Signs of the Times - June 2013 - (Page 32)

SOFTWARE UPDATE By Theresa Jackson Theresa Jackson operates Orchard View Color (Escondido, CA) and has more than 20 years’ experience in prepress, graphic design, color management and photography. Email her at Alien Skin Eye Candy 7 Graphic-design effects plug-in for Photoshop Designed forthe Alien Skin Eye use with Adobe Photoshop , ® ® ® Candy® 7 plug-in set of filter effects allows you to design at a new level, without acquiring advanced Photoshop skills. If you want to improve your Photoshop designs and not spend hours on advanced Photoshop training, Eye Candy 7 may be your perfect solution. It allows you to quickly accomplish great visual effects – many that would be difficult for the most experienced Photoshop artist to achieve. The plug-in comprises 32 filter effects packaged within a single menu; 16 Shape effects relate specifically to objects, meaning, Photoshop layers that contain some transparent background. Shape effects are great for text and logos (Fig. 1). The second collection of 16 Texture effect presets creates terrific backgrounds; they’re also good for embellishing existing background imagery. In addition, you can apply the Texture effects to shapes. You choose the effects through easy-to-recognize icons. They’re designer friendly and fun to use. Once you choose an icon, move your mouse over it to view thumbnail previews. This asset makes the design process visually intuitive and easy-to-use (Fig. 2) Getting started Having never used Eye Candy or other Alien Skin devices, I was a little lost when I first launched the plug-in. I expected my advanced Photoshop skills to get me up and running quickly, and I was briefly disappointed when things didn’t work that way. However, by clicking on the big question mark icon (at the filter-panel bottom), I discovered a collection of online tutorials. The “Getting Started” video got me up to speed in less than four minutes. I found the other short video tutorials just as useful. I recommend watching several before attempting your first design. Fig. 1: Eye Candy’s Plug-in 7 features 32 effects within a single menu. 32 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JUNE 2013 / How it works Eye Candy’s filter effects work on a single layer in Photoshop. You can apply one effect filter at a time. The default (and recommended) preset is to duplicate the selected layer and apply the effect to the copy. This results in a new layer, which the system aptly names after the selected effect. Output to a new layer leaves the original layer intact, but combines the effect with the original shape. You can change the “output on new layer” preference under Preferences, which you’ll find beneath the question-mark icon. The second preference, “Apply effect on its own layer where possible,” works better for some effects – drop shadows, for example. In this process, the software applies a shadow to a new layer that is separate from the original object layer. I think this should be the default setting (Fig. 3). Eye Candy 7 is strictly for bitmap editing. So, before a filter is applied, the software rasterizes all text and vector layers to pixels. This routine, but critical, process compels you to design at the final output resolution, because scaling up degrades image quality. Presets The 32 Eye Candy filters include various presets that you may independently (and frequently) customize, and then save as User presets for future design work. The possibilities are as expansive as your imagination. Most useful shape presets Adding Shape filters to flat graphics is a cool way to punch up a plain design. Eye Candy 7’s broad selection of useful preset effects makes it easy. Here are my favorites: Bevel effects – Add depth to a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2013

Signs of the Times - June 2013
ST Update
Tech Update
Profiling Media for Purpose
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review
Technology Review
Sign Museum News
New Products
Enter ST’s 7th Annual Vehicle Graphics Contest!
The Reality of Your Surroundings
The Great ’scapes
Digital Printers at ISA
It’s a Jungle in Here
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - June 2013