Eye Candy 7 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
One of the new effects in Eye Candy 7 is the Lightning feature. It's a great tool for adding dynamic lightning to your pictures. Choose Lightning and you'll see a couple of Factory presets to use as well as a User tab. Drop down the arrows next to the presets and there's a few different types of lightning to choose from. We love the settings, they look realistic, but the best part is that they can be manipulated. As well as the Random Seed button we mentioned, you can also adjust the Arc Thickness, Jaggedness of the bolt, Branching that stems from the main bolt and how much those branches spread.
Once you've settled on the basic areas of the lightning, click on Glow and it allows you to change the Flash size, perspective, width and opacity. You can also change the inner and outer colours of the bolt.
The Electrify feature is similar to Lightning. The difference is that it's designed to look as though it's emitting from the subject you've selected in Photoshop before launching Eye Candy 7. The same features are available in Electrify as is available in Lightning with the addition of a Radiate from Centre button at the bottom. This switches between having the electricity emanating from a central point behind the subject or radiating from the edges of the subject. It's a really useful tool and can be easily missed.
The Clouds effect is the third filter that's been added to Eye Candy 7. There are a lot of preset options for this. They're broken down into four main factions: Daytime, Seamless Tile, Transparent and Weather. They're very realistic and if you're a whizz at making selection in Photoshop, you'll benefit from Clouds immensely. The only downside is that there's no “bad” clouds, such as Cumulonimbus or Nimbostratus.
As well as the many different types of cloud available, in the Basic tab to the right, you can mess around with them such as changing the Puff size, the Coverage and Edge sharpness. You can also change them from Fluffy to Wispy or Puffy. In the Camera & Sky tab, you can change the Elevation point, Field of view (whether you're looking toward the horizon or straight up) and the Cloud height. You can change the colour of the Horizon and Zenith to get sunsets or sunrises for example. You can also adjust the Haze and Sky Gradient (how the different colours of the Horizon and Zenith are perceived).
These new features have been harvested from an older program called Xenofex. You can upgrade to Eye Candy from Xenofex for the discounted upgrade price by using your existing licence code. Alien Skin have supplied a Licence code recovery page to help or you can contact them.
The features have been improved on according to Alien Skin. They say they've rewritten them for faster previewing, better preset management and easier experimentation. Only current owners of Xenofex will be able to say for sure.
Loading the program from Photoshop (we used CS4) is easy and fast. An information box will pop up explaining that the program is running. Effects are previewed faster in the small box in the lower left section of the window. They take a few seconds longer to apply to the main preview image in the centre.
To make effective use of the effects, you need to be to a decent level with masking selections in Photoshop. If you're new to it or haven't had much experience, then you may want to practice a bit more first. Obviously, we're brilliant at it and managed to get some really good results. Our examples show that you can have fun, mess around and create layers.
One great part of the program is that it's non-destructive. Once you've added the effect and made your changes, pressing ok loads the end result into Photoshop. It loads it onto the existing image as a new layer, so if you decide you don't like it, you can simply delete it or amend it without ruining the original.