To the uninitiated, Alien Skin might sound like the scraps collected in Roswell, New Mexico after the alleged UFO crash in 1947. Alien Skin is actually a hip company that makes some of the coolest plug-ins for Photoshop, Fireworks, and Paint Shop Pro, and the name is probably based on its earlier filters that created organic textures that looked like, well, alien skin. Eye Candy 5: Impact is the third of three updates to Alien Skin's flagship Eye Candy 4000 plug-in suite and includes three brand new filters. I'm going to focus on the new Brushed Metal filter as I show you how to build an iTunes-like interface in Photoshop. But first, let's take a quick look at some of the new and existing filters available in Impact.
Figure 1 Eye Candy 5: Impact.
Filters, Old and New
Well not ancient, but they've been around since at least the last Eye Candy update. Besides, in computer years, anything older than 12 months is over the hill. My favorite new addition in Impact is the Brushed Metal filter, which allows you to create metal textures—including linear, circular, and hand-brushed designs with steel, copper, and gold coloring, to name just a few. You can see some of the presets in Figure 2.
Figure 2 Some of the presets available in the Brushed Metal filter.
The next new effect is Backlight, which creates light beam and spotlight effects that make text and other objects pop out at you. Examples are shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 The Backlight plug-in in action.
The final new kid on the Impact block is Extrude. As the name implies, this filter creates 3D extrusion effects that add depth to just about any object. Extrusions can appear at virtually any angle or seem to zoom in from a distant point. Figure 4 shows just a few of the presets available.
Figure 4 Extruding some text.
In case you're not familiar with Eye Candy, here are some of the other filters available to you. Chrome fills a shape with an embossed, reflective metal that can look like mercury or the logo on a 1950s automobile. You can choose the amount of softness or hardness that the edges have—and even the reflection map that the chrome uses. Figure 5 shows an example of a subtle mercury effect applied to some text.
Figure 5 The Chrome filter applied to some text.
Gradient Glow takes the usual gradient effects usually associated with Photoshop and supercharges them. As with the other filters, it comes with plenty of presets and allows full customization of each setting. Whether you go subtle or over the top is up to you.
Figure 6 The Chrome filter applied to some text.
Next, we have Super Star and Motion Trail. To be honest, at first I didn't see much use for Super Star, but when I discovered that it could create flowers and even gears, I started to realize its potential. Motion Trail is a great way to add a sense of movement and liveliness to an image, as you can see in Figure 7, in which I combined Super Star with Motion Trail to create a cool shooting star effect. Unlike most of the other filters, Super Star allows you to create an effect on a blank canvas or layer. And Motion Trail adds control splines to the equation so that you have complete control over the shape and direction of your trail.
Figure 7 A shooting star created with Super Star and Motion Trail.
Finally, there's Perspective Shadow and Glass. We'll be using Glass shortly. Follow me.