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Mac Software Review: Alien Skin Eye Candy 6

Add texture and effects to your images in seconds

Eye Candy 6 is the latest plug-in to come from Alien Skin Software, the manufacturers behind many creative extras for Photoshop and other image-editing applications. Eye Candy 6 is aimed mainly at graphic design users, but there are also plenty of ways that it can be used to benefit photographers.

The plug-in, which can be hosted by Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and Fireworks, has a total of 30 filters and over 1,000 presets. It has also been tailored for more professional users by enabling CMYK colour mode use and support for 16- bit images. There are two key areas to this bundle. First up is Textures, which is accessed from the Filter menu. These textures can be applied to a whole image or a selection. The textures don’t look like much at the first viewing, but when you start to think outside the box you realise how handy they can be. For example, the Marble texture will quickly fill in a floor or table selection and look photo-realistic, and we found that when added to a whole photo with the opacity dropped down, it made a great weathered, old photo effect.

The other main area of the bundle is Text and Selections. These are more designer- focused, but if you need to create websites, logos or portfolio page headers to show off your photography then this offers a great range of effects that can be applied to text or selections (as the name would suggest) much more easily than trying to create the same ones from scratch. The interface is really easy to get to grips with and there are so many presets, it’s likely that you won’t have to do much tweaking with the sliders present – especially as the effects will adapt to your image’s size. One of the best things about this plug-in is that it exports the effects applied on a separate layer, so that you can reduce the opacity, change the blending mode or incorporate a mask to tailor the effect. The filters are also compatible with Photoshop’s Smart Filters for a non- destructive method of editing, making this a powerful option indeed. There’s even an option to take a ‘tour’ through a filter’s most interesting features by selecting the Settings Tour option.

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