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Alien Skin Software has long been one of the coolest software companies out there. I’ve always loved their plug ins for not only how cool they are, but how useful they are as well.
The two smokin’ plugs I’m covering today are Eye Candy 5-Nature and Eye Candy 5-Textures.
Eye Candy 5 Textures
Eye Candy 5 Textures is a Photoshop plug in that generates snake and lizard skin, fur, brick, stone and wood textures. The uses for such textures is only limited to the size of your brain. In seconds I was creating (even with my small brain) awesome seamless backgrounds for my desktop background. By checking the “Seamless Tile” check box within the plug in’s controls I was able to make small graphic files that can tile the background of a web page or desktop.
The textures plug has ten categories: Animal Fur, Brick Wall, Diamond Plate, Marble, Reptile Skin, Stone Wall, Swirl, Texture Noise, Weave and Wood.
Within the sub categories are more detailed settings for that category. The Animal Fur category has about 40 different types of fur you can select. There are many different feline furs like lion, cheetah, panther, leopard, tiger etc.
Once you’ve selected your type of texture (fur, brick etc.), you set pattern type, base color, spot color and various parameters to manipulate the pattern. For instance, you can a leopard pattern and then manipulate the size, spacing, colors and variation of the leopard spots. Other parameters you can adjust are hair length, spacing, wave strength, direction and more. You can also adjust lighting angle and effects.
Take the ten categories, multiply them by the number of sub categories, then by the number of parameters and you’ve literally got millions of possibilities…enough to make your dual fans spin up.
Speaking of dual fans, they do spin up because there is some serious crunching going on. My dual 2.0 even takes a few seconds to simply preview a change. That makes me wonder what an older machine like a G3/300 would do.
Some of the textures are better than others. Under the brick wall category, the sub category tile and grout-rough edged looks real. The weave settings look amazing as well. In the so-so department, the wood grains don’t look close to real at all.
Eye Candy 5 Nature
Eye Candy 5 Nature has some filters that would seem to occur in “nature” of course. These include drip, fire, ice, smoke, snow, ripples, rust, squint and water drops.
How these filters work depends a little on the content. Some actually “generate” data, some manipulate the existing data, and some compliment the existing data. For instance the snow filter would generate snow banks or the look of a snow storm, regardless of the content (or lack thereof). The fire or ice filters would add fire or ice to the content. The ripples and drip would manipulate the data by making it look like it has water ripples or drips.
Manually generating fire in Photoshop is a pain. But with the Nature plug in there are over 70 sub categories under the initial fire category. I’ll find one that is close to what I want and then adjust the dozens of parameters to tweak it just right.
Like fire, icicles, rust and smoke all add to the image. So your text or image can have rust, smoke, fire or ice dripping off it or emitting from it.
The “watery” plugs would include drip, ripples, squint and water drops. Drip makes your image look like it is melting or dripping. Ripples make your image look like a reflection in water waves. Squint primarily messes with the focus (which would come in handy when needing to blur out a face or naked body parts). Water drops generates the look of some kind of liquid drops sitting on top of the image, like you spilled a soda on it.
I’d rate most of the Nature plugs an A, with the exception of some of the snow filters. They don’t look that much like snow and more like white blobs or white noise over the image. But all in all these are some very useful and fun plug ins.
Here are a few examples of my favorites: