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Ott Planetarium Releases New Fisheye Camera Rig


The planetarium of the Weber State University uses Blender to create content for their full-dome digital projector. Rendering for this screen requires a Fisheye camera, for which they have created and released a camera rig.

Ron Proctor wrote:

The Ott Planetarium is pleased to announce revision 9a of our Blender Fisheye Camera Rig. Previous revisions have been available on our website -- but we're making noise about it this time because we've finally fixed the render preview!

Our rig makes fulldome-ready images, complete with a working fisheye preview. This method requires no additional software or scripting, and renders in a single step with the internal render engine.

We are releasing the rig under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
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.


  1. Hi,

    very cool stuff, nice work and thanks for sharing.

    One question:
    Is this License compatible with the gpl, so this fisheye Camera can be implemented into Blender? Cause its really a cool feature.


  2. Artisen: you always have the option to use little shadeless 'sphere' object as particle child..and then use the compositor to change the look of the shadeless 'sphere' objects on render. You should look into the Creature Factory dvd by the Foundation. Andy gives great tips about that

    I've been doing test recently for a client. They are willing to create an immersive short movie inside a dome that use that kind of fish eye camera. I tried the planetarium previous release, and some problem became obvious. This probably doesn't affect any 'star' (dot on black background) settings (altho they probably use it for more complex stuff)....but I've had problem with the 'pole' of the top of the sphere. WHen the camera was moving and filming object that we're passing by the top of the sphere, some distortion became apparent. I fixed it just by changing their top-of-sphere object by a sphere that is rotated on the side so all the reflective surface is quads, instead of having a pole in the dead center. But maybe I did something worng...anyway!

  3. Hi everybody!

    Thanks for the great responses, questions, and comments!

    Nils: "Is this License compatible with the gpl, so this fisheye Camera can be implemented into Blender? Cause its really a cool feature."

    We hadn't thought of that, but we would be happy to cooperate if the foundation is interested. We picked the attribution share alike license to promote further sharing of the tool if someone makes improvements.

    Jahmaica: "Just to confirm, can we use this in animations? Will this work?"

    Yep -- the attribution share alike license is meant to promote sharing of improvements on the tool itself. You are free to use it in your own work, provided you give some kind of acknowledgment for dome camera development. (We will not try to check up on you or anything. We are not evil -- we just like to see who is rocking it.)

    Artisen: "Too bad this excludes things that won't show up with Ray-Tracing, like Halos."

    Jean-Sébastien is right -- we've used similar workarounds, like the meteor in this video:

    I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

    Ron Proctor
    Production Director
    Ott Planetarium - Weber State University

  4. Tuxicoman: As I've said, I have a client who is really interested in using dome rendering. We are working with a coder right now to implement a solution in the game engine. We should have something ready by the end of january I think. Stay tuned to our website (

    But if any coding monkey have an idea of how to code a 'camera' that works exactly like this:

    Make sure to leave me an email at [email protected]


  5. Post Title: How to Use OTT Planetarium FishEye Camera for your Blender Files

    Nevermind. I figured it out.
    For other noobs like me here's how to do it:

    Open new Blend file.
    Delete default camera.
    Goto File>Append or Link
    Goto the file downloaded 'FisheyeCameraRev9a.blend'
    Open Object folder by selecting it (within that blend file)
    Then link 00DomeCamSled, MirrorDome, and OrthoCam (you will have to link three individual times
    as I don't know how to do all three at once)
    In other words all in that object folder except Font

    Then, Goto Outliner and right click on each of those linked objects and select 'Make Local'.

    Save this blend file as something like "FishEyeStartBlendFile" and everytime you use it
    immediately save it as a new blend file so you always have a clean start file.

    And as always give credit to OTT for their fine work.

    (If anyone knows a better way to do this feel free to revise)

  6. You can append multiple objects by right-clicking in the object list. (At least it's a right-click on our highlights multiple items - good for importing a specific span of frames in the VSE too, if you ever need to do that).

  7. Jahmaica had trouble around the time our university switched web servers. Since the switch, the server doesn't like to serve .blend files. So I zipped it up instead. It seems to serve that just fine. :)

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