The production team is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the new digital version of one of Morehead’s most popular planetarium shows, “Magic Tree House: Space Mission.” We’re set to wrap our seven month production at the end of September when it will be mixed in 5.1 surround sound. The story and even the audio from the original show is almost exactly the same, except for one change – the voice of Jack. We worked with new voice over actor Blake Pierce (seen here with writer Will Osborne) to record a slightly older sounding Jack voice.

But the majority of our time has been spent using 3D animation and modeling to create more realistic and immersive environments for Jack and Annie to explore. Check out this still from a reimagined scene below!

Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

28 Aug 2008
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Our longtime educator and friend, Jesse Richuso, is leaving us for colder pastures. He’s heading to the University of Wisconson at Madison for a new job as a Physics Outreach Manager. The best part about it is that he will be driving a van around to local schools doing physics demos for the kids. Of course we assume that he will be living in the van…down by the river. Here’s a pic of us when we found out he was going somewhere that has snow.

And here’s Jesse trying to look all Emo for his last Rock Band session in the NDT.

Good luck, Jesse! We’ll miss ya!

Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

11 Aug 2008
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The students who work here at MPSC Production don’t just get us coffee and do our dry cleaning. That does take up most of their time, but when they have a spare moment, they get a little animating done as well.


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Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

What fuels our Morehead animators? Coffee? Jolt? Taser shots to the head? Nope. Turns out it’s lettuce. Iceberg lettuce, to be exact. That’s what Jim brought in for lunch today. That’s it. Just lettuce. This is a troubling sign. I give him until Friday until he’s collapsing on the floor and seeing rainbow animals dancing around the room. Maybe this is how they came up with Fantasia over at Disney…



Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

22 Jul 2008
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I know what you’re thinking, “uhhhh, aren’t coyotes normally naked, Jay? Duh.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re freakin’ hilarious. But check this out. For those of you new to the fabulous world of 3D animation, this is what we call a wire frame. This wire frame is of the coyote in front of a chalkboard – the same as you can see in the previous blog post.

A wireframe is somewhat like a wire mesh that is squished, extruded, twisted and pulled to create models that will eventually be skinned or “textured” so that they look solid. Typically, a default gray texture is wrapped around the object so that the designer can get a better sense of what the object looks like. After the objects are modeled, they then have to be textured, animated, lit and finally rendered. But more about that next time…

Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

15 Jul 2008
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This is an early render of “Coyote,” Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s first 3D character created for our first full dome planetarium show by Morehead Digital Artist, Jim Kachelries.

Coyote is a know-it-all when it comes to science, but the truth is, he’s always wrong. In this show, we take the opportunity to correct Coyote’s misconceptions about the Earth, the Moon and the Sun and let you know the facts. Especially if you’re a third grader and think the sun is on fire. Which it is not. Or so I’ve heard.

Stay tuned for more photos from the new show and maybe even some short videos.

Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

domefest 2008Denise (our Director of Education), Peter and Jim (two of our digital animators) and I met up with Richard (our Star Theater Director) and Mickey Jo (our theater manager) out in Chicago at the Adler Planetarium to attend the International Planetarium Society conference as well as DomeFest 2008 last week.
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Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.


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