MPIA Haus der Astronomie

Haus der Astronomie, the state of the art research and outreach center for astronomy based in Heidelberg, Germany, commissioned Loaded to create a very ‘big’ logo animation for their ultra high-resolution 360º planetarium. Knowing it will set the stage for presentations of some of the most exhilarating discoveries about the universe, we wanted to craft a fitting introduction. What you see here is only one-tenth of the content that we created to cover the planetarium.

Lead designer Caleb Van Winkle developed the unique workflow after logging some serious R&D time, designing a motion experience that leverages the architectural scale of the room to evoke the awe that could only come from floating a few thousand light years away from the beautiful Whirlpool Galaxy.

As the work began, we knew that ‘working blind’ was our biggest challenge, considering none of us have a planetarium in our backyard, and we couldn’t hop over the Atlantic every week. So, we dusted off the abacus and trusted the math more than our eyes, ensuring our creative intentions weren't lost in translation.

After consulting a few astrophysicists, we pulled images of the galaxy from the Hubble Space Telescope’s photographic library. Our team then built an immersive and dramatic journey with 2D and 3D animation, compositing, a luscious color grade, and a liberal use of particle simulations to populate the galactic neighborhood with gas clouds and stars. To finish it off, we designed a 5.1 surround score, making a truly memorable media experience for the “House of Astronomy.”