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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fulldome Professional Development Webinar this Monday & Tuesday

From David Beining here at ARTS Lab:

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

I'm writing in support of the unique opportunity you'll find below: It's a wonderful program dedicated to fulldome-based professional development in computer graphics as well as data-based archeological and cultural studies.  The presenting team, led by Kevin Cain, is an exceptional cast that have much to share with the fulldome producing community and the resources they're making available have great value in both production and research.  If you saw Kevin's talk at DomeFest2007, you'll have an idea of how clear the communication will be and how exciting the work is.  

Because of the usual bandwidth issues, there's a limited number of 'live' connections available and we invite those of you interested in fulldome content (and the many related tools and techniques Kevin and his team will discuss) to attend with us here at ARTS Lab.  The ARTS Lab will be hosting a group of interested participants here in our space (contact us at if you'd like to attend). If you'd be interested in hosting a group at another venue here in New Mexico, please let us know and we'll help make arrangements.

The team here at ARTS Lab has had a great collaboration with Kevin and the folks at INSIGHT, and this is an excellent opportunity to take the continued success of NM-developed fulldome content even further.

A Chabot Space & Science Center Production

 June 28th & 29th


Chabot Space & Science Center and INSIGHT are pleased to invite you to participate in the Maya Skies Online Masters' Class - a  FREE 2 day Webinar designed to introduce full dome producers and humanities researchers to the production tools and archive material available at the dissemination website.

The dissemination project, which was funded by a supplemental grant from the NSF, stemmed from our desire to share with others the expertise and learning -  both in terms of production techniques and archaeological archive material - that were acquired during the production of Tales of the Maya Skies.

Day one
of the Webinar is designed to help full dome producers produce immersive media from real-world environments.  Day two launches the Maya Skies Archive, a freely accessible repository of archaeological data from Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.  Both days keep the practical needs of full dome producers and humanities researchers front and center. 

The sessions are open to all - spaces limited to the first 100 applicants. Please RSVP to the address below and we will send you confirmation of your participation and details on how to join the Webinar:

RSVP, Chabot Space & Science Center:

A complete schedule is below - all times listed are Mountain Standard Time (adjustments made locally here at ARTS Lab).

The Maya Skies Online Masters' Class is presented by the Maya Skies production team from INSIGHT, an archaeological visualization group, listed at the end of this message.


Day 1: Monday, June 28

Session 1
Introduction to Data-Driven Full Dome Production I:  Pipeline Overview
Chris Bernal, Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Todd Gill, Jun Nagaoka

The full dome is highly immersive.  As a format, full dome excels at presenting real-world places with great immediacy.  But it's not simple to create realistic environments that hold up on the dome, especially for producers with limited budgets and experience.  This session introduces a pipeline for capturing data from the real world for use in full dome media.  2D and 3D reality capture are discussed, drawing on examples of time-lapse panoramic photography and 3D laser scanning.  While aimed at first-time dome producers, more experienced creators will also benefit.

Session 2
Introduction to Data-Driven Full Dome Production II:  Tech Walkthrough
Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Todd Gill, Jun Nagaoka

This session expands the discussion of Session 1's data-driven production pipeline.  We present a focused introduction to managing laser scan data in production, from initial capture through alignment, merging, surfacing, and painting.  Particular attention is paid to techniques for editing, UV layout and texturing steps, as conventional approaches generally fail with dense data-driven geometry.  This session is designed for full dome producers new to 3D reality capture techniques.

Session 2B
Live Session Follow-Up
Chris Bernal, Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Todd Gill, Jun Nagaoka

The speakers from the morning sessions will be on line to answer questions, provide detail, and connect with the web audience.

Session 3
Building Realistic Computer Graphics for the Full Dome
Chris Bernal, Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Todd Gill, Ali Jamalzadeh

From the start, the lion's share of full dome media content has been supplied as rendered images from 3D computer graphics.  Realism, long an object for CG images, is now becoming possible even with modest budgets.  This session explores two practical ways to increase realism for full dome graphics:  non-biased rendering of light, and efficient use of dome sampling in compositing.  Using the Tales of the Maya Skies production as a basis, we present suggestions for managing the complexity of rendering with natural light while remaining practical and efficient.  We also discuss new tools  to optimize color reproduction on the dome for rendered images and present an automated system for processing renders for collaborative review.

Session 3B
Live Session Follow-Up
Chris Bernal, Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Todd Gill, Ali Jamalzadeh, Jun Nagaoka 

The speakers from the afternoon session will be on line to answer questions, provide detail, and connect with the web audience.

Day 2, Tuesday, June 29

Session 4
Introduction to Digital Cultural Heritage and Digital Capture Research
Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Greg Downing, Greg Ward

Archaeologists and art historians have been practicing digital field techniques for at least the past decade.  However, the recent proliferation of good, cheap digital cameras and affordable processing power has enabled humanities researchers to take on more ambitious digital documentation projects.  In this session we survey research from the worlds of computer graphics and computer vision, showing approaches that can be directly applied to cultural heritage work.  We present the computer vision research for Tales of the Maya Skies as the core of our discussion, with emphasis placed on open source tools and off-the-shelf equipment that will work in the difficult field environments found at archaeological sites around the world.

Session 5
Maya Skies Archaeology Case Studies and the Maya Skies Data Archive
Chris Bernal, Kevin Cain, Falken Foreshaw, Ali Jamalzadeh, Jun Nagaoka

All of the data gathered on site at Chichen Itza, Mexico for Tales of the Maya Skies has been gathered into a public repository, which the team launches in this final session.  Using archaeological case studies from the archive, we introduce this archive and the web application built to navigate it.  The archive tools are themselves available for download; in this session, we walk through the steps to build your own humanities 'data dashboard'.

Session 5B
Live Session Follow-Up
Chris Bernal, Kevin Cain, Mark Eakle, Todd Gill, Jun Nagaoka

The speakers from the morning sessions will be on line to answer questions, provide detail, and connect with the web audience.

Suggested reading:

New Heritage: New Media and Cultural Heritage
Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse (Media in Transition)
Digital Technologies and the Museum Experience: Handheld Guides and Other Media


Speakers participating live at Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, California, USA:

Chris Bernal: Core member of PalmaVFX, Digital Modeling Lead has worked with INSIGHT on archaeological film projects for several years, including two full-length documentaries on Egypt

Kevin CainINSIGHT founder and Director, has introduced digital tools to archaeological projects around the world for the last ten years.

Mark Eakle: Xenexus founder and long-time INSIGHT collaborator, photographer  shot on location for Tales of the Maya Skies.

Falken Foreshaw:Archaeologist - has assisted the Tales of the Maya Skies team in archaeological review, notably for the Caracol and Osario structures.

Todd Gill: INSIGHT Technical Director brings a career of visual effects to his digital field work and pipeline development for Tales of the Maya Skies, from CG work for feature film to web interactives.

Ali Jamalzadeh: Lead Artist has been at INSIGHT for two years; for Tales of the Maya Skies he has been focused primarily on painting the reconstructed structures of ancient Chichen Iza.

Jun Nagaoka:INSIGHT Technical Lead is responsible for guiding the development of the Maya Skies Data Archive and for much of the tool chain used in the production.

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