Review: Eye Candy
A few years back, a little known company called Alien Skin Software launched a set of Photoshop[TM] plug-ins called Black Box[TM]. These nifty plug-ins offered little more than a simple interface to operations. Nothing that any Photoshop guru couldn’t easily do. The Black Box plug-ins also suffered some serious flaws: lack of a preview mode, slow performance and the fact that whenever you executed one, your selection disappeared.
Even with all its flaws, Black Box proved popular among beginning and intermediate Photoshop users. Months later, version 2.0 was released, boasting a new GUI (Graphic user interface), live previews and speed improvement. The company had definitely been listening to its customers. As a result, the revamped Black Box was a winner plug-in!
Even Photoshop professionals started using version 2.0. Although most of Black Box’s effects could be achieved manually using Photoshop’s own channels and layers, the preview option proved to be too much of a temptation to resist.
Now, the guys “that will never wear suits!” at Alien Skin Software have released their latest set of plug-ins. In this release, they changed the name of the collection to Eye Candy[TM]. The new set consists of 21 new filters. Needless to say, they give Photoshop users enhanced control of offset, opacity, setting, lighting, etc.
Antimatter: As the name suggests this filter anti-mattes, which basically means removing unwanted edge pixels. Since Photoshop 4.0 already has the defringe and matting commands. I have found little use for this particular filter.
Carve: This filter actually “Carves” the selected areas out of the background.
Chrome: Don’t be misled by the name. This filter tries to give a chrome effect to the selected areas, but fails to do so properly.
Cutout: This is one of the better filters of the series. It gives the effect of cutting the selection into the desired image.
Drop Shadow: One of the most popular graphical effects is easily applied with this filter.
Fire: The name says it all.
Fur: This filter gives the selected area a fuzzy effect.
Gloss: Gives the selected area random highlights and shadows, to give the illusion of glossiness!
Glow: When you run this filter you get a halo around the selected area.
HSB Noise: I have seen this filter in so many collections (KPT, shareware and even freeware) that I am not going to explain it.
Inner Bevel: My favorite, this filter alone is worth the price of the whole collection. It gives a 3D beveled effect to the selection. The results are pretty impressive.
Jiggle: To get an idea about what the “jiggle” filter does you must imagine the “Paint Alchemy” filter (By Xaos) doing a vortex brush layering.
Motion Trail: Gives a “moving” effect to the area where the filter is applied.
Outer Bevel: Same as “Inner bevel,” but applies it outside the selected area. Inner and Outer bevel effects would normally have taken hours to do in high-resolution using Photoshop channels. Eye Candy cuts this time to minutes.
Perspective Shadow: Applies a shadow similar to that of “Drop shadow,” only in perspective.
Smoke: One of the weirdest filters in the series. I suggest you try this one with the “fire” filter to get a barbecue cooking!
Squint: Somewhat like pinching and vortexing the image. Why would you want that? Don’t ask me.
Star: This one gives a choice between different stars, rendered and generated directly in Photoshop.
Swirl: Look at the following image and you will know what Swirling is all about.
Water Drop: Simulates water drops on selected parts of the image. The nice catch about this filter is that you can define the kind of rain (e.g., acid rain, blue drops, etc.)
Weave: I will ask my Grandma about this one!
With full support for the PowerPC’s native code “Eye Candy” is definitely one of the better plug-ins in the market.
I still like doing most operations manually using Photoshop’s channels, but it is a relief to use Eye Candy for those rush jobs (aren’t they all?). As for the money issue, well not exactly the same level of value as KPT’s(Kai’s Power Tools), but still a worthy product!