As with all my posts (it seems) this may only be remotely planetarium related, but the assets being captured from these indigenous sites are intended to be experienced in an immersive dome based environment. Many will be aware that one very useful digital image asset for fulldome is a full 360×180 spherical panorama, attached are two examples from a rock shelter (Yallabilli Mindi) in the Weld ranges, Western Australia. These, with a motorised rig, can ready be created at gigapixel resolution and this is therefore suitable for high resolution digital domes. Since everything about the camera is captured, any fisheye can be synthesised including animated pans for example.
BUT, what one can do with those is limited to staying at a single position. It one wants to move around then the usual solution is manual modelling of the site. For the complicated geometry seen here that is rather difficult and would not really be the same as the actual rock shelters but an approximation, the artist/modellers interpretation with approximations baked in.
It turns out though that with the magic of computer graphics it is now possible to automatically create accurate 3D models of a site such as this by taking nothing but a number of photographs, in the example below about 200. Once one has reconstructed the 3D model which includes textures, one is free to both walk and look around as an animation sequence. Pretty cool huh, note this is entirely automatic other than taking the photographs. I’ve uploaded a simple fisheye walk along the cave above, it is here at vimeo along with some non fisheye examples of the other caves in the network.
Of course we can also do this in a realtime virtual environment, which is why the fisheye movie is rather “simple”, it is much nicer to be able to go and walk/look freely. A shame the main planetarium software providers don’t offer a decent API for such non-astronomy content.
Another cave here: http://paulbourke.net/fun/Weld/