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Alien Skin Eye Candy 4000

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In addition to the interface tweaks, most of the filters also gain a few new features. All of them come with a set of presets. For example, Fire has alternate color schemes for chemical fires, natural fires, and other types. Most of the filters also gain the ability to be applied as seamless tiles for creating backgrounds for Web pages. As a whole, all of the filters gain a greater degree of control.

The filters
New filters in Eye Candy 4000 add a lot to this collection, and some of the old filters pick up some nice tweaks and added functionality. I'll touch on the major ones here.

Marble, of course, creates marble textures, as well as not-so-marblish textures that can be created by tweaking the settings. There are setting for vein size, vein thickness, coverage and roughness, as well as user-definable colors for the bedrock and vein. (These color can be set through the color picker or via an eyedropper tool.) The marble effect is convincing, and it can be set to produce seamless tiles.

The filter Melt is another new addition to the collection. It's a fairly simple effect but one that, for the life of me, I can't remember seeing in any other collection. This particular one has controls for the melt ripple width and stretch length, as well as the degree of pooling, which gathers up the melted particles at the bottom of the effect.

The Drip filter is probably my favorite new filter. The effect is a simple one—namely making an image looking like it's dripping—but it's a fairly fundamental one lacking in other packages. It includes controls for width, maximum length, spacing, taper and dribble, as well as a number of lighting effects, from directionality to highlight brightness.

Corona is similar to a simple glow, but it adds flares that resemble spikes in some other filters. Controls include glow width, flare size, stretch, waver, blur and opacity. You can set the effect to draw over the selection or only outside it and to radiate from the selection.

Finally, there's wood, which, of all things, creates wood effects. This one has the most controls of any of the new filters—pulp color, rings, roughness, grain, knots, etc. You'll be unimpressed with the factory defaults, but use some of the presets, and you'll be able to achieve some nice results with just a little work.

Some of the old filters also gain some good updates. Smoke, for instance, sees some serious improvements in this version. Aside from the revised filter's ability to create more photorealistic smoke effects, it can also produce much more variety, especially with the addition of side taper, which, as in the examples below, lets the smoke waft to the left or right of your object. One thing that makes the Smoke filter particularly versatile is the addition of a gradient slider, which allows you not only to edit colors, but also to adjust the interactions between the colors in the gradient.

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