How to morph a picture for projection on a dome

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Where did this come from? 

The idea was credited by Walther Bauserfeld who was the first person to develop dome based projection. The original creation was intended to be a planetarium for the public to see and learn more about astronomy, but unfortunately in 1912 due to World War I & II Bauserfeld’s inventions were forced to be put on hold. After the wars had subsided Bauserfeld was able to continue his ideas over the next 20 years perfecting and popularizing it. Today we can see modern iterations of Walther Bauersfeld creations used throughout the world like in most planetariums, concerts, theaters, art, and media. 

What is the benefit?

If you are having a gathering or event and you want to project your images into the interior of a dome canvas then you will have to create specialized images so they will match the shape of the dome itself. This will create an image that will look skewed, but once on the dome will look terrific. The benefit comes from creating an immersive 360 degree space that you can use to transport your guest to any majestic space. Would you like to have a dining dinner in the streets of Paris or to sit atop the peak of Mount Everest then projection domes are for you. 

How to morph a photo for projection onto a dome

In order to answer this question one will need a projector or multiple depending on the size of the dome being used. If an image is projected onto a dome without any work done prior then it will not be properly aligned and a stagnant square image projected onto a dome will look not quite the best. The image will have a square border and be largely out of proportion. If this is the desired image then feel satisfied because it’s as simple as uploading to the projector and being done, but if you want it to be a wrapped image then more work is needed. You will need some external software like madmapper, resolume, or madmapper. Once the image was uploaded to the software next you will have to have a desired outcome and how you want the image to look. In order to achieve that effect either through manual input or a loaded preset you will need to use a mesh warp effect, a mesh distortion effect, bezier distortion, or a combination of effects. This will add a warped look to the original image causing it to look skewed but when it’s projected onto a dome it will match the shape of the structure. 

(Photo of a mapped dome projection aligned perfectly so you cannot see the curvature of the dome Source: Lumen and Forge) 

Conclusion: 

In order to properly match your images or content to a dome from projection properly you will need to be able to run it through a third party software and transform the image. In the software you will need to mess around with the previous effects until you’re able to find the correct relativity to the dome structure. This can take some time to understand due to domes having a different aspect in the curvature of the structure. Once you’ve figured that out then the transform onto the dome is as simple as projecting the image.

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