D camera to make a 3D print. Some services can do the job with 2D images.
3D Lenticular Prints
Tracer Imaging offers a service we’ve told you about previously that allows you to upload 2D images to their site and turn them into a variety of lenticular and 3D prints. The White Plain, NY-based company has also announced partnerships with imaging retailers H&H Color Labs and Fujifilm to offer their services to conusmers. More retail partnerships are expected later this year. The prints we’ve eyed are impressive.
Kodak 3D Inkjet Printer
Kodak’s latest inkjet printer, though still in demo mode, will enable you to both create and print a 3D image. As we posted earlier, the prints we eyed were interesting, though you need the cyan/magenta 3D glasses to get the effect. To create a 3D image you take a photo of the subject with any digital camera then shift the camera to the right about three inches and take another picture. The software in the printer does the rest and moments later the print is ready for viewing.
Kodak believes the printer will be priced around $100 when it hits stores later this year. While the demo at the CES Show was certainly fun and interesting we’re a bit baffled by it all – without the glasses you are left with rather blurry, cyan/magenta prints, and it’s hard to see a very practical use for it, at least for now. Nevertheless, Kodak has indicated that all of its photo printers will be able to print 3D images thanks to its new 3D software. Incidentally you can simply use the software to create a 3D image, even if you don’t print it.
Fuji’s 3D Print Service
Not yet available at U.S. retail, but we are told that news is forthcoming, Fuji currently offers a 3D print service online at for users of their Real3D digital cameras ($499). Again, the results we’ve seen look terrific. They also sell a 3D viewer (the Real3D V1) that allows you to upload images captured with the 3D camera to view in 3D, sans glasses.
Supply & Demand
There aren’t a lot of option when it comes to printing 3D images because there aren’t a lot of 3D cameras on the market. It’s anyone’s guess at this point whether 3D will really be the “next big thing” but we’ll be keeping a close eye on the new products and services available for making the most of your 3D images.