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With Aurora Sky, you can create realistic, three-dimensional skies. More powerful and flexible than simple fractal clouds, Aurora Sky includes a wide array of special effects.

Taking advantage of the new 3D capabilities of After Effects, Aurora Sky lets you use texture and cloud shaping maps to create an infinite variety of skyscapes.

Most importantly for users with a lot of rendering power, Aurora Sky gives you the option of truly volumetric 3D clouds that let you create clouds like smoke and fog-like effects.

The 3D Camera Tools

Camera flies through
3D space and 3D clouds

Play (mov, 1.0 Mb)

Aurora Sky works in 3D space, both its own and After Effect’s. The built-in camera can fly throughout the vast world within the plug-in, using all the standard axis controls.

For After Effects users, Aurora Sky is built to utilize AE’s 3D camera (5.0 and later). As you move or turn the After Effects camera, Aurora will update its environment as a seamless part of the scene. This integration makes it simple to composite other 3D objects over the skyscape created with the plug-in.

Texture Maps

Texture map applied to the clouds
Play (avi, 720 kb)

You can project images or logos onto the regular cloud surface using texture maps. The texture maps respect cloud opacity and shading, and the clouds can be used as a displacement map, displacing the image as the clouds move.

This opens up the door to many effects, from simply projecting a logo to covering the sky in swirls of color using a QuickTime movie.

Light Beams

Light beams effect
Play (avi, 588 kb)


Regular Clouds

Animated clouds behind a still image
Play (avi, 175 kb)

The normal cloud layer in Aurora Sky is a fractal-based flat layer of clouds. This works excellently in many scenes, but for actually flying through 'cloudy matter,' users need more powerful volumetric clouds. That's where the 3D Clouds come in handy.

3D Clouds

Using a 'U' shaped bezier path,
we can fly through the 3D cloud

Play (mov, 621 kb)

The 3D Clouds in Aurora Sky are actually 3D objects with mass and substance. You can adjust properties like opacity and number of spheres, and navigate through them using Aurora’s or AE’s camera. This also allows special effects such as fog or smoke layered over the regular clouds.

Using a 'U' shaped Bezier path, we can fly through the 3D cloud. This functionality creates cloud effects that seem to envelope the camera as it passes through them. An especially cool feature is that Bezier paths can be used to apply custom shapes to the 3D Clouds.

Cloud Shaping

Cloud shaping and bumping effect
Play (avi, 893 kb)

You can also use grayscale maps to control the shape of the clouds. Words or shapes can emerge from cloudy matter, and - heck - there's always sky writing.

Aurora has plenty of controls for placing and arranging the maps. It's a feature that's as flexible as the maps you can come up with.

Turn on the clouds

3D Clouds are turned off by default because they are a render hit. You'll need to switch them on in either the Options box in After Effects' Effects window, or as a select box in FCP's Effect window.

AVI files require DivX codec
MOV files require QuickTime player

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