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Alien Skin Eye Candy 4000

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Fire also gets some improvements in controls, though, to me, it loses some of the ease found in Eye Candy 3's Fire filter, particularly edge softness and inside masking. These effects can be duplicated in the new version, but not exactly and not without more effort. However, like Smoke, the Fire filter gains a gradient slider for more versatility. It also includes the addition of a side taper slider.

Other filters in the collection include:

  • Antimatter, which plays around with brightness and saturation to create negative effects.
  • Bevel Boss, which gets a really nice update in this version to produce glossy, glassy and plastic bevels. Bevels can also be edited along a Bezier path for completely customizable effects. (Bevel profiles can also be saved and used in other Eye Candy 4000 filters that use bevels.)
  • Chrome also gets some big improvements, not just in customizability, but also in quality. It includes controls for lighting and reflection maps. It can also be used to import, modify and save bevel profiles from other Eye Candy 4000 filters that use bevels.

  • Cutout, which creates, of all things, cutout effects. Very similar to the filter from Eye Candy 3.
  • Fur, which is a drastic improvement over the filter of the same name in Eye Candy 3. The old version wasn't good for much. The new one is good for an awful lot of effects, from putting fur on someone's face to creating dry brush on an image of a dirt field. Controls for this filter have been beefed up significantly, and the fur effect can be drawn beyond the selected area.
  • Glass is another one that's gotten some nice fixes. It essentially creates a tinted bevel, but one that is quite convincingly glass.
  • Gradient Glow, which is similar to the built-in Layer Style (Layer Effect) in Photoshop 6 and 5.5.
  • HSB Noise, which creates lumpy noise with a plethora of controls.
  • Jiggle, which creates jiggly, bubbly and turbulent effects.

  • Motion Trail, which creates trails with adjustable tapers.
  • Shadowlab, which is used for making perspective shadows.
  • Squint, which brings an object out of focus. The amount of blur can be adjusted with a single slider.
  • Star simply adds a geometric star shape to your canvas.
  • Swirl smears and twists your image.
  • Water Drops adds drops of liquid to your image. This one is a little different from the filter in Eye Candy 3 in that the shape of the drops can be adjusted to look like pools of liquid.
  • And, finally, there's Weave, which is just about the same as the Eye Candy 3 version. (It creates a weave pattern over the image.)

The bottom line
This is a solid set of filters for anyone who regularly uses Photoshop for professional Web or print work. I'm impressed with the work that went into the new filters, as well as the overall interface improvements and additional controls. At $169 (or a $69 upgrade), it's a bargain. Our recommendation: strong buy.

For more information, visit http://www.alienskin.com.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital DTP; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, DCC Designer, DCC Workstation, Digital DTP, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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