A highly art directable Asset for creating a Aurora Borealis as a digital Effect.

The effect presented here will be available as a Houdini Digital Asset at Orbolt Store by the end of March 2021 (currently in review). I also explain how to recreate this asset (If you have the time or lack the budget to buy it) in the Youtube video linked below.

A Aurora borealis, also known as northern light, is a highly dynamic phaeonmenon that has amazed people for centurys and probably since the dawn of mankind. It is also something that can be hard to handle and reproduce as a effect beceause of its high diversity in shapes and forms.

The approach I took allows for a highly detailed control and art direction. This not only allows the effect to seem realistic but also to art direct it towards a being hero effect if necessary.

To quote Joseph Gilland (Author of Elemental Magic) here: “If you take something that follows natural laws and make it seem like it has a intention, you create magic”.

Below is a tutorial on how to use the asset and how to create it yourself, along with a short demo. Unfortunately the original Footage I created with falls under a NDA, fortunately the Asset does not, so this is only a short demo I put together and more elaborated examples will follow once I find the time and oportunity.

Future developement: The Asset is currently Version 4. I have other features that I´ll implement troughout the year.

Besides the Asset itsself, I´m also available for any related Effect work, or as a Technical Director in general. if you want additional features or get the asset for a larger production, feel free to write me.

If you use the asset, I´d be very glad to see what you create with it, and I also offer to feature your results on this page, with a link and captition.


The Asset creates the Effect in several stages that allow for fast, in most cases realtime interaction and help to focus at one aspects at a time. Several auroras can that way be orchestrated without getting lost in the many optional detailed controls.

Almost any global Feature can also be controlled by a optional ramp, making it highly art directable.

Several Noise functions are carefully balanced to create a vivid effect, that can be costumised to your needs.

The Aurora is rendered as a Volume, removing problems with overlapping typically found in polybased approaches.

Other features: Banding effect, creating broken up or parallel Auroras

Blur: Global, with height, length etc.

Caching features for buidling of Librarys or use with PDG.

The comparison below shows clearly the advatages of my Volumetric approach compared to the more widely used extruded curve.

A textured geometry (left) compared to my volumebased approach (right)