PhotoshopFeature

The 43 best Photoshop plugins

Create amazing images and designs with this selection of the most creative, useful, time-saving and powerful Photoshop plugins available.

In this article we've lined up some of the best Photoshop plugins available for Adobe's photo editing giant today. Photoshop is an amazing tool - capable of producing sublime images, high-quality video and even create very passable 3D renders.

All this power offers a world of possibilities - but occasionally it's worth adding a few optional extras to get the most out of your investment.

01. Filter Forge

Filter Forge offers a load of filter options
  • Publisher: Filter Forge
  • Price: $119
  • Good for: Photographers, photo editors, graphic designers, 3D artists

Currently in beta for version 4.0, Filter Forge offers thousands of filter effects, covering almost every application you can imagine. It's almost infinitely versatile and creative, and capable of a vast range of different styles and looks - and when you get bored with the presets, you can start making your own custom effects.

02. virtualPhotographer

 virtualPhotographer
Give your photos a makeover with virtualPhotographer

If you're a designer in a hurry, or you're not yet confident using Photoshop to create stylised images, virtualPhotographer is a quick and effective way to get some sophisticated looks in a hurry.

03. WebZap

 WebZap
WebZap is aimed specifically at designers

Although many web designers advocate designing in the browser, many designers remain wedded to Photoshop when creating interfaces. The problem is, Photoshop was initially designed as a retouching tool, and although it’s taken on features for working with layout, it’s still a frequently clunky tool for dealing with web design.

Aimed specifically at web designers, Photoshop plugin WebZap enables you to create layouts based on a 960 grid system, with a web page broken up into three areas: navigation, feature and fold. In addition, the plug-in provides the means to quickly add form buttons, create text, and style text across an entire layout.

04. Subtle Patterns

 Subtle patterns
A great plugin to make using the free texture library simple from Photoshop
  • Publisher: Atle Mo
  • Price: $11.99
  • Good for: Graphic designers, web designers

Subtle Patterns is a high quality library of free, tilable textured patterns by Atle Mo. The Subtle Patterns plugin feeds all this textured goodness directly into your Photoshop panel. You just click the pattern thumbnail and the texture is applied as a layer style to your current layer - a great time-saver and well worth $11.99.

05. Renamy

 Renamy
Renamy lets you rename multiple Photoshop layers at once
  • Publisher: Renamy
  • Price: $9.99
  • Good for: Photographers, graphic designers, web designers

Naming your layers right is the first rule of Photoshop etiquette. But sometimes you need to rename layers retrospectively, which can be a pain. With Renamy you can rename multiple layers at once, and there's even a cool autocomplete function to save your typing fingers. There's a free demo version so you can give it a try before you buy.

 

06. Pixel Dropr

 Pixel Dropr
Create icon collections and import them into Photoshop with Pixel Dropr
  • Publisher: UI Parade
  • Price: $19
  • Good for: Graphic designers, web designers

Pixel Dropr lets you create your own 100-piece collections of icons, buttons, UI kits or photos and instantly drop them into a Photoshop document while you work. A great way to boost your productivity when you're using assets across multiple projects.

07. Perspective Mockups

 Perspective Mockups
Create perspective mockups for your designs using CSS3 3D transforms

There's a lot of swearing and obscenity on the Perspective Mockups site, which you may find either hilarious or offensive. But the plugin is definitely worth checking out. Essentially it's a great way to make perspective mockups for your designs using CSS3 3D transforms. The plugin sits within your Photoshop tools palette and includes eight different layouts to choose from.

08. CSS Hat

 CSS Hat
We take our hat off to CSS Hat
  • Publisher: CSS Hat
  • Price: $34.99
  • Good for: Web designers

CSS Hat is a a Photoshop plugin that turns your Photoshop styles into usable CSS3 for your website. You just click on a layer designed with some layer styles, and the markup pops up instantly, for you to copy to your clipboard.

09. Flaticon.com

If you want to download free icons, Freepik has launched a tool entirely dedicated to this end: Flaticon.com. The largest database of free vector icons, it enables you to download all of its thousands of icons in .svg, .psd or .png format. And this free plugin for Photoshop lets you quickly find all the icons without leaving your working environment.

10. CSS3PS

 CSS3PS
CSS3PS makes it easy to convert your Photoshop layers into CSS3 layers
  • Publisher: CSS3PS
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Web designers

This free plugin uses the cloud to perform the calculations required to convert your Photoshop layers into CSS3 layers, complete with live-rendered effects where these are achievable with CSS. So, drop-shadows, strokes, outer glows, text and rounded corners are all converted to CSS3 automatically. Well worth a try to see if it could save you valuable coding time.

11. Silver EFEX Pro 2

 Silver EFEX Pro 2
Silver EFEX Pro 2 helps you produce stunning black and white photos
  • Publisher: Nik Software
  • Price: $199.95 (free trial available)
  • Good for: Photographers

This plugin carries an expensive price tag, but the results it can produce are absolutely stunning. Like Nik's Viveza plugin (number 25 on this list), there's a wide range of options with easy-to-use controls, but all focused around producing the best black and white photographs possible. Give the free trial a go and see what you think.

12. Fractalius

 Fractalius
Fractalius uses fractals to generate sketch-like effects
  • Publisher: RedField
  • Price: $39.90
  • Good for: Designers, artists

This unusual plugin uses fractal patterns, apparently hidden within the source image, to generate procedural effects that are reminiscent of pencil sketches, or stylised light glow streaks.

13. Dream Suite Ultimate

 Dream Suite Ultimate
Dream Suite Ultimate is a pricey but powerful suite

This all-encompassing suite of effects covers everything from textures to pseudo-3D effects, tonal correction and borders. It's not cheap, but covers such a wide range of effects that if you want to buy just one plugin, this should be in your shortlist of options.

14. Exposure 4

 Exposure 4
Simulate film effects with Exposure
  • Publisher: Alien Skin
  • Price: $249 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers

Exposure is a creative tool that allows you to simulate film effects on your digital images, rendering analog-style finishes, borders, scratches and processing in a realistic and rewarding style. Version 4 adds to the already excellent Exposure 3 with additional controls for black/white, split toning and custom colour effects.

15. Machine Wash Deluxe

 Machine Wash Deluxe
Add weathering effects with Machine Wash Deluxe
  • Publisher: Mister Retro
  • Price: $99
  • Best for: Designers and Photographers

This filter brings insanely beautiful scratchy textures to your designs and images with accurate, believable weathering and aging effects. Effects include the ability to place artwork on a leather base, render onto wood with the grain visible through the artwork and rust effects. It produces especially nice effects on simple typography.

16. 3D Invigorator  

 3D Invigorator
This plugin simplifies the complex 3D process
  • Publisher: Digital Anarchy
  • Price: $199 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers

While Photoshop has come on leaps and bounds with its own 3D engine and rendering, there's still room for additional tools that can simplify the process of creating complex 3D scenes and models. This plugin features a simple object editor that uses a pen-like tool for drawing and editing shapes.

17. Blow Up 3

Create pin-sharp enlargements without compromising on quality
  • Publisher: Alien Skin
  • Price: $199 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers and Photographers

Blow Up allows you to create pin-sharp enlargements from photos without compromising on quality. The algorithm is more advanced than Photoshop's own bicubic filters, which allows the plugin to produce accurate images without artifacts. This makes it a great tool for designers where clients send over images that aren't of a high-enough resolution.

18. Photomatix Pro  

 Photomatix Pro
Photomatix Pro simplifies the creation of extreme HDR images
  • Publisher: HDR soft
  • Price: from $79 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers

Photomatix Pro is an High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing and toning tool that integrates with Photoshop either standalone or as a plugin (depending upon which version you go for). This tool goes beyond Photoshop's built-in HDR processing capabilities, especially with the toning aspects and allows for the creation of extreme HDR images with relative ease.

19. Perfect Effects 3 FREE

 Perfect Effects 3 FREE
If you want to get a quick effect on your image, try this plugin
  • Publisher: onOne Software
  • Price: Free
  • Best for: Photographers & Designers

Perfect Effects 3 FREE is a handy tool for getting a quick effect on an image, whether that's a colour treatment, addition of texture and noise, or creative borders. The plugin features an effects library (a bit like the filter gallery in Photoshop) and allows you to stack multiple effects to achieve interesting new results.

20. Noiseware

 Noiseware
Noise is tricky to deal with, but not if you have Noiseware
  • Publisher: Imagenomic
  • Price: $79.95
  • Best for: Photographers

Noise is a problem for everyone, but no more so than Photographers who need to present clients with clean images regardless of the conditions when the shot was captured. Noiseware is a specialist noise-suppression tool that will both remove noise and sharpen at the same time making it a really useful addition to Photoshop.

21. Texture Anarchy

 Texture Anarchy
Rich textures are possible with Texture Anarchy
  • Publisher: Digital Anarchy
  • Price: $129 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers

A combination of three different filters for Photoshop that each provide seamless and rich textures you can incorporate into your designs. Some of these are a little predictable, but the sheer range available, along with the ability to generate true fractals, makes this a great addition to Photoshop.

22. Fluid Mask 3

 Fluid Mask 3
Fluid Mask is designed to make masking simpler
  • Publisher: Vertus
  • Price: $149 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers & Designers

Masking is a fine art all in itself, and while Photoshop has improved its built-in masking tools with CS5 and CS6, there's still plenty of room for a dedicated tool to help you get the cleanest and most accurate masks possible - especially around problem areas such as hair and fur. Fluid Mask makes this normally laborious process quick and (relatively) easy!

23. Portraiture

 Portraiture
This plugin automatically smooths without softening detail areas
  • Publisher: Imagenomic
  • Price: $199.95
  • Best for: Photographers

Portraiture is a combined plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture that automates the process of retouching portraits for a perfect-skin look. The plugin automatically smooths skin tones while removing blemishes and, crucially, avoids softening or destroying detail areas such as eyelashes and skin texture.

24. SuperPNG

 SuperPNG
SuperPNG allows greater control over PNG images
  • Publisher: fnord
  • Price: Free
  • Best for: Designers

If you're a regular user of the PNG format, you'll know that Photoshop can sometimes struggle a bit to render PNGs quickly. SuperPNG aims to fix this by offering more control over your PNG output, allowing for a balance between speed and file size, control over the alpha channel and meta data. SuperPNG's a handy tool for taking control of your image export, and is free!

25. SiteGrinder

 SiteGrinder
SiteGrinder is a great tool for novice website builders
  • Publisher: Medialab
  • Price: $347 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers

SiteGrinder is a tool for converting Photoshop mockups into fully functioning HTML and CSS webpages. It includes support for an eCommerce module to further enhance the output, and a CMS-based module adds the ability to maintain websites created using the tool. This isn't really aimed at web professionals, but could be handy for novice designers.

26. Wire Worm

 Wire Worm
Remove annoying wires and cables easily with Wire Worm
  • Publisher: MV's Plugins
  • Price: Free
  • Best for: Photographers

Wire Worm is a free plugin with a single, simple purpose that may save you a lot of time removing telephone wires, fences and similar obstructions in your images. The interface is simple, allowing you to select an area around a wire or other obstruction and have the tool automatically remove it. Results are surprisingly good, especially for the price!

27. EyeCandy

 EyeCandy
A multitude of effects are available with EyeCandy
  • Publisher: Alien Skin
  • Price: $249 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers

EyeCandy has been around for over a decade, offering a broad range of effects ranging from fire to chrome, glass to extrusions. Useful for many different scenarios, a lot of the effects need dialing down from the default settings to achieve something other than a cheesy result, but there’s a lot of hidden gems in the suite.

28. Viveza 2

 Viveza 2
Viveza works in a similar way to Lightroom's local corrections feature
  • Publisher: Nik Software
  • Price: $99.95 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers

Viveza 2 is a great solution for applying localised colour and lighting effects to your image. Working in a similar way to Lightroom’s local corrections feature, Viveza allows you to place points on your image and apply a series of effects that are automatically blended to give a professional result. Fantastic results are pretty easy to achieve, and above all else it's quick to use!

29. ToonIt

 ToonIt
ToonIt quickly turns an image into a cartoon
  • Publisher: Digital Anarchy
  • Price: $129 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers

ToonIt is a straightforward way to turn regular photos into a cartoon-style image, suitable for use in graphic novels or other scenarios where you don’t want photo-realistic images but need to base images on a photographic original. The plugin works automatically on an image, but there is a degree of control you can exercise to change the final output. Niche, but fun!

30. Magic Bullet PhotoLooks 2.0

 Magic Bullet PhotoLooks 2.0
PhotoLooks allows for a wide range of adjustments
  • Publisher: Red Giant Software
  • Price: $199 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers

Red Giant is better known for its range of After Effects plugins, but they’ve also brought their Looks plugin to Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. This features the same interface as in Magic Bullet Looks for After Effects and features a range of adjustment tools to help you achieve the exact 'look' you desire. A range of usable presets make this a great quick-fix tool.

31. Knoll Light Factory for Photoshop 3.2

 Knoll Light Factory for Photoshop 3.2
Add lens flares to your image with this plugin
  • Publisher: Red Giant Software
  • Price: $149 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers

Similar to its After Effects big brother, Knoll Light Factory for Photoshop allows you to create a host of advanced lens flares, integrating them into your image and adding immediate impact. There are over 100 presets, and you can build new flare effects to your own taste. A great tool for adding instant drama to photographs.

32. Ozone

 Ozone
Ozone makes toning more accessible to novices

Digital Film Tools' Ozone plugin is a toning system for images that duplicates a lot of the functionality found in Photoshop itself, but makes it more accessible to novice users. Based on the zone system established by Ansel Adams, it allows for different parts of an image to be toned according to taste, defining the relative importance and relationship of elements within an image.

33. Photoshop Edge FX

 Photoshop Edge FX
This plugin makes it easy to add creative borders

Photoshop Edge FX is a simple solution for adding creative borders around your images. The plugin ships with 100 frames and edges and also allows you to create your own mattes for additional borders. Simple and effective, this isn't offering anything you couldn’t achieve manually, but does the job quickly and efficiently.

34. Tych Panel 2

Photoshop plugin
Photoshop plugins: Create diptych, triptych and ntych panels with Tych Panel 2. Image credit: Gordon Andersson - www.gordonandersson.com
  • Publisher: Lumens
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Photographers and designers

This straightforward plugin makes it simple to create diptych (double), triptych (triple) and ntych (quadrule+) panels within Photoshop. Choose the alignment, number of rows and columns, or hybrid layouts, and Tych Panel 2 will create the layout for you utilizing Smart Objects and layer masks to avoid destructive editing.

35. GuideGuide

Photoshop plugins
GuideGuide makes it easy to create a grid system
  • Publisher: Cameron McEfee
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Print & web designers

This simple Photoshop plugin makes it easy to create a grid system in your Photoshop document, hijacking the built-in guides system to create a pinpoint accurate grid according to your chosen settings. You can use negative margins for special hanging columns, separately define individual margins and gutters, and save your preferred options for quick access in the future. Perfect for anyone using a grid to help them create their layouts.

36. Cut&Slice me

Photoshop plugins
Cut&Slice Me makes it easy to export your designs to the web

This super-handy CS6-only plugin makes it easy to export your designs from Photoshop to the web. Rather than rely on Photoshop's outdated export for web functionality, Cut&Slice me offers a new way of doing things; allowing overlapping slices, multiple button states and even exporting different resolutions of the same assets to cater for different screen sizes and devices.

37. Divine Elemente

Photoshop plugins
Divine Elemente lets you create WordPress themes from PSD files
  • Publisher: Divine Elemente
  • Price: $199 (free trial version available)
  • Good for: Web designers

This in-depth plugin integrates with Photoshop to allow for the creation of complete, functioning WordPress themes directly from a PSD file. You start by generating a PSD from within the plugin's own screens, then adapt the boilerplate design to suit your own aesthetic treatment. Once complete, you can export directly to WordPress, and edit otherwise static content using a special WordPress plugin. Ideal for non-technical users who want to get started in web template development.

38. Mr. Stacks

 Mr Stacks
Mr. Stacks enables you to convert layer comps into a storyboard view
  • Publisher: Mr. Stacks
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Photographers, designers, film-makers

This handy Photoshop script converts layer comps into a storyboard view, compositing your individual comps into a layout that can be easily output as PDF for printing and sharing with others. This turns Photoshop into a great place to create your blockbuster's storyboard, doing away with all the tedious manual positioning and exporting associated with generating your own board manually.

39. Freeware Boundary Noise Reduction

 Freeware Boundary Noise Reduction
Freeware Boundary Noise Reduction is a big improvement on Photoshop’s own noise reduction filter
  • Publisher: Colormancer
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Photographers

This Photoshop plugin is a freeware version of the full Boundary Noise Reduction plugin from Colormancer. Offering a simplified set of user controls when compared to the pro version, it's superior to Photoshop's own noise reduction filter.

40. Pano Warp

 Pano Warp
Pano Warp lets you correct for panorama distortion easily
  • Publisher: MV's Plugins
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Print and web designers, photographers

While Photoshop offers a handy Lens Correction feature, this filter takes an entirely different approach. Use this Photoshop plugin to adjust the focal length, roll and horizon height to correct for panorama distortion easily.

41. NKS5 Natural Media Toolkit

 NKS5 Natural Media Toolkit
Nkurence's tool lets you quickly access real-media preset effects
  • Publisher: Nkurence
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: designers & artists

This amazing free Photoshop plugin provides a new panel in Photoshop CS5 and above, allowing you to quickly access real-media preset effects in order to generate documents with natural paper backgrounds, realistic water-colour brush strokes and many more.

42. Sinedots II

 Sinedots II
Generate abstract, random wave patterns with Sinedots II

If you're looking for a quick way to generate abstract, random wave patterns for use as background art, this Photoshop plugin could be just what you need. It's phenomenally complex, and it’s surprisingly old - having been around for at least a decade - but still does the trick and creates some amazing patterns.

43. Web Font Plugin

 Web Font Plugin
Web Font Plugin lets you use Google Web Fonts inside Photoshop
  • Publisher: Extensis
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Web designers

It's frustrating working on mockups where you plan to use web fonts in the final rendered web page, as up until recently it's been impossible to legitimately get those web fonts onto your system. This Photoshop plugin is one of a few solutions that are arriving, allowing you to instantly install and use Google Web Fonts inside Photoshop.

Words: Sam Hampton-Smith

This is an updated and extended version of an article that was previously published on Creative Bloq. Which Photoshop plugins have we missed off our list? Let us know in the comments below!

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