When in Dome…

The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center Production Blog

Archive for November, 2010

In our new show that’s currently under production, there are a lot of very deliberate camera moves and turns. Attaching our old 5 camera rig to a motion path I found that there were a lot of problems that popped up. Namely whenever the camera would need to rotate Maya would often do strange calculations to get from one key to another (At least in forward kinematics keying). I needed to find a way to separate the different axis so I wouldn’t have to fight the rig.

What I came up with was our 5 camera rig built for a path!

What’s great about this for us is a couple things. With the X and Y axis separated we get a lot of control with no weird rotations in there. We have guides to show where the sweet spot is, at both 45º and 60º respectively. What I’m happiest with is a roll feature I put in. The roll is especially useful because I made it so that when you roll the camera, it stays centered on the sweet spot in both the 45º and 60º settings.

The only thing its missing is a look at constraint, which I hadn’t had the time to include. Here’s the hypergraph hierarchy:

And lastly the attributes as seen on the supermover:

The Mask attribute is to turn the useBackgroundShaders on and off, incase you want the render to not cut off the dome master.

What good is all this info without the file itself though to use and mess around with?

Well here it is!

http://www.moreheadplanetarium.org/whenindome/wp-content/uploads/2010/5camPath.ma

City engine

November 19, 2010 | No Comments | When in Dome

In the new show we’ve got in the pipe, one of the first elements on screen is a futuristic city. The job of tackling this flying through an unreal landscape of large modern sky scrapers and a smog filled city grid would only be possible if it could be generated procedurally. That is without modeling and meticulously placing every building and asset in the screen.After doing some research I chose to use the City Engine (http://www.procedural.com/).

The functionality of this software seemed promising. Be warned there is a steep learning curve if you want to start really customizing things. Once you’ve tackled how to implement the design elements, and what is going on behind the scenes, you start to get an better understanding. Our hope is this will be helpful in the future for other projects, and since it’s capable of importing street map data you could generate any real city you wanted. They offer a great set of educational discounts and plenty of out of the box functionality. I will write another assessment once I’ve had more time and experience with it, but for now if you’re interested in a dynamic city generator that is very robust this is definitely worth a look.


image is an example from www.procedural.com

Earth, Moon & Sun picked up the silver medal at the Astro Projection International Film Festival hosted by the Gwacheon National Science Museum in Gwacheondong, South Korea. More than 10,000 people in Seoul attended the festival, so we figure they got a pretty good sample group. Unfortunately, we didn’t place in either the Synchronized Swimming or Curling events, but we’re pretty happy nonetheless.

Gwacheon National Science Museum also decided to lease the show, which makes EMS the best selling show of 2010 in the Sky-Skan catalog! Woohoo!