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Alien Skin Eye Candy 7 Adds Realistic (and not-so Realistic) Effects to Photoshop

by Paul Strauss

I’ve been using Alien Skin plug-ins with Photoshop for years, so it’s nice to know that the company behind these plug-ins continues to improve their tried-and-true Eye Candy package for those of you who want to embellish your images with cool effects.


Original Tennis Ball Image via Shutterstock

The latest version, Eye Candy 7 improves on past generations, adding a new suite of lightning effects to its already impressive realistic fire, smoke and other filters. The plug-in installs easily on either Mac or PC and works with Adobe Photoshop CS5 or later or Photoshop Elements 10 or later.  It includes a wide variety of effects and textures, including chrome, animal fur, reptile skin, wood, clouds, snow, ice, metal, rust, and many others.


It’s also deft at placing perspective drop-shadows behind objects – a significant improvement over the basic drop-shadow feature in Photoshop itself. When combined with the extrude filter, it can be used to create a fairly convincing illusion of 3D depth.


You can also use Eye Candy 7 to add curved motion trails to objects, which is really helpful for adding movement to static images.


Original Airplane Image via Shutterstock

The interface itself is easy to use, offering quick access to numerous pre-built effects, but once you drill into a specific effect, sliders and a large library of presets let you have a tremendous amount of control over the appearance of your effect. You can also zoom in, view effects in split-screen mode with the original selection, and save presets.


Keep in mind that Eye Candy 7 is really designed for applying effects to selected objects, shapes or text layers, not as embellishment to a flat, full scene. That said, you can easily select areas where you want to apply effects using Photoshop’s robust selection tools – and this gives you a much more fine-grained control over effects.


Original Snow Image via Shutterstock

Filters automatically preserve your original selection, and store the effect-enhanced image in a new layer. For those times that you want to fill an entire image, Eye Candy offers a nearly endless variety of texture-making tools which can be used on all, or a part of your images.


While Eye Candy 7 definitely can be used to create realistic (or at least semi-realistic) effects and textures, the huge number of controls available for each one will have you experimenting and playing around for hours. For instance, I found that with the right settings, the Rust tool could actually be used to add moss to objects – and that the Electrify effect could be used to create blood vessels. The possibilities are pretty limitless, and this single plug-in adds a huge variety of capabilities in a single package.

Alien Skin Eye Candy 7 retails for $199.99(USD) over on their website. However, if you buy today (February 20th), Alien Skin is offering a 30% off discount on all of their software. Eye Candy is also available in a demo version if you’d like to try before you buy.

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