Hi everybody,


I'm posting here some tests renderings using a domemaster lens shader for mental ray that allows for 3D steroscopic images.

It's still a work in progress, and I'd like to make this an open effort, posting all the info, research, user interface, and the source code (later on).


A quick intro about myself. I've been working on computer graphics for too long now, and while I used to be a developer (15 years ago), I'm now mainly doing 3D content. I started evaluating the possibility of steroscopic domemaster images after I was asked by Terry Galloway at the Chabot Space and Science Center in CA to do some research.


I started with Daniel F. Ott Angular fisheye shader, and expanded (a lot) from there.
Daniel's shader can be found here, and it is also included in the DLL I will post soon.


This shader starts from the camera position, and creates two virual cameras (left and right, renderable one at a time) that rotate, constantly looking at the specific point of the dome matching the current rendered pixel.
The shader supports horizontal and vertical domes, and any degree of tilt in-between.


Here are two samples of Center, Left, and Right images, in vertical and horizontal mode.

It's not easy to see the differences here, but look below at the test stereo pairs.


The Center image would match Daniel's shader, but it has a different orientation, as I use some tricks to rotate the coordinate system 90 degrees. The current orientation matches the camera viewport, so it's extremely intuitive to setup the camera.


Of course, withouth some restrictions, this system will creates distortion points and areas where the 3D effect is wrong, reversed, or misaligned. The shader allows the use of maps to control the cameras separation (reduce or eliminate 3D effect), head rotation (force some areas to be looked with the head looking straight), and head tilt.


These are sample maps that I'm using for testing.


Using the Turn and Separation maps above, you can see what happens when rendering a simple grid (Red=Right, Green=Left).


The image above is something I would consider for horizontal or slightly tilted domes, where above/behind the viewer head the 3D effect is eliminated to allow the top of the dome to be looked at without turning the head, and the back with fully turned head.


But maps can be used creatively to control any area of the dome. Here, the Turn map above is used in combination with a simple gradient as a Separation map to have 3D only in the front part of the dome.


I think the math is almost there. The User Interface might need some adjustments, and maybe some automatic correction of distorted areas can be used instead of the maps, but the major issue now is to find a way to create proper maps.


Unfortunatley, I don't have any dome at home to try it, so I rely on simulated previews using a 3D concoction in 3ds Max, but that won't let me verify if the head tilt and rotation is set correctly. I think those values can be only found by experimentation on real domes.


These are some samples from the horizontal and verticals samples above. Relax (don't cross) your eyes to see the 3D effect. It helps is you are a bit shortsighted and take you glasses off :)










I will post more tomorrow. If you have any comments, please post.


Views: 33907

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Steve,


Red/blue anaglyphs is going to be what I'll use for testing. So far, I tried anaglyphs only on a small 7-8m dome at a pretty low res (1024x1024) and the effect was definitely working well on all dome areas.


I can't stand anaglyphs for long, so my tests are 30-45 seconds. I also experimented with another anaglyphs technology (not on domes) called colorcode3d. Still some eyes discomfort and a higher loss of brightness, but they are working on an improved version that might be worth checking.



Rob thanks your reply.


I ask because from October I am putting on night time shows at the Thinktank dome in Birmingham under the, Domeheads concept, with a theme of, Tripnotic.  It's a very steep learning curve right now but my aim is to get as much new stuff on the dome as possible.  A number of people are working with me, helping me greatly.  I'm looking for anything that people think will work on the dome and I don't mind if it's experimental.  Thanks for sharing your experience, I was thinking of trying to get 3D to work on the Thinktank dome right away using red/blue glasses. I remember going to the 3D dome at Alton Towers theme park. The film they showed maximised the 3D effect in the dome.  People there used to scream their heads off.    The shows will be marketed to university students, the ideal demographic - would you say?

Anaglyphs is how we've been testing our imagery.  They suck, but they're cheap!  Do note that the red is always too, too dark and needs to be boosted up, and that you need to desaturate and brighten your imagery to have the stereo be halfway readable.
Thanks very much, would like to hear more about what you are doing. Also from anybody who would be prepared to make a thrilling and entertaining 3D short film to be shown at the Domeheads shows in October.  The Thinktank's dome is Digistar 3, non-3D.  Do you work in this area?  The Domeheads idea is to make the dome mass-market, something new.  Would you say that night time dome shows could catch on?



here are my suggestions for red/blue anaglyphs.


1) As Antoine said, red need to be boosted. I do that in post processing, making the red 30% to 50% stronger in the midtones and lowering the blue a 20%-25%.
You can use curves or gain. Depends of what works best for your specific images.

2) The original images should have colors that are not filtered out by the red or blue filters. Black and white would be the ideal source footage.
If you don't want to go B/W, use desaturated colors and avoid reds and blues.

3) Break flat colored surfaces with some details. In the sample image of the desert chase I used cartoon lines to give something the eyes can focus on after the anaglyph removes most of the color clues.



Hi Roberto,


This really is quite incredible. I have just started R&D for a stereoscopic production and using your lens shader I have been able to get test stills on the dome, and experimenting with the stereography of a shot in just a few hours from installing it. I'm very keen to see how this develops and hopefully give you some useful feedback from the work we are doing. 


Develoment is kind of stalled now. Too much work, not enough spare time for my spare time projects.

But the shader code is pretty much final. The only changes I wanted to do were some UI terminology and a simple automatic overhead distortion correction that would have allowed renderings without using maps.


But maps are still necessary for best results, and the automatic one I planned can also be simulated quickly with a radial gradient ramp in 3ds Max.

If I get some time I might compile a Max 2012 version. I didn't test if the 2011 version works on 2012. I guess it does.

like I mentioned earlier in the thread, this code one day will go public.... and maybe It's about time for that if someone wants to tweak and improve it.
I was thinking about posting it on google code.


Anybody interested in making it a collaborative project?



Roberto Ziche said:

like I mentioned earlier in the thread, this code one day will go public.... and maybe It's about time for that if someone wants to tweak and improve it.

I was thinking about posting it on google code.


Anybody interested in making it a collaborative project?

This would be great... I'll continue to post ideas here as we continue to use the shader and hopefully these might inform potential future developments. I'll try and rustle up some interest from the fulldome community also, we're very much in need of these kinds of collaborative projects.


I've been using anaglyph for our initial testing and have found it very useful to check stills and videos in a virtual viewer before going into the dome or if you don't have access to a dome. From the first tests it's definitely a useful technique but it doesn't give you the same experience as when seeing the same footage in the dome. 


This is a free virtual fulldome viewer called AllSky Viewer:


The site is in Japanese so the download is hard to find, Search for "ver.1.1.1"

Or you can use this direct link:



There is another (pay for) virtual fulldome viewer that has better video playback and additional funcionality called DomeView by Navegar, this is the main one I use. 


These guys also make a great fulldome plugin for Adobe After Effects.



We've been developing an efficient workflow for using with this shader over the past couple of weeks. I'll try and post some of our ideas for improving or extending the script over the following weeks.


It's very useful to render anaglyph's directly from 3ds Max as a preview rather than using a compositing program like After Effects, as this can add minutes to each test render. 


We've written our own script for this so it works with our other tools but there are already some anaglyph scripts out there:



This is the basic maxscript for generating from two saved files:




And a tutorial from Autodesk's Louis Marcoux (hat tip to Roberto)




It might be worth adding this functionality to the script itself and building more of an interface tool for it?




This is my current preview concoction.

It requires two pre-rendered images that are used as textures for the two domes.
Two syncronized cameras can then be positioned (or animated) to look anywhere on the dome, render what they see with Batch Render, and composite a side-by-side image in Video Post for relaxed or cross-eye testing.

This setup allows you to simulate any dome tilt. In this sample I was testing vertical ones.

With two 3dsmax open it's a few keystrokes to get a preview. One max renders the L/R dome images to predefined files. The other pick the images and renders all the test images you want.

The preview concoction is not using scripts now, but it could, and could be adjusted to generate anaglyphs instead of side-by-side images.


Hi Roberto,

great work. I am wondering if it is possible to use the center camera instead of the left cam for stereo renderings. That way one would have a fixed and undistorted mono camera and the stereo design could be tweaked by rendering only the right cam. This would provide a much better workflow for production. Of course the settings for camera separation and convergence would be off..(half of the set values?)

I am also very interested in your stereo simulator tool. Did you consider posting it? Maybe you could tell more about the math you're using?

One addition to the discussion about anaglyph colour schemes: I made tests with red-cyan, green-magenta (trioscopics 3d) and colour code 3d (on a 10m dome). Green-magenta provided by far the best distribution of brightness.




Fulldome Wikipedia Entry


This site is proudly sponsored by IMERSA members.

Fulldome Database

Blog Posts

WAYHA: now available from Loch Ness Productions

We start out the new year with a really cool project: WAYHA!

Wayha is an immersive music video collaboration by BÓSA (Stephan…


Posted by Mark C. Petersen on January 13, 2023 at 10:59pm

New Year's Greetings 2023

Hi, all.

We've written a blog post for the New Year -- with some pleasant news to end last year.


We hope you'll take a…


Posted by Mark C. Petersen on January 10, 2023 at 1:06pm

FULLDOME OnDemand introduces 4K streaming


4K Prewarped Mirror Movies

If you've got the gear (and the bandwidth), we're now streaming selected 4K…


Posted by Mark C. Petersen on July 7, 2022 at 3:02pm

New from Loch Ness Productions: "Bo & Bub's Cosmic Ride"

Here's an exciting fulldome show, set to upbeat music, offering fun family-friendly entertainment for kids and adults of all…


Posted by Mark C. Petersen on March 26, 2022 at 11:45pm

© 2023   Created by Dan.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service