Visualisation

Visualisation is the process of applying computer graphics and algorithms to research data in order provide insight for the researcher. In the case of DARK, the data consists of simulations of galaxy formation and the large scale structure of the Universe, simulations that employ and indeed rely on the concept of Dark Matter. The visualisations shown in the Dark fulldome movie are the result of sophisticated simulations run by Alan Duffy and his collaborators on some of the most powerful computers available, including those managed by iVEC in Western Australia.

While visualisation is often initially geared towards the researcher, the visual outcomes are often informative, visually stunning and engaging and thus find applications in conveying the underlying scientific concepts to the wider community. This is the goal behind the visualisation scenes in the Dark production.

Generating high resolution imagery for modern digital planetariums is challenging, the image resolution is often many times the so called “high-def” of current digital television. Dark was made possible by special high resolution wide field of view video cameras owned by iVEC@UWA. Perhaps more importantly it was possible because of the supercomputers managed by iVEC that were used not only to run the simulations but also to render the huge data sets that result.

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Just watching the show all the times I’ve run it, I really want to remark on how much depth fulldome gets in the simulations. There is a definite “3d” feel even without real “3d.”

Recent licenses

Recent licenses, November -December 2012

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Quotation: “When you are in the scene in the park and the spheres of that represent a cosmic web move across the screen, I’ve seen audience members duck.  And this is only in 2d yet the effect is similar to 3d.  Good demonstration of the immersive nature of fulldome.”

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Quotation: “… leaves me and the audiences wanting even more. So I hope you and the rest of those who worked on the show will consider doing more. I can see a lot of work went into it. There are some really cool visual concepts that sure set it apart from many of the shows out there that are just so much visual fluff with nothing behind that.”