The first Eye Candy software plug-ins were launched 11 years ago, and the brand is still going strong. The Nature version generates ten different kinds of natural phenomena. It features four new filters - Icicles, Ripples, Rust and Snow Drift - and six improved Eye Candy classics.
The Eye Candy interface still looks very familiar to seasoned users of the plug-ins, with the same large preview window and the tabs containing presets and basic controls for each filter. It's all simple and user-friendly.
For those looking to add a bit of a shiver to their photos, the Icicles effect does a good job, especially when combined with the Snow Drift effect. It can make even the warmest photo look cold and chilly. You can adjust the length, width, density and shape of your icicles via a series of sliders; the more complicated the effect, the longer it will take to render.
Ripples creates fairly realistic rippling water effects, and has some great presets. The same goes for Fire, Corona, Smoke and Squint - the latter providing a range of blur effects similar to squinting or double vision.
However, Eye Candy's star turn is Snow Drift. This does a brilliant job of coating an image with a frosting of ice or snow. You can finish the job off in Photoshop, but the plug-in dramatically reduces the time taken to 'snow up' an image, especially when compared with the time it takes to create the effect more conventionally in Photoshop.
The last two effects, Rust and Water Drops, are less convincing. But overall, the package does create decent, natural-looking effects. Okay, so not all the effects will be to everyone's tastes, but if you use them sensitively they can add a lot of value to an image. Mark Sparrow