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Blender + Hugin = Science on a Sphere


And now for something completely different: science. On a sphere. I want one.

Ron Proctor writes:

Science on a Sphere uses four projectors to produce images and video on a sphere shaped screen. The Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City has one -- it's something you almost have to see in person to really appreciate [see these photos and further info - Bart].

It really is just a big ball that hangs in the middle of the room with four projectors pointed at it.

The SoS system requires that crazy projection. It cuts the frame into four parts and feeds those to the four projectors around the sphere, along with some darkening around the edges to keep the blended image even. They project the image (or video) onto the sphere and it's like you have a planet (or whatever you want) floating in the middle of the room.

The workflow goes something like this:

In Blender, a six camera cluster with cameras pointing front, left, right, up, back, and down renders the scene into six 90º views. These views are stitched into the required projection by Hugin. We use a python script to get Blender to change cameras and output path during command line render and we use a shell script to tell Hugin what to do with the frames! Easy, right? ;)

(We're still figuring out the best way to do this, so the workflow might change if we find a faster/better way of doing things.)

The equidistant cylindrical projection can be seen here:

A 3D mockup of the data on a sphere can be seen here:

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.


  1. How far are you with the realiation of the project? Did you find algorithms / logarithms to map or morph the 2D-files into 3D? Or did you just work on an arbitrary basis? I am actually working on a similar project, planned to be an java-application and still researching methods and maths... so if you like, I'd love to talk to you to share experiences.
    all the best or this project: p3t3

  2. Nice project, super nice !
    Hugin is a wonderful program. I have plenty of fun doing panoramics there. And it's a very active project.

    What is the resolution the SoS System requires as input? It would be nice to plug BGE there :) (though it's not often to have system that support streamed data)

    Congratulations for the project!

    Re Faster/better way:
    You could try to make the stitching inside Blender (using the UV Node in the Composite). It may not be faster, but can be simpler not to switch applications.

  3. This is really neat stuff!
    I've been using Hugin a lot lately to reconstruct some ancient all sky sets into single frames. Such a fun program to play with!

  4. I've seen this at the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City before, and they didn't do enough with it to make it impressive.
    @You That isn't actually there. It's just CGI.

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