The 40 best Photoshop plugins

In this article we've lined up some of the best Photoshop plugins available for Adobe Creative Cloud's photo editing giant. (Once you've found the one you need, head over to our Black Friday deals page and see if you can grab a bargain on it – or any other top design and creative gear.)

Photoshop is an amazing tool – capable of producing sublime images, high-quality video and passable renders for 3D art.

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.

There's a plethora of plugins available for Photoshop users, but we've selected the best of those that you can download and use straight away.

Photoshop plugins Filter Forge

Filter Forge offers a load of filter options
  • Publisher: Filter Forge
  • Price: $149-$399 (now $37 - $99 at a 75% discount)
  • Good for: Photographers, photo editors, graphic designers, 3D artists

Filter Forge offers 12 thousand of effects and textures, covering almost every use case you can imagine. In version 7.0, the new copy-paste function makes it possible to use Filter Forge with any host. Just copy a processed image from the standalone Filter Forge application and paste it anywhere you want. 

Need to work with render channels? Now you can preview all active channels during rendering and export all of them to files at once. Discover all the new features here.

A multitude of effects are available with Eye Candy

  • Publisher: Alien Skin
  • Price: $129 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Designers

Eye Candy has been around for over a decade, with version 7 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 dialling down from the default settings to achieve something other than a cheesy result, but there’s a lot of hidden gems in the suite.

01. RH Hover Color Picker

Have fine colour control right at your fingertips when you need it

  • Publisher: Rico Holmes
  • Price: $16
  • Best for: Artists and designers

If you've ever wished that Photoshop's colour picker was just a little less ugly and cumbersome, Rico Holmes' Hover Color Picker might be what you've been waiting for. It's there when you need it with a good-looking set of customisable sliders that give you a lot more control than the standard picker, and when you're done it'll minimise itself automatically.

02. Ultimate Retouch Panel

This panel delivers professional retouching functionality

  • Publisher: Pro Add-Ons
  • Price: $29
  • Best for: Retouchers and photographers

For professional retouching results that go a lot further than the default Photoshop filters, it's hard to go wrong with Ultimate Retouch Panel. Now on version 3.7.5, the developer's been taking on board suggestions from pro clients about what they need from it, and it features over 200 functions in one panel, including seven frequency separation methods, four fast retouch methods and 15 tools for local retouching.

03. ALCE 3

Use local contrast enhancement to bring out unseen detail in your photos

  • Publisher: Davide Barranca
  • Price: $34.95
  • Best for: Photographers

Local contrast enhancement is a useful method for bringing out extra details in photography, and while you can do it in Photoshop using the Unsharp Mask filter, it can be a bit hit-and-miss if you don't really know what you're doing. ALCE 3 takes all the guesswork out of it, adding shape and depth to your shots without losing detail across shadows and highlights.

04. Fontself Maker for Photoshop CC

The Fontself Maker Photoshop plugin brings you font creation superpowers

  • Publisher: Fontself
  • Price: £43 (around $57)
  • Good for: Designers

Ready to start creating your own fonts? It’s easier than you think with this handy Photoshop plugin. Fontself Maker lets you turn any image or vector layer into colourful OpenType fonts using Photoshop CC 2015.3 to CC 2018. 

You can drag and drop layers to create new characters, and capture any colour, shade or texture you want. The makers are working on updates all the time – think kerning, ligatures, alternates and so on – which they distribute to Fontself Maker owners for free.

05. Fluid Mask 3

Fluid Mask is designed to make masking simpler
  • Publisher: Vertus
  • Price: $99 (free trial available)
  • Best for: Photographers & Designers

Masking is a fine art all in itself, and while Photoshop has good built-in masking tools, 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.

06. Getty Images

  • Publisher: Getty Images
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Graphic designers, web designers

Everyone needs a bit of stock imagery now and then, so why make things difficult for yourself. Getty Images' plugin makes it easy for you to search for and filter images and hi-res comps, not only for Photoshop but also Illustrator and InDesign. If you already have a Getty account you'll have access to all your previous downloads, and you can set your preferences to tailor the plugin experience towards your own needs.

07. ParticleShop

Photoshop Plugins ParticleShop

ParticleShop brings Corel Painter tools to Adobe Photoshop users
  • Publisher: Corel
  • Price: £44.99
  • Good for: Illustrators and Photographers

Painter is a long established digital art favourite among illustrators, but, thankfully, Corel has finally brought its brush technology to Photoshop with ParticleShop. Brushes can make a huge difference to your creativity and productivity, and this powerful plugin offers non-destructive brushstroke layer support and includes 11 great brushes, including Debris, Fabric, Fine Art, Fur, Hair, Light, Space, Smoke and Storm.

08. Ink

Photoshop Plugins Ink

Ink is a must-have for designers working with developer teams

Ink is built for team players. Sometimes developer teams might not be as Photoshop savvy as you, the designer. Ink helps you communicate your designs. This Photoshop specs generator allows you to include subtle information in your Photoshop document. You can add essential specifications such as text formatting, layer styles, typography, effects and sizes. 

All this information is then compiled into one handy folder to keep it neat and tidy. This all ensures that your final product looks how it is expected to look when handed over to developers.

09. Fixel Contrastica 2

Photoshop Plugins Fixel Contrasica 2

Contrastica is a smart contrast intensifier that targets both local and global contrast at the same time
  • Publisher: Fixel Algorithms
  • Price: $29.99
  • Good for: Photographers

Available for both Photoshop and After Effects, Contrastica is a smart contrast intensifier. From Fixel Algorithms, a company specialising developing and implementing "Advanced and Innovative Image and Video Processing Algorithms" in order to expand image and video manipulation abilities.

Contrastica is a simple to use, focused and highly tuned filter. It targets both local and global contrast at the same time – making it easy to create the image you need in less time.

10. Perfect Resize 9.5

Photoshop Plugins Perfect Rezie 9 0

Perfect Resize can enlarge your photos up to 1000% without losing image quality
  • Publisher: On1
  • Price: $79.95
  • Good for: Photographers

Perfect Resize 9.5 will enlarge images taken on your DSLR and even mobile devices. The plugin uses genuine fractals powered algorithms for optimising clarity and detail for different image types. With built-in presets and manual controls you can easily create high quality enlargements. You can print directly from Perfect Resize 9.5 and it includes cropping and levelling.

11. B&W Effects

Photoshop Plugins B amp W Effects by Topaz

Tweak the specific color and intensity of filters to transform colour images into beautiful monocrome photographs
  • Publisher: Topaz Labs
  • Price: $59.99
  • Good for: Photographers

We could have picked any of Topaz Labs products - they are a must-have for any photographer. Providing texture effects, making remasking easy and turning your photos into impressionist paintings - there is nothing Topaz hasn't come out with to maximise your Photoshop creativity.

However, their black and white tool makes others pale in comparison. It uses a unique B&W conversion engine that emphasises tone and texture in order to help you get B&W images that pop.

12. Kubota Texture Tools Industrial

Photoshop plugins Kubota Industrial

Texture Tools Industrial includes a set of 50 metallic filters
  • Publisher: Kubota
  • Price: $69
  • Good for: Photographers

Kubota describes itself as the 'Mecca' of photo enhancing tools, and this industrial pack accompanies its extensive range of textures, borders and templates.

As usual with Kubota, you can try these metallic filters before you buy. With this pack you can give your images a man-made finish thanks to a selection of 50 metal themed textures. You'll be able to manipulate the filters to fit your images, giving them an edgy final touch that will make them stand out from the crowd.

13. Page Curl

Photoshop plugins PageCurl

Bend your images with this powerful plugin
  • Publisher: AV Bros
  • Price: £20.95
  • Good for: Graphic designers

Page Curl allows you to create a page turn and page fold effect on both regular and arbitrary-shaped objects (such as non-rectangular objects, or areas with full or partial transparency.)

Ideal for ecovers and designers, this powerful plugin is straightforward to use and designed to fit in with other Photoshop tools. The latest update allows you to switch the direction of the folds and curls (choose between Upwards or Downwards), as well as supporting CMYK coloured images and much more.

14. PSD Cleaner

Photoshop plugins PSD Cleaner

Easily look after your layers with PSD cleaner
  • Publisher: Source
  • Price: $19.99
  • Good for: Graphic designers, web designers

Sorting through layers and layers of design work is a laborious, tedious task that is the bane of graphic designers and web designers everywhere. But thanks to PSD Cleaner, the process has got a whole lot easier.

From one simple panel, users can identify unnamed layers, recreate Photoshop effects in CSS, delete empty layers, find out if layers are beyond the canvas and much more.

15. Velositey

Photoshop plugins Velositey

Design a website prototype in seconds with Velositey
  • Publisher: D&K agency
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Web designers, developers

The simple and efficient Velositey plugin makes short work of creating a website template. With over 60 templates to choose from and no charge (they only ask for social media mentions), Velositey is a polished, sophisticated tool that will benefit both designers and developers.

Everything has been designed to fit in with the existing Photoshop setup, so it only takes a couple of minutes at most to create a suitable website template for your project.

16. Google Nik Collection

The Nik Collection's now completely free; go get it!
  • Publisher: Google
  • Price: Free
  • Good for: Photographers

We've enthused about many of the photographic plugins featured in the Nik Collection before, but now there's no need to agonise over which ones to buy; Google bought it and then kindly decided to release the entire collection for free. 

So now you can equip yourself with top quality plugins such as Silver EFEX Pro and Viveza that would previously have cost you $95 a go, as well as five other powerful and versatile plugins, without spending anything.

17. virtualPhotographer

Photoshop plugins 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.

18. WebZap

Photoshop plugins 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.

19. Subtle Patterns

Photoshop plugins Subtle patterns

A great plugin to make using the free texture library simple from Photoshop
  • Publisher: Source
  • Price: $17.99
  • Good for: Graphic designers, web designers

Subtle Patterns is a high quality library of free, tilable textured patterns. 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 $17.99.

20. Renamy

Photoshop plugins Renamy

Renamy lets you rename multiple Photoshop layers at once
  • Publisher: Klaia
  • Price: $14.99
  • 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.

Next page: more top Photoshop plugins