Difficulties of Fulldome CGI


On top of all the typical bugs of 3D animation, we have the added aspect of dealing with fulldome problems. I hope that in communicating the sometimes insurmountable issues, we can help each other to make better shows. Personally I know that I am constantly having to make hack fixes to make the dome remain an immersive and fluid experience from scene to scene.

Sometimes I find it helpful to hear an infodump from someone that is deep in their own workflow. Since fulldome productions are often with very small teams, we are forced to deal with all sorts of problems not limited to 3D animation. We are generalists of CGI with a sensitive specialty in fulldome.

Below is my brainstorm of the huge assortment of things that arise during production. Many of these are particular to fulldome production… Which means that if you ask for help in the CGsociety forums, there will be interest but not always so much shared experience. But our community is often creating the same types of effects and environments. So I’m just laying this out there to show that our difficulties are shared.

  • Smooth fisheye camera animation
  • Flying through a star field
  • Displacement map planets
  • Star background
  • Transitions and handoffs between scenes, planning only goes so far
  • Scene workflow: conception to technical follow through to polishing
  • Compositing headaches
  • Keeping down file sizes and appropriate file formats
  • Animatic timing is important and hard
  • Linear workflow
  • Close up sun techniques
  • Particle woes, caching
  • Real data conversion/input
  • Fisheye lens options, hemicube, native fisheye in toolset
  • Texture map animation
  • Orbit trail techniques
  • Reaching the calculation precision limit of scale
  • Defishing for a trailer
  • Dailies or weeklies?
  • Bug list maintaining and updating, use google doc?
  • Science advisor demands
  • Keeping the sound in sync with iterating scenes
  • Workflow with freelancers
  • Atmosphere techniques
  • Star profile choice and the impact on other domes
  • Starfield backgrounds from photo or generated from DigitalSky?
  • The challenges of working between various 3D toolsets
  • Monster render times, the bane of existence
  • Editable scrolling credits is surprisingly tricky
  • Handing off between cameras of different scenes
  • When scenes change, global timecode adjusts for scenes, BLARG!
  • Dealing with huge jumps of series of scale
  • Fluids, fluids, fluids
  • Show title logo
  • Stitching video from multiple cameras
  • Keeping scenes in sync, narration to musical cues to visual cues
  • Concentric and Uni versions of shows
  • Planet clouds and shadow levels; blue earth saturation
  • Bump map light wrap
  • Gimball lock cameras AHHHHHHH
  • Server maintainence and woes
  • Sphere pole pinch
  • Renderfarm lockups
  • Integrating DigialSky renders with Maya renders
  • The challenge of creating a volumetric galaxy

4 thoughts on “Difficulties of Fulldome CGI

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