Eye Candy 6 review

Famous for producing metal, fire, alien/reptile skin and smoke effects, Eye Candy has been a staple Photoshop plug-in for more than a decade. But drop shadows and fake fire effects no longer cut the mustard, so what has been done to bring Eye Candy up to date?

The suite provides two main categories of effects: Text & Selection and Textures. Both contain a wide range of filters that produce such diverse effects as dripping wax, animal fur, ice, rust and chrome. The number of settings you can tweak varies widely and depends upon your choice of filter.

A large number of reflection channels and presets are included, making the suite a creative tool in itself; a few filters do require source material to work on but, in the main, Eye Candy will generate textured artwork from nothing. When you’re working with existing selections and text the filter helpfully produces a new layer composite of your source layer merged with the effect applied, although text does have to be rasterised before effects can be applied.

New in this version is support for CMYK and 16-bit images. The effects produced by Eye Candy now scale, allowing different sized selections to have effects at different magnification. The effect rendering time has been dramatically improved and the filters can take advantage of your multi-core processor. Also new, if you’re using Photoshop CS4 as the host, are two integrated panels. The first of these provides quick access to the filter sets and provides a nice visual cue to what each filter does. The second is a button maker panel that lets you create button shapes from selected layers but its functionality is severely limited.

OUR VERDICT

Eye Candy 6 is a real workhorse. It’s a little pricey and using the default options can produce tired, predictable results, but careful adjustment of the settings achieves results that make it worth the money many times over.

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