Q: I am having problems making good underwater scenes. Any suggestions?
A: The distance of a layer from the camera and the height of the camera (how deep underwater) are the two single largest issues. If you want to see the water from underneath, you need to point the camera slightly up. Take a look at the scene files we added in the Downloads section.
Q: I have several pictures from the same point of view – can I use Aurora?
A: Definitely – you can load in different pictures with the same preferences and move the camera for each picture as required. Aurora creates a 360 degree world that you can use at any angle. Aurora works well with panoramic cameras in this way.
Q: My render times are pretty long. What’s going on?
A: There are several issues that can affect the rendering time. First, Aurora graphics are fractally generated and will match the resolution of your picture. If you have a larger picture than you need then Aurora is working harder than you need it to. You can reduce the size of the picture and reopen Aurora.
The Render Quality can be set lower. You might want to try a sample render at the highest and lowest render qualities and see if Render Level 0 works for you.
Aurora 2 has new preview and zoom options so you only have to render once, when you are finally done. Check your image thoroughly before clicking Okay.
Q: None of the options work – they are grayed out.
A: Your product might not be registered yet. Go to the About button, then Register. It will tell you if you are registered. If you are not registered, then input the serial number (it’s the number you were given with a dash in it) and get a license number (there is a specific FAQ on that). Once you’re fully registered then all of the options will open up.
Q: I just finished masking out the sky and background, but when I load Aurora none of the effects appear – even when I press Refresh?
A: When you were masking out your layers you may have left a selection active, whether with the magic wand or a small selection box. Aurora is modifying only the area you selected. Leave Aurora, unselect any area that is selected, and re-load Aurora.
Q: My water effects seem very muted – my waves are not that large.
A: Check the elevation of your camera to the left of the picture. Is it set up fairly high? Try setting it within one or two units of the water elevation – that will bring the waves closer to eye level.
Q: Where is the license number? I don’t have one.
A: You need to register Aurora online. Click on the registration page, be sure to select the correct product, and then fill out the information. You need to select a valid e-mail address because Digital Element will e-mail you the information. Copy and paste the license number into the registration screen, which is located by pressing About, then Register. The product will indicate that you are registered when you have entered the data and tabbed to the okay button.
Q: How do I install the Mac version?
A: If you have bought the packaged version, access the CD and copy the file Aurora.hqx from the Mac directory on a CD to a temporary directory on your hard drive. If you have the downloadable version, go to the directory in which you downloaded the software. Double-click on Aurora.hqx. When the archive is unpacked a folder named “Digital Element” will appear in addition to AuroraUnpack.sea file. Move the “Digital Element” folder to the directory where plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop are located (PhotoShop 6.0\plug-in if you chose standard pathways for installing Adobe Photoshop). Remove AuroraUnpack.sea. If you have purchased the CD and inadvertently double-clicked on Aurora.hqx, then you can click OK for the error message and manually select the installation director
Q: I have the .hqx file on my machine but the .hqx file won’t open up – what do I do?
A: Sometimes you need to open up StuffIt – the free file compression tool and “Unstuff” the file through the StuffIt software.
Q: I bring in a picture and can’t see it at all – even when I put the layer against the camera.
A: The background layer is always behind the sky gradient no matter where you put the layer in the picture. It’s always there. When you prepare a picture (check out Prepping a Picture in Learning) you will see that you need to take anything you want visible and move it above the background layer if you also want the sky gradient.
Q: How can I get Aurora Effects to not affect the existing Layers?
A: The easiest way to do this is to create blank layers and place them directly above each of the layers that you want left clean. So your file will look like a sandwich with a blank layer on top of every original layer.
When you load Aurora it is important to organize your layers’ distance from the camera. Make sure a blank layer is sitting right on top of each of the original layers.
Now, when you create Aurora Effects, the effect should be painted on the previously blank layer. You’ll find that your original layers are left pristine.