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Digital Element Aurora

Water and atmosphere effects plugin for Adobe Photoshop By Dave Nagel
Natural effects filters aren't exactly in short supply. You can find plugins--or even stand-alone applications--for simulating virtually any natural phenomenon, from fire and ice to rain, oceans and clouds. There are so many, you'd think by now I'd be pretty sick of reviewing them. But virtually every one I come across brings something new and impressive to the compositing toolset, as is the case with the plugin we'll look at today, Aurora from Digital Element.

Aurora is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop (6 and 7) tailored specifically for creating water and atmospheric effects on still images or for creating whole sky and/or water scenes from scratch. Now, I know there are several plugins already that can do this. But they don't do it the way Aurora does: with extremely high-quality rendering, about a ka-thousand parameter settings and a unique approach to multi-layer effects.


How it works in general
Aurora will work on any image file in Photoshop or on a transparent background. And it provides a number of configurable elements for creating unique scenes, including stars, clouds, sun(s), gradient backdrops, light beams, water and haze. In fact, there are so many parameters that you can get a little bit lost for a while getting to know the interface--in a good way.



Fortunately, the interface is organized into a coherent set of parameters separated into tabbed groups for easy access to the individual effects. And while you're working within a tabbed grouping of parameters, you'll still have access to common elements, such as camera position, angle and field of view; global color; presets and variations; render and preview settings; and access to individual layers.



Why access to individual layers? Well, aside from merely creating water and atmosphere effects, Aurora will also work with multiple-layer files and render effects across these multiple layers to create the illusion of depth. Here's an example of what I mean.



The image above (of me and my family on a typical day at sea) uses four layers to simulate 3D depth. Each layer can be positioned individually in simulated 3D space to create the illusion of distance, as seen in the sample of the interface below.




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Related Keywords:Digital Element Aurora Water and atmosphere effects plugin for Adobe Photoshop Natural effects filters arent exactly in short supply. You can find plugins--or even stand-alone applications--for simulating virtually any natural phenomenon, from fire and ice to rain, oceans and clouds. There are so many, youd think by now Id be pretty sick of reviewing them. But virtually every one I come across brings something new and impressive to the compositing toolset, as is the case with the plugin well look at today, Aurora from Digital Element.

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