One of my favorite things is to fly through a star field in the dome. It’s those particular moments when the dome seemingly disappears and your imagination takes over. It’s truly a majestic and thought provoking experience. But how can you make a star field thats easy to manipulate and renders efficiently?
In the spirit of creating a star field that is reusable but still realistic, we chose to mimic the star distribution of a main sequence star field. Of course it’s all editable if you need. But for all practical purposes this template works beautifully for a flight between star systems. You just need to choose the density of stars.
We decided to go with four different star colors that are the foundation for all the star sprites. They are designed to simulate the look of Sky-Skan’s DigitalSky stars since we use it as a basis for the star globe. You would think that only 4 different star color images being repeated thousands of times on the star sprites wouldn’t be enough variability. But the truth is that within the dome it’s all about the immersion of flying among the stars. Everyone is focused on the grand sense of scale.
Maya Scene Source – fisheye image / rendered with Domemaster3D
So you want to dive into creating fulldome content? Get ready for a wild and weird experience. You’re going to need a camera with a fisheye lens. Call it what you like: fisheye, fulldome, or domemaster… They all refer to the same thing.
Below is a collection of the many different softwares which support fisheye.
(For an improved version of this star globe, please see Background Stars v2.)
Do you need night sky stars with accurate magnitudes and a good looking milky way for the background of your whole Maya scene? Do you want 360 degrees of coverage without any stitch marks, seams, or pole pinching? Well here is what I call the ‘star globe’. (Named out of ease for communicating with my team.)
Just import it, point-constrain it to your camera, and scale the star globe to surround your entire scene. This insures that the star globe will follow the cameras position but not its rotation. For a final render, we typically use preview quality settings and don’t have any aliasing/blinking of the stars. Fisheye camera typically at 500 focal length to shortcut the grey blurry line problem, but it depends how big you’ve scaled the star globe (you’ll know easily if the stars look blurry and weird).
Also, make sure to check the light linking of the star globe so that there are no lights attached. This is because the star globe material has the texture set to incandescence. This insures that it will look always look the same without having to worry about other light sources accidentally brightening the stars.
maya scene (using mental ray, redshift, vray, maya software) – star globe