You’ve officially finished a fulldome show. Now you’ve gotta get it out into the world. So you need a defished trailer that anyone can watch, not just the fulldome community. So you need to warp your domemasters to be flat.
This tutorial assumes you have the Navegar Fulldome Plugin for After Effects. Though I’m sure if you’re using other fulldome plugins (DomeXF, Digistar Virtual Projector) that the concepts will transfer.
Here is the big picture concept: We want to take domemasters (azimuthal equidistant / fisheye) as the input, change its placement on the dome, and then output to domemasters (azimuthal equidistant / fisheye).
We have actually used this technique on more than just a trailer. We defished our whole 4k show and ended up with a 2708x1523px ready for flat screens. We also use the technique heavily when we are making a unidirectional version of the show, yet instead of defishing we are moving pre-rendered content to be best visibile in uni domes. Even still, sometimes we are forced to re-render a Maya scene because the springline is visible after moving the pre-rendered footage.
Of course this process isn’t perfect. But in almost all cases it’s better than simply cropping a domemaster directly. But the top-left and top-right corners will show a little warping. In other words, content in the corners areas will be slightly convex. But for the untrained eye it can be hard to spot. In fact, we just made a sale to a flat screen…
So this process will result in the trailer below. Once you understand the concept, you can then further refine the process by animating the altitude and rotation so that the best content is always within the green crop region. This takes quite some finesse but can really help when when your landing on a planet; you want the planet to remain circular while you’re flying towards it but then you want the horizon to be flat once you have landed.
— To squish more content into the 1080p crop zone, try adjusting the ‘Spherical Angle’ within the Navegar Fulldome Plugin. This will in effect increase the FOV and therefore allow you to see more within the cropped zone.
— If you have v3 of the fulldome plugin, the altitude will have a max limit of 90. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the defish technique. Instead make your attitude: 0 and azimuth: 0. Now it will appear upside-down but you can deal with that by pre-comping it.)
Update – 2016-03-26
— The defish technique is made even easier by using the Domemaster Fusion Macros. Below is a tutorial video in Fusion.