Welcoming Ben Fox

August 5, 2016

7779751_300x300We’ve got a new digital artist here at Morehead and we’re pretty excited about him. His name is Ben Fox and he was doing VFX and animation up in New York at Framestore for about 10 years before recently moving down to North Carolina with his family. Before joining Morehead, he worked on everything from major motion pictures to high end commercials. He was also on the VR team producing content for Marvel, the movie Interstellar and the well known Merrill Trailscape VR project.


He also worked on the Generation Beyond Mars Experience Bus “the first immersive VR vehicle ever built and it replicates the Martian landscape. Riders experience a virtual drive along the surface of the Red Planet” as the bus drives around town.

Check out more work for Ben at his website.

Morehead Planetarium looking for new Digital Artist/Animator

February 17, 2016

We’re looking for a CG generalist/2D animator to join a production team responsible for developing fulldome digital planetarium films, exhibit and flat screen media designed to engage, inspire and entertain school children and the public about science.

To apply, please go to https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/92292

Attributes of the successful candidate include:

  • Advanced knowledge of professional-level 3D animation, motion graphics, compositing, visual effects.
  • Strong art and design background.
  • Knowledge of story fundamentals and experience working with writers.
  • Desire to work with UNC faculty and current subject matter experts to help them shape ideas and concepts into effective visuals.
  • Impeccable sense of timing for animation and camera essential.
  • Clear understanding of the production pipeline and workflow.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and desire to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to offer technical, pedagogical, creative, aesthetic, and practical input into decision-making processes, content storyboard production, and media production.
  • Impeccable organizational skills.
  • Ability to troubleshoot creative issues related to production.
  • Ability to accept criticism and translate feedback into goals, objectives, and solutions.
  • Able to adhere to naming conventions and studio guidelines.
  • Able to communicate effectively and complete scheduled tasks on time.


Design professional with a B.A. in computer science, communication, arts, media arts, or a media-related field, or comparable training and experience in a media-related field. Master’s preferred. Additionally, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center seeks a production professional with significant experience with digital animation.  Advanced knowledge of professional-level digital 2D and 3D design software is required, particularly Maya and After Effects.

Production experience in an academic or informal science center setting is preferred, as is experience developing materials for K-12 audiences.

This position is a continuous 1.0 FTE position.

To apply, please go to https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/92292

Closing date for applications is March 15, 2016.  For additional information about Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, please visit our website at www.moreheadplanetarium.org.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.

Grossology and You

September 1, 2015

During the two years or so that When in Dome went dark we ended up producing our latest show, Grossology and You. We worked with Sylvia Branzei and Jack Keely, the author and illustrator of the Grossology book series, to create the show. If you’ve never heard of Grossology, you should check it out. It’s written for middle school aged kids to teach them about the human body using “gross” things like farts, puke, snot, etc as a hook. And the Grossology traveling exhibit is one of the most popular science center exhibits ever. We also talked Scott Myers, who wrote the scripts for several Hollywood movies such as K-9 and runs the influential screenwriting blog Go Into the Story, to write the script. Scott made it funny and gross – perfect for any 7-12 year olds you may know.

Check out the trailer:

Morehead at Fiske Fest

August 20, 2015

Just got back from the Fiske Fulldome Film Fest at CU Boulder last week where we screened Grossology and You and The Longest Night: A Winter’s Tale to a crew of fulldome professionals and general audiences.

It seems the industry has stepped up their game in general in the past few years. We saw some great shows all around, but leading the pack was National Space Center’s We Are Stars. Not only did it win best show and best soundtrack, but it might have been the best fulldome show I’ve ever seen. Beautiful, engaging, informative and fun. Just a fantastic film.

Also great was California Academy of Science’s Habitat Earth. As usual, they started the show with a mind blowing immersive and dense scene but continued on to explore different beautiful environments and scales before moving to the more motion-infographic scenes of the Earth. A nicely done, highly polished show.

But overall, there were a lot of good entries. In fact, there were more good shows than I’ve ever seen at a fulldome festival. Hopefully, this trend will continue.

BTW, when I told people I was going to a fulldome planetarium film festival in Colorado, most people assumed it would be like the video below.


We’re coming back…

August 18, 2015

When in Dome has pretty much been off the radar in the past two years. We’ve been in deep hibernation. But we’re hoping to change that in the coming months. We’ve got a lot to catch everyone up on and some interesting ideas and experiments for the future. So stay tuned.

Analog to Digital Art for Fulldome

January 15, 2013

Working with the artists over at Paperhand Puppet Intervention to create The Longest Night was a real treat. Once we were able to explain the possibilities of using their artwork in a digital realm they started to think and adjust their process for creating easily adaptable painted textures.

One asset in particular was a cabin in the woods that the “old woman” character lived in.

They approached the creation of the textures by building a small paper mock up and then unfolding it before painting the individual pieces.


This template was used to create the textures, and even worked as a great reference point for building the final 3D model.

After incorporating it in the scene, and lighting it we were able to create a great mood and feel using these excellent painted textures and a little Photoshop manipulation.

The Longest Night: A Winter’s Tale Opens

January 10, 2013

We finished our latest show “The Longest Night: A Winter’s Tale” in November and it’s now been playing at Morehead for about 2 months. It’s getting a great response from the community. There’s so much demand, in fact, that we’ve had to create extra weekend and weekly showings so we won’t have to turn people away. We’re very happy about this response, of course.

The show even made the cover of the Independent Weekly. The article is here:

Here’s the description of “The Longest Night” straight from the Morehead website:

“The Longest Night: A Winter’s Tale” is a one-of-a-kind fulldome planetarium show that captures its audience with a timeless fable of courage, generosity and renewal. Its story explores the concept that winter is a time for Earth to rest, waiting for new growth in the spring.

Its star, a young girl born into a family of nomadic storytellers, embarks on a simple quest that leads her to a dragon’s nest. What will she discover there, and how will it help her save her village?

Morehead collaborated with Paperhand Puppet Intervention to develop the story and visuals of “The Longest Night.” The Morehead production team seamlessly wove together live-action video of Paperhand’s world-class puppeteers with beautiful and intricate fulldome animation to create this innovative and imaginative show. Its cast and crew comprised dozens of puppeteers and production professionals, and The Paperhand Band created original music for the show.

For more info, here’s a short promotional video we created for the show:

Behind the Scenes of Solar System Odyssey Part 1 – Tricks of the Trade

December 5, 2012

It’s been a while since we’ve updated this blog because we’ve been pretty busy finishing up our latest show, The Longest Night: A Winter’s Tale. More about that in some later posts, but we’ve opened it at Morehead and it’s getting a great response.

In the meantime, I just wanted to share a behind the scenes video one of our incredible student interns, Paul Davis, produced. Paul had his hand in many aspects of The Longest Night, from RED camera operator, to rotoscoping to some After Effects animation. In his spare time, he made this video where Peter Althoff, our technical director, talks about some of the tricks involved with dome production that were specifically used in Solar System Odyssey.

Check it out and let us know what you think.


Jeepers Creepers wins a Domie at Domefest 2012

August 6, 2012

Morehead Planetarium & Science Center won our first Domie Award (for Design) last week in Baton Rouge at Domefest 2012 for our short, Jeepers Creepers. Here’s the list of all the finalists:


Here’s all of the finalists:

DomeFest 2012 from DomeFest on Vimeo.

Thanks to David Beining and everyone else involved to put this year’s fest together.