Archives for posts with tag: teachnology

When I first started working in the fulldome environment, one of my biggest frustrations in the dome was the inevitable washing out of images. At IAIA, our 24′ digital dome currently has 6 – PLUS U7 projectors. Each of these projectors has 3500 ANSI with a contract ratio of 2000:1. Add this low contrast ratio to the photon splash that occurs in a spherical theater and images that look gorgeous on a monitor become lifeless on the dome. High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques solve the problem.

The average human eye sees at about 10,000:1 contrast ratio. A high end DSLR camera shoots a single image at around 2000:1 contrast ratio. Place this images in the dome with a projection system of 2000:1 and add photon splash and the image washes out to about 500:1 (just a guess, not an actual measurement). The details of the images are simply lost in translation. My first approach in attempts to solve this problem was to increase the contrast and the saturation of the image. Although this would help, it still left me completely frustrated.

While reviewing the materials for the highly anticipated xRez training session, I began to review the techniques they would be teaching. High Dynamic Resolution immediately caught my eye. While in Portland’s Powell’s Books, I picked up two books; Practical HDR by Jack Howard and Practical HDR by David Nightingale. Through these two texts I began to see the world and the images I shoot in a completely different light. Not only has this process saved my photographs for the dome, it has enhanced my overall photographic skills for all mediums.

After learning about HDR, I immediately began to shoot bracketed photos with my Canon x3i using the automated settings in the menu. I tried Photoshop’s Merge to HDR Pro with fair results. Then I downloaded a trial of Photomatrix Pro. Within 10 minutes I purchased the full version and was hooked.

My first HDR photo. Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon.

Some people say that HDR is just a fad technique and things look to fake and overly illustrated, but take this image and place it on a digital dome and it is an excellent solution. There are many variations within HDR tonemapping techniques from illustrative to realistic. My tastes tend towards more realistic results, but I find some images call for the more grungy illustrated look.

Single shot

HDR photo

Fall 2011, the first assignment my students tackled in the Digital Dome Production I course was shooting HDR photos using a Canon x3i and a Sunex 5.6mm f/5.6 Super Fisheye lens. The assignment taught students to begin to visual the sphere and understand placement of images on the dome. They experimented with angles, perspectives, and various subjects. At the same time, they were learning HDR and creating stunning images that popped on the dome.
IAIA Tutorial on shooting HDR

Student Images

IAIA Dorms by Bryan Akipa

Railyard by Fernando Charley

Bridge by Jessie Bennett

Wood by Louva Hartwell

Duck Pond by Joseph "Seph" Turnipseed

From this foundation, my student developed skills in 360° spherical panos and 360° horizontal panos all using the HDR process. I am very interested in exploring HDR video processes and am currently developing ways to increase contrast in video for the digital dome. Look for more posts in the future with these tests.

For more information on HDR, check out
Wikipedia
A Versatile HDR Video Production System
And you know a web search will find all kinds of wonderful information.

Digital Dome @ IAIA has recently had the pleasure of meeting Klaus Dufke who is teaching Motion Graphics at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in the Design Department. Our Dome Director, Ethan Bach, discovered this program through the call for work for the Currents @ the Digital Dome 2011 show, which took place on June 11. Two students projects were submitted from the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) and both projects were accepted into the show. Impressed by the work, Ethan contacted the professor, Klaus Dufke, who was more than willing to share his information. Turns out that UAS not only turns out interesting student work, but they have created a virtual dome testing software rightly named, DomeTester.

The DomeTester is a previsualization tool that takes flat images and places them on a three dimensional dome object that can navigate various perspectives of the virtual dome. This tool is amazing and will be a great help in creating work, teaching about the dome, and working with artists who do not have direct access to a dome. Before even looking at the software, Ethan was warned to “handle with care” as the DomeTester is still in development and has a hard time handling the computer memory.

This tool is easy to use, extremely helpful and accurate, and will become a staple in teaching courses here at the Digital Dome @ IAIA. As we were warned, the application is a bit RAM intensive. Our computer’s fan ran high while the software was running. I would recommend using this software for short intervals until the processing issue is handled. This should by no means keep anyone from using this tool to its full extent.

DomeTester is a freeware for Mac, Windows, and Linux. More information on DomeTester can be found on this translated link.

Attendees watching Digital Dome Works

We thank all the participants  and attendees for our Event at Currents 2011.Overall it was a major success with over 100 people in attendance for the 3 hour event.

This is the first time that IAIA Digital Dome has hosted a public new media event displaying international and national artists. With it’s success at our backs we are already in the the planning stages for more public events where people from all over the world can submit their works. We will be posting these calls for work and artist in residence as they develop. 

Our Digital Dome at the Institute of American Indian Arts offers a variety of innovative space ideal for research, video production, full-dome production, special events, fund-raising events, and events that support our mission of combining science, art, and technology.

List of Artists That Particpated Below:

DIGITAL DOME WORKS
Ethan Bach, Charles Veasey (USA) www.ethanbach.com www.charlesveasey.com
David Colagiovanni (USA) www.colagiovanni.net
Bonnie Lane (Australia) www.bonnielane.net
Jonathan Strawn, Allison Hagerman (USA)http://finearts.unm.edu/artslab.htm
University of Applied Sciences – Potsdam http://design.fh-potsdam.de/
Daniel Wiek, Moritz Degan (Germany)
Lea Weber-Schafer, Julia Weisner (Germany)
UNM Students http://finearts.unm.edu/artslab.htm
DataMiner, Mitchell Marti (USA)
Mind Glitch, Ruben Olguin (USA)
IAIA Students – www.iaia.edu
Sydney Davis (USA)
Bryan Akipa (USA)
IAIA STUDENTS & STAFF -DOME STILLS
Louva Hartwell  (Navajo)
Ethan Bach
Jamelyn Ebelecker (Santa Clara)
Daniel Grignon (Menominee Nation)
Aaron Natewa (Zuni)
SINGLE CHANNEL ARTISTS
Orlando Leibovitz, Andrew Elijah Edwards, and James Brody (USA) www.orlandoleibovitz.com
Javier Felipe Gonzales Echeverri (Columbia)
Florian-Ayala Fauna (USA)
Leena Minifie (Canada) IAIA Student (Tsimshian, Gitxaala) http://www.storiesfirst.ca/

Eric Hanson and Greg Downing from xRez will be in New Mexico in July 2011 to share their first of its kind techniques for  gigapixel 360° panoramas in the fulldome environment.

xRez specializes in “creative imaging and visual effects practice which explores the intersection of high-end computer graphics and advances in digital photography.” During this workshop, Eric and Greg will show us how to create similar effects as in their fulldome show, Crossing Worlds (as seen below). The techniques includes “new technologies arising in computational photography such as multi-spectral imaging, photogrammetry, terrain modeling, photo-clouds, [and] polynomial texture mapping.”

From the Digital Dome @ IAIA, Ethan Bach and Carlos Peinado along with students will participate in this dynamic hands on three day training. From UNM ARTSLab, David Beining, Hugh Walker, and John Strawn will be in attendance. Each will be trained as trainers in this technique in order to pass the skills along to students, fulldome producers, computer scientists, animators, and artists.