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Digital Anarchy Aurora Sky

Atmospheric effects filter for Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro By Dave Nagel
Digital Anarchy's Aurora Sky has one purpose: the creation of atmospheric effects. But within this limited scope, Aurora Sky offers so many options, so many animatable parameters, that it provides near limitless possibilities for crafting all sorts of skyscapes, from ground-level rolling mist to sunsets to space scenes, from the mundane to the fantastic, and with a tremendous degree of quality.

Aurora Sky is available in two versions: one for Adobe After Effects and one for Apple Final Cut pro. Both versions are available for Mac OS X and Mac OS 9, and the After Effects version is also compatible with Windows systems. This week we take a look at the version for After Effects running on Mac OS X.


Functionality
There are probably as many uses for Aurora Sky as there are users. On the most basic level, it can be used to create backdrops for existing images, photographic or otherwise. Included with the plugin are several presets, which can be applied as-is or used as starting points for customized sky scenes. (The plugin allows you to create and save your own as well.) You access presets by choosing the Aurora Sky filter from the list of Effects in After Effects and then clicking the Options button within the Effect Controls window. This will then call up a window for selecting presets, previewing the effect and setting a variety of parameters, many of which are not accessible through the main Effect Controls window.



Included in this are the options to turn on or off various effect properties, such as 3D clouds, light spokes, light streaks, clouds, stars and the main backdrop color ramp. You can also set options to use the After Effects camera or to set render modes other than straight sky rendering, including cloud alpha channels and depth maps. You can also set the render quality, which is actually surprisingly good and fairly quick at a setting of zero. (All of the examples in this article use a render setting of zero.)


One of the Daytime presets composited behind a still image.

Once you select your preset, options and main parameters, you can then go in a tweak around with the rest of the settings and keyframe the properties you'd like to animate. And with Aurora Sky, virtually every parameter is animatable, including the obvious parameters like cloud and camera movement, all the way down to zenith color, cloud fragmentation and sky rotation (for star fields).

The Camera controls include roll, pitch, yaw, field of view and position.




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Related Keywords:Digital Anarchy Aurora Sky Digital Anarchys Aurora Sky has one purpose: the creation of atmospheric effects. But within this limited scope, Aurora Sky offers so many options, so many animatable parameters, that it provides near limitless possibilities for crafting all sorts of skyscapes, from ground-level rolling mist to sunsets to space scenes, from the mundane to the fantastic, and with a tremendous degree of quality.

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