Dome part Deux

So if the first round was making it work, the second round is making it beautiful and getting some interactive tools tested in the space.

Simplicity and elegance – this is the goal of the work that I’m taking on this year, and the focus of both my digital/animation/coding and dance/aerial motion-based studies. I’d prefer to make one simple move look as graceful and well-executed than to aim for too much and land in a pile of chaos. (I say this and then you’re going to read the rest of this post and wonder how the hell that applies.) Domes can be pretty complicated, my friends. Somehow I’m going to find my own form of zen in my handmade Bucky-ball. My day job is to simplify what is complex – visually – and it’s not always an easy nor quick process, but with most designed objects 99 percent of what went into it isn’t what you see – it’s the 1% that remains that matters.

In June, the dome goes up again. It’s for Tony Youngblood’s Modular Art Pods. Sadly, I missed participating in the first edition of Modular Art Pods because I’d literally *just* moved to Nashville. Now life has settled out significantly and I’m back to actually making art. (This sabbatical has resulted in a serious and focused backlash of self-discipline and reinvestment in my digital and dance practices. The dome is huge, relative to anything I’ve made before.)


June 4, 2016
The dome goes up inside of what will be the Platetone workshop. Here is a timelapse created by Jonathan Taufer.  It also includes work being done at the makerspace AND the beginnings of a hallway for the Full-Scale Millennium Falcon project.


May 25, 2016
This is the day I discovered Omnidome.


For the last month, I’ve been working on creating an interface of my own to run dome content using openFrameworks. I’ve learned a lot about C++, but unfortunately, the project I wish to create is presently too much, considering my timeframe and present skillset.

So that idea is being shelved for the time being.

Omnidome is FREE, open-source and rock-solid. The only thing I’m missing is a Matrox Triplehead so that I can split the signal to three different projectors.

I’ll be teaching workshops using this in the upcoming months at Make Nashville. (Once I get my techniques a little more bulletproof, that is.)


April 24, 2016
Kevin Griffis and I worked at getting the computer network up and running… Now that the software is beyond the “hello world” phase, it has to get installed on all the computers. My approach is this: Use a small cluster of computers to speed things up. With any luck, I’ll have the software mostly done by the end of the month.

  • One computer for the sensors (kinect, temperature, web cam, etc.) – allowing the main computer to filter out whatever information it doesn’t need and keep all sensors active all the time.
  • One computer that plays videos and creates any realtime graphics with playlist functionality.
  • One computer that drives two projectors, that slices the fulldome master, stretches and masks it appropriately.


April 10, 2016

Development Kickoff. I have a pretty clear picture of the interface that I’d like to create, and crazy as it seems to the Maker group, I’m going about it with openFrameworks and C++. The software is going to be called TinyDome. If you’re interested in helping to build it or use it, please reach out to me. It’s not an open source project as of the moment, but it may end up that way.


April 9, 2016

Build Day! Matt Waldner graciously opened up his wood shop for a day of base-building. We worked from 8AM until about 7PM and knocked it out. Matt, myself, Maverick and his two lovely daughters (and eventually Jason) helped with this endeavor. We used 2×4 lumber – reusing as much of the old base’s wood as possible. (We had to get about 35 new boards to complete this phase.)

The good news: the dome is relatively portable. (Relatively meaning I think we’re going to be able to get it into the bed of a small pickup truck without much trouble.)


April 7, 2016

I sent a doodle (in Matt’s words, using SharpieCAD.)


…and Matt came back with a CAD drawing with actual measurements. (I am incredibly thankful to have someone experienced in live event production working as a core member of this team.)

Digital Dome Pedestal v2

March 16-20, 2016

When you have no real idea of what you’re doing, it’s helpful to go find people who are a bit more experienced than you.

For a good week, I crammed as much information about domes as I could fit into my head (and more than a few beers) with some fantastic fun and talented folks at the IMERSA Summit in Denver Colorado. At the Airport, on the way out to the Summit, I realized that I’d not brought a sketch book. I also realized that it wasn’t likely that my host would have time to take me to go get one. So I picked up a Moleskine watercolor book and determined I was going to fill the entire thing.

The biggest thing I gathered from this event is that this is the largest screen one will ever design for, and despite all the technical challenges (which VR’s boom is actually quickly helping content producers overcome), it is immensely rewarding.

I’ve never been drawn to a rectangular screen surface – the dome just feels like the right sort of space to create for.

I’m going to be posting notes from this trip… they’ll be right here as soon as I get my camera stand set up and figure out how to draw a Cessna.


March 12, 2016


I’ve been meeting with local director Irina Sundukova (White Orchard Theater) to work on some live performance elements for the dome.

So far, we’ve photographed hundreds of artifacts for Irina’s newest piece: Polar Expedition 1953. It’s a naive, tragic love story. The piece will involve motion graphics, some rotoscoped animation and a live performer. It will be 10-12 minutes in length. 🙂

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