Product Review: Alien Skin's EyeCandy 6
Eye Candy 6, by Alien Skin software, is a wonderful set of 30 effects filters that is best described by this set's own title. With it, you can create stunning logos and titles, enhanced photographic and special effects, as well as bringing in some amazing texturing to your work.
I should note here first that Eye Candy 6 is for use with the following host applications:
Once installed in your host application, which was both Photoshop CS4 and CS5 in my case, you should be able to access these effects through both the 'Filter' drop-down, as well as via a panel among the others in the application. Now, note that the panel access is not yet supported in CS5, as I was able to access the filters in Photoshop CS4 through this panel, but in CS5 while the panel was still present, clicking on the effects did nothing. However, it was still just as easy to get to the effects through the 'Filter' drop-down in CS5.
Eye Candy 6 Panel in Photoshop
First of all, I must say this set of wonderfully diverse effects filters is excellent and will surely find a place within the work of most designers and artists. But, to start off, I think I will cover my favorite one - the Animal Fur filter. You can quickly use a preset for giving your text or selection an animal look, choosing from such animals as zebra, leopard, cow, etc. But, what was really cool was to use a source image and play from there.
The Eye Candy 6 User Interface while playing with the Animal Fur filter
Eye Candy 6 is very easy to use and the interface is easy to understand. You have everything you need, from plenty of immediately available presets, to the ability to tweak your own settings and save your own presets.
For the purpose of this review, I thought I would take a really bad pic of a palm tree I had on my camera, and try to do something with it. So, playing around with the Animal Fur filter, I was able to come up with something much better. Mind you, there was minimal other work, such as adjusting the tree color and adding in a sunset background (which also received Animal Fur treatment).
The filters in Eye Candy 6 are split in two categories:
Text and Selection Filters:
Of course, I won't be going through everything available here in this review, but only those things that I really liked. You can see a full list of the filters and examples of them on the Alien Skin site, here.
Eye Candy 6 Squint Filter
Now, the Squint Filter was a bit tricky for me to get the hang of using. And in actuality, none of the presets got me close to what I was hoping for with the above picture, so I explored on my own enough to find out what I needed to do, and found that subtle adjustments yield cool results. And this brings me to another item I should mention about the Eye Candy 6 interface, and that is that each adjustment control will display tooltips on rollover. This certainly helped in using the Squint filter.
Eye Candy 6 Swirl Filter
The Swirl Filter used in the above image was wacky-cool fun. And the following images are some tests with textures. The first two are my tests, and the Eye image was courtesy of the Alien Skin site. It was just too cool to show how far you can go to create, using multiple effects, so I had to include it.
Example from the Alien Skin website showing further combined filter use
And lastly, I had to have a little play with smoke effects... My little sister may kill me for this one ;)
This set of filters is really wonderful and fun to use. The interface is well-designed and offers plenty of help along the way. Aside from that, the uses of many of these filters will certainly come in handy over and over again, and would be nice to have in your arsenal when needed.
Now, even though I had mentioned earlier about the panel access not being supported yet in Photoshop CS5, Alien Skin has assured me it is being worked on for the next update. Not really a huge deal to me, as you can still just as easily use it from the drop-down. So, my only real gripe might be the price. Don't get me wrong, it is a great set here, with a lot of work that went into these effects. But, if you're on a tight budget, you might want to consider how much you'll use these before purchase. Have a thorough look at the examples on the Alien Skin site and try a demo for yourself. Definitely recommended.
Price: $249.00 (USD)
Microsoft Windows users must have at least a Pentium 4 processor or compatible and Windows XP or later. Apple Macintosh users must have a PowerPC G5 or Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.5 or later. A monitor with 1024x768 resolution or greater is required.
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Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Managing Editor for Renderosity's Front Page News.
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