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Small Utah Planetarium Offering Blender-Based Production Workshops

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The planetarium of the Weber State University is offering Blender workshops.Participants will be able to see their work on the planetarium's full-dome digital projector. Awesome!

Update: added pricing information

Ron Proctor sent in the following press release:

OGDEN, UTAH, USA -- Following the success of a prototype workshop in August, the Ott Planetarium at Weber State University has announced plans to offer fulldome production workshops based on Blender and other free software titles.

"We've produced over 8 hours of fulldome video using a Blender-based, free software pipeline," said Ron Proctor, production director of the planetarium, "why should we have all the fun? We want to promote a culture of cooperation and learning in the planetarium community. There is a lot of great talent out there."

"Blender is a great platform for fulldome production," said Proctor, "we've been able to introduce the interface in a way that is less intimidating and more intuitive -- leading to faster adoption and mastery than if a person was learning the software alone."

In August 2008, the Ott Planetarium hosted the Mediaglobe Users Group Conference. Delegations from Casper Planetarium, of Casper, Wyoming; The St. Charles Parish Library Planetarium, from New Orleans, Louisiana; The Greensboro Science Center Planetarium, of Greensboro, North Carolina; The J. Fredric Ching Planetarium, of Salinas California; and Audiovisual Imagineering, of Orlando, Florida were in attendance. A video sample of their projects can be viewed at:

weber.edu/planetarium/workshop

"I was very pleased with the end results," Proctor said, smiling, "they (the conference participants) completely blew away my expectations of what could be accomplished in only four days of production work while learning the software at the same time."

The Ott Planetarium now offers Blender-based fulldome production training at novice and advanced levels. They also offer a "project incubator" -- a retreat-like environment for intensive production work on the client's project. Workshops at the Ott Planetarium include the use of 16 quad-CPU Mac Pro workstations, a 128 CPU render farm, sound recording equipment, and a digital planetarium.

Pricing information

Our introductory base price for the workshop is US$1000 per day for up to 10 participants.  This includes 2 of our instructors for up to 10 hours per day, use of our workstations, use of our render farm, our sound recording equipment, and our digital planetarium.

The cost can be shared among groups, making the per-student cost as low as US$100 per day.

The cost of the August workshop was almost entirely offset by the sponsors.

The August workshop included 4 days of intensive work, plus a half day to review the project results, decompress, etc.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

6 Comments

  1. lol, the third video had some problems with normals! The part with the handle going up and down during the song, there's a bunch of flipped normals! hah!

    --"Kuk"

  2. So cool. I tried to get to that workshop but my funding fell through. It warms my heart to see so many planetariums doing amazing work with Blender! I use Blender as a workhorse for image warping here at our "old school" planetarium, and we'll be using it even more when we make the transition to full dome video.

  3. A teacher I had a couple years ago suggested that I take an interest in planitarium projection. She was a designer of art for dome theaters in the 80s and I said something to the effect of "that sounds cool, but oh how on earth would i go about doing such a thing" and now I know...

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