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The 25 best Photoshop plugins

Best Photoshop plugins: a woman using Photoshop on a monitor screen
(Image credit: Gorodenkoff via Getty)

The best Photoshop plugins can enhance your use of Adobe's industry-leading photo-editing software, tailoring the experience to your particular needs. Photoshop is an essential tool for many creatives, and it can be made even more powerful with all the additional plugins available. 

Photoshop Plugins can unlock additional features and boost your productivity to help you save time. It can be hard to know which to use to suit your workflow, so we've put together a list of our own favourite Photoshop plugins to help you decide.

In the list below, we'll explain what each of our recommended Photoshop plugins does. We've included both free and premium options for a range of uses.  Once you've got your plugins, check out our guide to free photoshop actions for more tools. Don't have Photoshop yet? then sign up to Creative Cloud here or if you want to experiment with other photo-editing options see our guide to the best photo editing software.

The best Photoshop plugins

01. Chameleon Adaptive Pallette

A smart colour swatch system that adapts as you paint

Specifications
Publisher: Rico Holmes
Price: $16
Best for: Digital artists
Reasons to buy
+Flexible layout+Lock or unlock strips+Lots of features

This Photoshop plugin provides a smart palette system that intelligently adapts to the colours you choose and offers a wide range of strips with slightly functions. Chameleon Adaptive Palette can offer palette variations or lock as a static palette. It's a feature-rich plugin but shouldn't weigh on your CPU. See the helpful video above to learn how to use it.

02. CSS3Ps

The best Photoshop plugin for web developers

Specifications
Publisher: CSS3Ps
Price: Free
Best for: Web developers
Reasons to buy
+Convert layers into CSS3+Cloud-based+Supports a bunch of features
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

The CSS3P Photoshop plugin is perfect for web developers since it turns Photoshop layers into CSS3. To convert your layers to CSS3, simply click the CSS3P button; it couldn't be simpler. It's cloud-based so you don't have to worry about updates and you can check your work out easily. The plugin supports a range of features including multiple layer selection, vendor prefixes, stroke, size and inner shadow, making it a very useful addition. 

Photoshop plugins: Brushbox

(Image credit: Derrick Barth)

03. BrushBox

The best Photoshop plugin to organise your brushes

Specifications
Publisher: Derrick Barth
Price: $15
Best for: Designers, digital artists
Reasons to buy
+Easy to find your brushes+Quick and easy to set up
Reasons to avoid
-Not the nicest UI

It's easy to find yourself getting lost in a sea of brushes in Photoshop, but the Photoshop plugin BrushBox provides a solution. BrushBox enables you to organise your brushes more efficiently by putting them in groups, which can be colour coded (you can even add different backgrounds). You can tag your favourite brushes and you can override a brush's default settings to save you from having to make the same changes over and over again. 

This isn't the most necessary Photoshop plugin if you only use a handful of brushes in their default settings, but if you've built up a sizable brush collection, it can prove really helpful (to add to your brush collection, see our roundup of the best free Photoshop brushes). 

04. AD Brutus Symmetry

A fun Photoshop plugin for drawing symmetrically

Specifications
Publisher: Alex Dukal
Price: $10
Best for: Digital artists
Reasons to buy
+Draw or paint symmetrically+Save with one click+Free updates

The AD Brutus Symmetry Photoshop plugin makes it easy to explore symmetrical designs or drawing. Just place your grid or guide on your work and see it reflected where you choose. You can flip layers or selections and also rotate your work. Saving is easy too since you can save either the active layer or a merged PNG version of the current view with just one click. It might not be the most useful plugin, unless you work consistently with patterns, but it's great fun to play around with. 

Photoshop plugins: free stock search

(Image credit: Thomas Zagler)

Search for free stock imagery and download directly in Photoshop

Specifications
Publisher: Thomas Zagler
Price: Free
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Free plugin+Search from directly within PS+Use the images for free

If you're on a tight budget and find yourself needing stock images, this Photoshop plugin could prove very handy. Free Stock Search lets you search for free stock images on Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels from within Photoshop itself. You then click and the photo will be downloaded and imported directly into PS (or any of the other Adobe app). As the name suggests, the plugin itself is free, so it's quids-in. If you need something more specific, there are some more great stock image plugins further down in our list, so read on. 

Photoshop plugins: Powtown

(Image credit: Powtoon LTD)

06. Powtoon

Turn static Photoshop images into animated videos

Specifications
Publisher: Powtoon LTD
Price: Free
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Free plugin+Simple way to animate designs+Customise the results

Powtoon is a free Photoshop plugin that lets you turn your designs into animated video content with a single click. Choose to export all Artboards or select Artboards, then enhance your animated design with custom animation, stock footage and imagery, or add a soundtrack. Finally, you can export directly to YouTube, Facebook, MP4, Vimeo and more. It has some great reviews.

Photoshop plugins: RH Hover Color Picker

07. RH Hover Color Picker

The best Photoshop plugin for fine colour control when you need it

Specifications
Publisher: Rico Holmes
Price: $16
Best for: Artists and designers
Reasons to buy
+Customisable colour sliders+Minimises automatically+Looks good 

If you've ever wished Photoshop's colour picker was a little less ugly and cumbersome, Rico Holmes' Hover Color Picker Photoshop plugin might be just what you're looking for. It's there when you need it and gone when you don't, with a good-looking set of customisable sliders that give you a lot more control than the standard picker. It automatically minimises when you're done.

Photoshop plugins: Ultimate Retouch Panel

08. Ultimate Retouch Panel

The best Photoshop plugin for professional retouching functionality

Specifications
Publisher: Pro Add-Ons
Price: From $33
Best for: Retouchers and photographers
Reasons to buy
+Cost-effective+Over 200 functions included
Reasons to avoid
-Quite old now

For professional retouching results that go beyond the default Photoshop filters, Pro Add-Ons’ Ultimate Retouch Panel is well worth a look. It’s getting a little long in the tooth, but this good-value tool features over 200 functions in one panel, including seven frequency separation methods, four fast-retouch methods, and 30 tools for local retouching.

Photoshop plugins: Fontself Maker

09. Fontself Maker

Turn any image into an OpenType font

Specifications
Publisher: Fontself
Price: £45 for Photoshop+Illustrator
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Turn any image into a font+Fine control over features+Actively being developed

Want to start creating your own fonts? The Photoshop plugin Fontself Maker makes that easier than you might imagine by allowing you to turn any image or vector layer into colourful fonts that you can export as OTF files. Drag and drop layers to create new characters, and capture any colour, shade or texture you desire.

 All the features can be configured and controlled, including per-character kerning, ligatures, character alternates and more. The team behind the tool are also actively developing and updating the plugin so you can expect ongoing feature enhancements. If you want to create vector-based fonts, the plugin can also be purchased for Illustrator.

Photoshop plugins: Getty Images

10. Getty Images

Easily add video, photos and vectors from Getty Images

Specifications
Publisher: Getty
Price: Free (licence images used via plugin)
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Easily search and filter images+Retain edits when hi-res image purchased+Works with Illustrator and InDesign

Everyone needs a bit of stock imagery now and then, so why not make things easy for yourself? The Getty Images Photoshop plugin makes it super easy to search for and filter images and hi-res comps. You can also use it with Illustrator and InDesign too. Once you’ve made your edits and used comps to get client approval, you can licence a high-resolution image and retain all your edits making for a smooth workflow.

Photoshop plugins: ParticleShop

11. ParticleShop

Corel Painter tools for Photoshop users

Specifications
Publisher: Corel (Painter)
Price: $44.99
Best for: Artists
Reasons to buy
+Non-destructive layer support+11 updated brushes
Reasons to avoid
-On the pricier side

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

Photoshop plugins: ON1 Resize

(Image credit: On1)

12. ON1 Resize

Enlarge photos without losing image quality

Specifications
Publisher: On1
Price: £63.60
Best for: Photographers and designers
Reasons to buy
+Enlarge pics up to 1000%+Full file browser+Also offers batch processing

ON1 Resize allows you to enlarge images taken on your DSLR or smartphone by up to 1,000 per cent. The plugin uses genuine fractals’ powerful algorithms to optimise clarity and detail enhancement. But it's more than just an image resizing tool, however. Featuring a full file browser, it also offers batch processing, image compression and a host of built-in presets and manual controls.

Photoshop plugins: B&W Effects

(Image credit: Topaz Labs)

13. B&W Effects

Turn coloured images into beautiful monochrome photographs

Specifications
Publisher: TopazLabs
Price: $99.99
Best for: Photographers
Reasons to buy
+Focus on tone and texture+Gives B&W images that pop

Most of Topaz Labs’ products could happily make it into this list, and its Photoshop plugins are a must-have for any serious digital photographer. Whether it’s providing texture effects, making masking easy, or turning your photographs into impressionist paintings, there’s not much you can imagine that Topaz hasn't developed a tool for. However, this black and white effects plugin is one of its best. Using a unique B&W conversion engine that emphasises tone and texture, it can help you create B&W images that really pop.

Photoshop plugins: Filter forge

(Image credit: Filter Forge)

14. Filter Forge 10

Over 13,000 effects and textures for Photoshop

Specifications
Publisher: Filter Forge
Price: From $59
Good for: 3D artists, photographers, photo editors, graphic designers
Reasons to buy
+Lots of filter options+Tabs+Backup tool

The Filter Forge Photoshop plugin offers over 14,000 effects and textures, covering a diverse range of use cases. Filter Forge is now on version 10, but version 11 is due by the end of 2021 and will be available for free for those who purchase version 10 now. 

One handy feature allows users can now load any image or filter into separate tabs, and compare them or fine-tune their settings. There's also a handy backup tool. If you need to move from one computer to another, you can use this to compresses your filters and settings into a single archive file that you can restore later on another computer, another version of Filter Forge or even another platform.

Photoshop plugins: Eye Candy

15. Eye Candy

Choose from a wide range of photo effects in this well-known Photoshop plugin

Specifications
Publisher: Alien Skin
Price: $89 ($49 upgrade)
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Great for time-pressured designers+Can tone down default settings
Reasons to avoid
-Some effects are cheesy

Alien Skin’s Eye Candy is one of the most well-known Photoshop’s plugins, and has been around for well over a decade. Version 7 provides a huge range of effects ranging from fire to chrome, glass to extrusions. While many of the effects may initially seem to be rather cheesy, it’s surprising how many scenarios you’ll find them useful for, especially for freelance designers working to tight deadlines. Dialling down the effects from the default settings will often make them less cheesy and more useable.

Photoshop plugins: Luminar

16. Luminar

A focused photo editor to use within Photoshop

Specifications
Publisher: SkyLum
Price: From £59
Best for: Photographers
Reasons to buy
+Simplifies many editing tasks+Useful for working with raw photos

Luminar is a little bit like having a photo editor inside your photo editor. While the concept may sound strange, it’s a focused tool that does a great job at making the most of your images without any of the non-photography stuff that Photoshop includes. Using an AI routine alongside over 60 preset effects, the plugin simplifies masking, sky replacement, object removal and more. It's available for both Photoshop and Lightroom and is well worth a look if you regularly edit raw photographs. 

Photoshop plugins: Nik

(Image credit: DxO / PIXABAY)

17. Nik Collection

A range of powerful free Photoshop plugins

Specifications
Publisher: DxO
Price: £88.99
Best for: Photographers
Reasons to buy
+Top quality plugins+High-impact photographic effects

The Nik Collection suite of Photoshop plugins offers many great photographic plugins, including Silver EFEX Pro and Viveza, which provide a huge range of high-impact photographic effects. One of the best parts is the non-destructive mode, which allows you to export images as TIFF files and tweak any edits made (keeping the originals nice and safe). 

Photoshop plugins: Renamy

(Image credit: klaia)

18. Renamy

The best Photoshop plugin for renaming layers

Specifications
Publisher: Klaia
Price: $29.99 (limited free version)
Best for: Artists, photographers and designers
Reasons to buy
+Edit multiple layer names+Autocomplete function

Naming your layers right is the first rule of Photoshop etiquette. But sometimes you find you need to rename layers retrospectively, which can be a real drag. Renamy takes the pain out of that by allowing you to rename multiple layers at once. There's even a cool autocomplete function to help save your typing fingers. There's a basic free version available so you can try before you buy.

Photoshop plugins: Perspective Mockups

19. Perspective Mockups

Create cool perspective mockups for your designs

Specifications
Publisher: BlazRobar
Price: $19
Best for: Artists, designers
Reasons to buy
+8 layouts to choose from+Easy way to lift your artwork+Fully editable
Reasons to avoid
-Site is very sweary

If you can forgive or overlook the gratuitous swearing on the Perspective Mockups site, the plugin is definitely worth checking out. Essentially it's a great way to make perspective mockups for your designs. The plugin sits within your Photoshop tools palette and includes a range of different layouts to choose from. Simply click to set. It’s a quick way to add some punch and lift to your artwork.

Photoshop plugins: Shutterstock

20. Shutterstock

Access Shutterstock's full library from within Photoshop

Specifications
Publisher: Shutterstock
Price: Free (licence images via plugin)
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Search within PS+Simple workflow

The last stock imagery plugin in our list, this tool from Shutterstock provides direct in-app access to the huge range of stock imagery available in the Shutterstock library. Search inside Photoshop, click to select and insert, and license directly for an easier workflow. This is especially useful if you commonly licence royalty-free images for use in your designs. It works across Adobe's creative suite.

Photoshop plugins: Blow Up 3

21. Blow Up 3

Create enlargements without compromising on quality

Specifications
Publisher: Alien Skin
Price: $79
Best for: Photographers and designers
Reasons to buy
+Advanced algorithm+Improve low-res assets

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

Photoshop plugins: PhotoMatix Pro

22. PhotoMatix Pro

A great Photoshop plugin for creating extreme HDR images

Specifications
Publisher: HDR Soft
Price: $99
Best for: Photographers
Reasons to buy
+6 HDR styles to choose from+Standalone tool also available+Improved toning

PhotoMatix Pro is a 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.

Photoshop plugins: on1 effects

(Image credit: ON1)

23. ON1 Effects

Explore a huge range of photo effects, filters and presets

Specifications
Publisher: ON1
Price: £63.30
Best for: Photographers and designers
Reasons to buy
+Hundreds of presents, filters, texture and more+Stack multiple effects+Stylise your photos

ON1’s Effects is a handy tool for adding a quick effect to an image, whether it's a colour treatment, addition of texture and noise, or creative borders. This 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.

Exposure X7 Photoshop plugin

(Image credit: Exposure Software)

24. Exposure X7

Simulate film effects for digital projects

Specifications
Publisher: Alien Skin
Price: From $129
Best for: Photographers and designers
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of special effects+Portrait touchup tools+Layer up effects

Exposure is a creative tool that allows you to simulate film effects on your digital images either as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom or as a complete standalone raw photo editor. Now on version X7, it offers refined grading tools for total control of image colour, advanced selection tools for speedy adjustments of any area and adaptive smoothing.

Photoshop plugins: GuideGuide

(Image credit: GuideGuide)

25. GuideGuide

An easy way to create grids and guidelines

Specifications
Publisher: Cameron McEfee
Price: From £33/year
Best for: Designers
Reasons to buy
+Pinpoint accurate grid+Negative margins possible+Save preferences

GuideGuide is a simple Photoshop plugin that makes it easy to create a grid system in your 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.

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Sam Hampton-Smith

Sam is a designer and illustrator based in Scotland. He splits his time between art and design, motion and video and writing for various creative titles.