I’m not a Mac graphic professional and I don’t play one on television. I use Photoshop quite often, but I don’t have a degree in graphic arts.
Imagine my surprise when my company authorized the purchase of additional Mac graphic tools for a big project we’re working on. What I needed was an eye candy effects tool that was easy to use, wouldn’t take much time, but gave super results that made the client very happy. What I got was Eye Candy.
Point And Click Effects
Photoshop is the bane of not-quite-professional Mac users who dabble in graphics part time.
What we want is simple. Cool and attractive graphics that give clients the warm and fuzzies.
We also want point and click simplicity. In other words, whatever tool I’m using needs to work well, produce good results, and not cost an arm and a leg (or require two years of community college course).
I may not be a graphics pro, but I know what clients like. Good results. Low cost. Fast response. I chose Eye Candy for my latest project.
Eye Candy Today vs. Yesteryear
Eye Candy is a set of plug-ins for Photoshop (Mac or Windows versions) that create stunning graphic effects with a minimum number of clicks. I’ve used Eye Candy from time to time since back before Mac OS X, in the Mac Classic days.
Frankly, it was cool back then, even more cool now, but I remember a price tag of around $79. That’s no longer the case, but it doesn’t matter much.
Eye Candy’s filters let you take simple images and create, with a click or two, absolutely amazing results. Time is money, right? What you want is professional work with a minimum of effort and time.
The Eye Candy today makes full use of today’s modern Macs, including CMYK mode, multi-core CPU acceleration, 64-bit Photoshop support (Mac users may become envious here), and, here it comes—non-destructive editing.
New Under The Hood
Eye Candy 6 may seem a bit pricey until you see what you can do with a minimum number of clicks. It’s fast and renders effects almost instantly, seldom with any lag, even on complex images with many layers (YMMV, of course).
Look, Ma, it scales. Eye Candy adapts to a graphic’s size (or use the fixed mode). Settings are improved and include categories for better organization.
That’s important because there are over 1,500 different settings for more common tasks. If you’re using Photoshop CS4 you’ll appreciate the Panels which create buttons in a breeze.
In my job I create training materials, so we venture into graphic production regularly, but not often enough to be called Photoshop Wizards™. What I need are tools that make graphics look professional but without the corresponding time, effort, or billable hours.
Eye Candy 6 installs quickly, and provides two menu selections in Photoshop CS4, near the bottom of the Filter menu.
There are two menu selections, each leading to pop up panels with plenty of options. One affects Text and Selections, the other provides Textures. Selecting an option from the menu brings up a corresponding window with various settings (click on the image for a larger pop up view).
Distortions, highlights, and other effects are a click away.
What About Text?
Photoshop does text, but it’s clunky and cumbersome, with a limited number of built-in warping tools, and effects. The whole process for text modification is tedious.
Eye Candy helps by providing a number of options that work on text and image selections.
Of course, the effects are non-destructive so you can point and click the endless combinations until your eyes bleed.
Sometimes it’s easier to know what you don’t want vs. what you want, so trial and error is a good place to start. Eye Candy makes trial and error almost error free (thanks to the non-destructive feature and Photoshop’s many undo steps).
Lets take a look at some Eye Candy examples for text, effects, and textures.
Text and selection effects can be applied to produce unlike images from like images, merely by modifying the background layer, and changing filters.
Eye Candy gives you the option of producing effects on multiple layers to produce even more drastic results.
If fact, there are so many options for each layer of an image, that there’s a tendency, especially among newbie Photoshop users, to just go crazy overboard.
Click Here for more examples from the Eye Candy section of the Alien Skin site.
To make it even easier to master Eye Candy, the company provides many video tutorials which walk through the process of using the Eye Candy CS4 Panel, and creating various effects from the pull down menu.
There’s even an iPhone version with QuickTime movies, so you can be educated on the intricacies of Eye Candy while on the go, away from your Mac. This isn’t the only plug-in to help make Photoshop an easier tool, but it’s one of the best.
For the budget conscious Mac user, Eye Candy also works with Photoshop Elements for Mac (another reason why Elements is such a bargain—Eye Candy is more expensive), and Adobe Fireworks CS4. Any caveats?
Yes. Eye Candy, for all the point and click, trial and error simplicity, gives you so many options for text, backgrounds, textures, and selections, that it can be overwhelming. You can spend hours just trying different combinations.
If you venture into Eye Candy, make sure to download the video tutorials. They will save you hours of trial and error and error.