When in Dome…

The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center Production Blog

Archive for July, 2010

As most of you know there are not very many production tools out there specifically designed for us Fulldome folk. So often times we have to get creative with what we have. Early on in my experiments with working in Fulldome, I created this little project. (download AE project here).

It takes the 3d space of After Effects and funnels it through several different cameras and then in a master comp stitches them together using the After Effects plug-in from Sky-Skan, DomeXF. I’m sure it can be done with the AE FullDome plug-in, just some of the settings will be different.

At the root is a 3d Scene.

This one scene is placed into 5-6 comps, then each of those comps gets a different camera.

The key to remember is to check the “Collapse Transforms” mind sweeper looking button on the layer in each camera comp.

These are the settings for each camera in each comp. Each Comps Dimensions should be 2048×2048 if you’re trying to create a full 4k final output. You could make them smaller, ie, 512×512 to make a 1k… as long as they’re a 1:1 ratio.

Now you just point the cameras in their respective comps based on these settings.

Now that you’ve got  your 5-6 different views of the AE3d Scene, you move those into 1 master stitch.

Each comp now a layer gets the DomeXF plug-in, with their respective settings, and then you’ve got a fisheye image of the 3d space in after effects.

Now something of note, I haven’t gotten the Down camera to work with the DomeXF, but I believe it works with the FullDome Plug-in.

I’ve recently started playing with some expressions so I can link the attributes of the DomeXF settings on each layer so I can adjust the dome tilt, though if you’re using the FullDome Plug-in that’s that’s pretty easy. You just link the dome tilt field  on each of the layers to either a slider, or to one common layer.

Hope this is helpful.



Being the small studio that we are, the members of our team are generalists in trade. Jack of all, master of none, we’ll wear whatever hats are needed for production to get the job done. This can naturally cause some difficulty when we need to wear those hats that calls for intensive scripting and planning, in this case ‘rigging’. In the last post I made, I focused on the facial rigging. A talking head can only take us so far, we need to have that body move as well. In order to save time, and give us more controls over our models we use The Setup Machine 2.

Being able to take these rigs and apply them to multiple characters of different body types is extremely helpful and a huge time-saver. Of course TSM2 doesn’t replace a good TD who could give you a very custom-made rig with controls you wouldn’t have otherwise, but for a low budget production with a small team like ours TSM2 gives us what we need.


http://www.anzovin.com/products/tsm2maya.html