Aura vs After Effects?


digital witchdoctor
Maybe the fact that there doesn't seem to be much action in the Aura forums answers this question, but here it is anyway:

I'm quite proficent with, and enjoy After Effects; any particular reasons why I should take the time to learn Aura?

Not trying to knock it or anything, just wanting peoples opinions...


digital witchdoctor
Should I learn any of those if I'm good with After Effects? Do they have advantages?
this is a question that i asked myself a long time ago... before i had the money to get after effects, aura seemed like a viable way to get a relatively cheap comp app.

but aura is a strange beast of an app.... it's not quite any one particular thing....

it's not really a composite app but you can use it for that. it's not quite photoshop but you can use it for that.

probably the single BEST use for it is as a RASTER ANIMATION PAINT app.... so if you can make VECTOR anims in flash (or even AE), aura will let you do animation that's non-vector... messy, brushy, etc.

but not really good for traditional 'cel' animation like old disney types stuff either though... think the united airline, squiggly line anims or the old dr. katz show from comedy central.

even if you need that though, i wouldn't recommend aura nor what it evolved to MIRAGE from bauhaus... for what it does, it's waaaaaay too expensive.

if you need this kind of video paint capability, get PROJECT DOG WAFFLE.... you can do a search for it on google... i believe it's substantially less than $100.


as for other compositing apps, i hear people all the time SWEARING by fusion or combustion or even after effects.

the truth is, if you know ONE app, you know WHAT a compositing app is SUPPOSED to do, the only real reason to learn ANOTHER app is if you yourself need something that your app of choice CAN'T DO or-

- if employment requires it.

that's it. oh, and also if you happen to get your rocks off on just learning different programs (hey, to each his own). and this is pretty much the criteria for learning different 3d apps too.

if you know AE and it does what you need and you're not trying to get a job at a combustion shop, you're good to go.


p.s. oh and since FREE is always good, the free 3d app blender (search it) comes with a rudimentary compositing app if you have the need to play with another comp app....
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King of the slugs
Moho looks incredible! Plus I love European style animation, its just so **** odd :) In a good way of course.

Thanks for the tip!
The question is, do you have Aura to learn because I don't think you can buy the App any more to begin with.

I don't have After Effects myself, so I use Aura 2.5 to do my composit/editing work. It's a neat little App and I haven't really sat down to learn DFX+ which will probably do some of the things I use Aura for. I do know that with the release of 2.5b they integrated Lightwave with Aura so you can paint on objects, though, I myself never got it working correctly, and don't know of any one else who has used it to do it. As a matter of fact I fired up aura just now to see if I could figure it out, and I am still scratching my head.


Well, I don't know of a lot of people who got it to work either. But I remember getting it to work at one point, but I agree, it was a bit convoluted.

Matthew Stoehr actually did quite a bit of exquisite UV mapping on a project using Aura(Mirage) and LW 7.5:

Also here's a tutorial by him in the Mirage tutorial forum bottom of the page:

He has since moved on to XSI, but the tutorial is still applicable, if nothing more, than for nostalgia. ;)
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'the write stuff'
Staff member
Just since it came up, I want to mention two points:

1) Mirage is not particularly expensive these days ... a fraction of what it used to be. A lot of people in a number of related realms find it very good value indeed. I expect it depends what your needs are. I deal with artists at top-tier production facilties every week who are thrilled with it.

2) individuals at a number of facilities (including Disney) are in fact doing 'Disney-style cel animation' with it. "Squiggly lines" are not mandatory. :p

This all said, neither Aura nor Mirage is an After Effects substitute (nor is the obverse true.)


The single best feature for me is the resolution independent nature - I can paint real-time at extremely large resolutions. I could see it possibly being used by digital matte artists b/c of this.
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