Texture is an important element of the world around us. It can convey information about the object at hand.
Although embossing has been used in a limited way, to enhance the appearance of greeting cards and book covers
for example, texture is something that printed material traditionally lacks. Recently, techniques have been
developed that allow the incorporation of texture in printed material. Prints made using such processes are similar to
traditional 2D prints but have added texture such that a reproduction of an oil painting can have the texture of oil
paint on canvas or a picture of a lizard can actually have the texture of lizard skin. It seems intuitive that the added
dimensionality would add to the perceived quality of the image, but to what degree? To examine the question of the
impact of a third dimension on the perceived quality of printed images, a survey was conducted asking participants
to determine the relative worth of sets of print products. Pairs of print products were created, where one print of each
pair was 2D and the other was the same image with added texture. Using these print pairs, thirty people from the
Rochester Institute of Technology community were surveyed. The participants were shown seven pairs of print
products and asked to rate the relative value of each pair by apportioning a specified amount of money between the
two items according to their perception of what each item was worth. The results indicated that the addition of a
third dimension or texture to the printed images gave a clear boost to the perceived worth of the printed products.
The rating results were 50% higher for the 3D products than the 2D products, with the participants apportioning
approximately 60% of each dollar to the 3D product and 40% to the 2D product. About 80% of the time participants
felt that the 3D items had at least some added value over their 2D counterparts, about 15% of the time, they felt the
products were essentially equivalent in value and 4% of the time they rated the 3D product as having lower value
than the 2D product. The comments of the participants indicated that they were clearly impressed with the 3D
technology and their ratings indicated that they were might be willing to pay more for it, meaning advertisers and
package designers will be interested in using this technology in their products. As 3D printing technology emerges
it will add yet another dimension to the work of print quality analysis.