Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sky Survey...the story behind the artist.

This is a great story of the photographer, Nick Risinger, as he set up a complex array of cameras at various latitudes in order to stitch together the entire sky in one picture. The final image is a 5k pixel HD image of the sky which can be viewed in augmented reality or 360 degree panorama. What a great project, and a great lesson for my students who take the immersive landscapes classes. Anyways, here is his website: And here is the actual photograph (There should be icons at the bottom of the screen to navigate the image): --Blake Kirschbaum (Astro 1010)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Moon Lust an augmented reality project at the Adler Planetarium

Moon Lust is a new augmented reality project which addresses issues of lunar exploration and habitation. The project was launched on June 21st, 2012 at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Additionally, using mobile technology, they created mobile apps which allow exhibit attendees to participate in the 3D augmented mission using the free Adler WiFi network.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Turntable: virtual community of DJs

I found a new little way for students to learn some DJ skills in a live interactive setting. A new application called turntable allows people to dj live, and share music and ideas about dj music and culture. Its an interesting idea and could be used for students just as I suggested the use of Second Life or Open Wonderland. It allows people to choose an avatar, and sticker for their laptop. They can dj for a limited amount of time, with other users or djs live. A nice way to listen to new music, and also a great way to expand integrated music sharing technologies. I could see creating a music class where students use this technology to play and explore different music genres, theories, components, techniques, etc. I can see how parts of this application could be used in the course, however students would not learn to build or navigate in the virtual world using the turntable software like they do in Second Life or Open Wonderland. Additionally, ultimately there is greater opportunity for learning STEM subject through the integration of several different hardware and software integrations using Second Life or Open Wonderland, where the Turntable application is simple and therefore not as much control and diversity therefore limited learning, however still interesting and useful, and most likely very interesting to the target student groups.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Minecraft and Environmental Simulations at DiVE immersive Lab at Duke Univ.

Just over a month ago at Duke in the immersive lab, they had minecraft mapped in the immersive theater for live gaming. This is exactially what I was thinking about trying in the dome. Minecraft is being used in immersive education and they have just increased the immersiveness of this virtual world to the max, by utilizing the virtual world within the immersive theater. I am very impressed and would like to see this in the fulldome for educators soon. The possibilities are endless for this kind of technology in the dome. We already have the Unity game engine working in fulldome, its time to get the rest of this working in there too. DiVE is a six sided immersive theater at Duke used mostly for scientific visualizations. However, they do have a community outreach, where they open the lap to the public, sharing technology developed in the lab. They are interested in cognitive neuroscience research and education. This is something I would like to check out, and keep track of. DiVE Website: DiVE Projects: Also check out this cool project that used the DiVE lab at Duke. Its from 2007, but it is very cool project and use of the lab. Virtual Forest Yields Clues to Climate at Duke University Ideas are could create an immersive interactive game which teaches the gamer these issues. Would be so great to get students from local schools involved in collecting and using the data in these kinds of labs and visualization.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

3D Cave at Cornell Medical School

Great video discussing the use of the 3D cave at Cornell Medical School and its role in education. Using Christie Digital technology, this is an amazing cave especially, most impressive is the live interactivity with realtime data processing. Unfortunately these labs are only known to exist in highly funded research facilities at universities and private or government labs. However, with recent technological advancements in hardware and software, these types of systems may soon be affordable allowing for greater adoption of immersive education.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Skills needed for Fulldome digital media studies

(Reposted from my other blog (Field Journal) I wanted to start thinking about what is important, what is needed, what is required, what is the most basic skills students need to work in the FULLDOME. How do these skills build on each other and how do they compliment the final outcome of digital media production for the fulldome? Computer Skills and basic Fulldome 101 Skills 360 degree immersive software/hardware, projectors, monitors, networking, imaging Photography Skills Students must be able to create content and produce this from the most simple and basic levels like photography and video, transforming their productions into advanced fulldome mastered works. Animation Skills Students must be able to create animation content for use in fulldome productions to dome master specifications. Audio for the Fulldome immersive theater Students learn to create immersive 360 degree surround studio mixed audio for their pieces, which will be very valuable when they create flybys in their immersive environments. Fulldome Standards What are the standards for producing content for a digital planetarium? What are the standards for movies, live performances, and productions. What standards should be considered when creating content for the fulldome. Fulldome Special Effects Advanced techniques in CGI imaging of photography and animation. Advanced techniques in lighting like HDR. Interactivity and Games in the Fulldome Working with Games and interactive components in the fulldome is here, now is the time to think about building classes that consider these components as tools for digital media production. With the gaming industry as one of the leading industries, it will be a matter of time before fully immersive games are produced for fulldome and other immersive theaters. Having game building skills will be very useful in the near future for this industry I believe. The Panorama below is from one of my Summer of 2012 Students (approx 15) in the Immersive Landscapes 2 Class on Spherical Photography for the digital dome. She learned to take all these photos, over 175 and stitch them together and prepare them for the fulldome in just four days. They worked really hard and the results were amazing!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Live Fulldome VJ soon

A new video I created to test live video mixing in the dome. I rendered out this small video to Opiuo's music so that others in the fulldome community could check out whats happening. I am excited to see some of these clips during a live vj set in the dome very soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

STEM-A in the Fulldome Database

Check out the new article "STEM-A and Digital Fulldome Classes" published in the Fulldome Database on Immersive Landscapes (panoramic digital photography classes for youth) at Gates Planetarium in Denver. I (STEM-A) am so pleased and honored to be featured in the Fulldome Database, featuring an important discussion about immersive STEM education and the future of fulldome education. From the FDDB website: Jane Crayton – founder and director of STEM-A (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through Art) – is an independent new media and audio/visual artist and instructor working with interactive experimental art and collage. Back in February Crayton hosted the first fulldomeED forum at the 2012 IMERSA Summit and experienced a lot of interest in using the fulldome as an educational tool and teaching the students to use the tools to create for the fulldome. These days Jane is involved in teaching a course for middle and high school age students called Immersive Landscapes, which – uses STEM-A project based inquiry – focused on fulldome technologies. We got the chance to get in touch with her and interview her about the project: Continue reading the article on the FDDB website, here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Next Generation of Max Headroom

1984 was the year when Max Headroom debuted as the first computer generated personality bringing life to computer technology. However, the original image of Max was actually not computer generated; it was a green screen image of Matt Frewer with latex prosthetic make-up and fiberglass costume. Even the background was initially hand-drawn cel animation at first, but eventually was generated by a Commodore computer.

Since Max Headroom, computer generated characters have become a part of everyday life, and today people use computer generated avatars to represent themselves in binary form. However, not since Max Headroom, has a hyper-realistic appearance of humans been generated.

Last week, new 3D like technologies enabled innovators James George and Jonathan Minard discover what they call “virtual cinematography.” The two have created new technology that is “redefining the talking head,” impacting the future of computer generated avatars. The two innovators use open-source software which maps the video image to the Kinect, producing a truly computerized human.

The two discovered that using “stock electronics: a Microsoft Kinect coupled with an SLR camera. The Kinect tracks a figure in 3-D space while the SLR provides a sizable upgrade to the kinect’s own camera,” according the Mark Wilson a writer for Co. Design. The new technologies and software work together creating a realistic 3-D model of the subject, which capture the motion of the subject in real-time.

A process that used to take teams of animators days to produce, could now be created, in a matter of minutes, with far more human-like features, gestures and uniqueness than currently generated computer avatars and animations can achieve. Since the days of Max Headroom, computer generated personalities have become an important part of our technological evolution, and culture. The use of this new technology has the potential to impact far beyond machinima culture into the next level of dynamic interactivity and connectivity of digital natives.
Please read Mark Wilson’s full article here.

Wilson, Mark (2012, February 11) A 3-D Animated Human Created Without An Animator, Using Just Kinect And A Camera. Co.Design. Retrieved from

Monday, February 6, 2012

IMERSA Summit 2012 Fulldome101 Workshop Overview

This weekend during the IMERSA Summit 2012 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, was the first IMERSA fulldome 101 workshop. This unique workshop highlighted techniques, best-practices, tips and tricks from a unique collection of (13) fulldome educators and professionals in a co-teaching environment. The workshop was organized by myself (Jane Crayton) as a part of the IMERSA Summit, with the intention to integrate all the current technology and techniques used for fulldome content creation and share it with the IMERSA community.

Because digital fulldome is a new technology it is important for the developers of techniques for creating in the fulldome share their knowledge with each other in an open-source environment. The future of fulldome production is dependent on expanding technology and techniques through immersive education.

The workshop covered basic introduction to:
• Digital fulldome multi-projection immersive technology and construction
• fulldome spherical photography
• fulldome workflow
• fulldome animation
• fulldome DIY tips and tricks

The conference also included break-out sessions in (photography, animation, workflow and inflatable geo-dome single-source technology) and, a panel for the fulldome 101workshop where participants were encouraged to ask questions about techniques for fulldome production.
We had approximately 35 participants in the workshop which took place at the Gates Planetarium in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science the venue hosting the IMERSA Summit. The workshop seemed to be a huge success, with participants fully engaged in some hands on and immersive learning throughout the day.

Overview of each presenters contribution
Ethan Bach of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico presented his techniques in teaching students at IAIA using their digital dome. He illustrated ideas in camera techniques in the spherical photography section and contributed to the panel discussion. Bach’s student works were shown in the Geo-Dome during the IMERSA Summit event.

Jane Crayton, of IMERSA, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, CU Boulder Science Discovery and University of New Mexico ARTSLab, and STEM-A, hosted and organized the event, introducing presenters and taking care of the details of the event. Jane’s student works were shown in the Geo-Dome during the IMERSA Summit.

Greg Downing & Eric Hanson of xREZ Studio spherical panoramic photography techniques using gigapixel (digital image bitmap of 1billion pixels) mosaic techniques and cgi image mapping techniques for virtual immersive experiences within the spherical photograph. He also discussed techniques using a nodal point corrected panoramic photography head, as well as a unique hack for mapping the safe zone of the fulldome inside your camera when shooting with a fish-eye lens.

Karen Hatlestad a student at the University of Colorado helped show participants how to work with Blender for the fulldome during the break-out sessions.

Bryan Leister and Trevor Vermilye, both assistant professors at the University of Colorado at Denver showed their and their students animation works for the fulldome. They discussed techniques and tips for working with Cinema 4D in a dome environment.

Greg Mancari presented the Geo-dome single channel technology during the break-out sessions.

Dan Neafus director of the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Founding Director at IMERSA introduced the basics of the fulldome 101, and the features of the Gates Planetarium to the workshop participants.

Barry Perlus of Cornell University discussed teaching his students to shoot panoramic images for the fulldome, and some unique tips and tricks he has learned working with students in photography.

Ben Shedd Peabody and Academy award wining film and video producer discusses his Exploding The Frame theories for fulldome production.

Brad Thompson of Spitz Media discussed techniques for content and animation production for the fulldome. He presented clips of projects and workflow techniques for producing in an immerisive environment.

Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
of the ARTSLab at the University of New Mexico held down the main stage of the workshop by presenting how she works with media content in the fulldome. Hue introduced basic concepts in the introduction, and lead the workflow section. She also contributed to the animation session discussing her techniques using Maya for the fulldome.

Jess Wellington of the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science introduced workflow techniques for pushing pixels into the dome. He covered the use of Adobe After Effects and the use of the fulldome plug-in tool.

The intention of the workshop was to give an overview of production for the fulldome within a one day intensive. The workshop was aimed at persons who were looking to expand their knowledge of fulldome production from entry level to advanced. There were multiple opportunities for participants to interact with the presenters and create a dialog unique to their personal and professional needs.

I am looking forward to collecting surveys on the workshop and how I could improve it for next year, what the benefits were and what was most gained from the experience. It was an exciting opportunity, and despite the bad weather that threatened to close the museum the day of the workshop, we ended up being able to use the planetarium the entire day since the museum was essentially dead as the city was covered in over 15 inches of snow.

Additionally on Saturday during the Summit, I hosted an informal Fulldome Education forum during the lunch hour which was a great success, with about 8 attendees, and several others who wished they had participated.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Egyptian Oracle

Image Source from: The Egyptian Oracle website, Image of The Virtual Egyptian Temple Tours at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Is an interdisciplinary multi-media performance which reenacts through a virtual and live performance an ancient Egyptian public ceremony. The performance utilizes state of the art open sim software, utilizing the virtual world as a live performance space including the use of programmable avatars. The three dimensional space of the virtual Egyptian Temple navigates like a real world environment, and engages the audience and live actors in the performance space between virtual and live experiences.

The piece serves as part installation, part inter-media performance, and live reenactment. There are two main supporting actors, one serves as cyber-puppeteer controlling the avatar of the high priest. The second actor or actress stands and interfaces directly with the audience and the projected virtual temple, moderating the audience and virtual world interactions. The project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additionally the project uses the open-source software Unity ( for developing virtual and interactive games, which allows spherical projection effects for fulldome and immersive theater display with multi-projection theaters and environments. Not only does this interdisciplinary performance piece utilize virtual worlds with live performers, it also catalyzes the use of virtual world technology utilizing cave, multi-projection and fulldome immersive environments expanding innovative uses for immersive education and entertainment.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Technology, Knowledge and Society (presentation announcement)

TEACHING CREATIVE CRITICAL ACTION BEYOND ECONOMY INTO “the art of TECHNO-ECOLOGY”: Approaches in integrating technology ethics with STEM Art education. This presentation will discuss creative approaches for encouraging technology ethics and innovation in students using a STEM Art education philosophy. It will be presented by Jane Crayton at the 8th Annual Technology, Knowledge and Society Conference at UCLA Tuesday, January 17th, 2012.

Creative critical action with STEM-A (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through Art) is a philosophy which integrates exploration of STEM subjects through art inquiry. This approach to STEM education creates space for the instructor to include ethical, radical and inventive approaches to educating students.

Innovation is the most prized human dexterity, and STEM education is a critical component of societies to produce innovative products. However as global economies emerge in our post-Google society, facing human impacted climate change, it is critical that we radically change the face of our education system and eventually our economies, to include a broader scope of STEM innovation. Art and diversity need to be included in STEM education to foster a sustainable community of ethical technologists who create solutions for humans beyond industry.

How does STEM education through art, media and technology defy formal education through DIY, viral and social media? With the exploration of electronic arts, media and sciences, students gain valuable skills for using and working with complex STEM concepts, while integrating ethical, and critical thinking skills. STEM acquired skills through artistic inquiry further the ability of users and creators to make educated decisions about innovative processes, products, or services; created or consumed.

Monday, January 9, 2012


This is a blog about immersive STEM arts by Jane Crayton. The goal of this blog is to capture the essence of immersive arts which catalyze science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. STEM subjects are often best introduced through immersive arts. Immersive arts are defined in this blog as digital media arts which use fulldome, multi-projection or virtual environments.