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The 38 best Photoshop plugins

Photoshop plugins: Perspective Mockups

21. Perspective Mockups

Create perspective mockups using CSS3 3D transforms.

Publisher: BlazRobar | Price: $19 | Best for: Artists, designers

8 layouts to choose from
Easy way to lift your artwork
Site is very sweary

If you can forgive or overlook the gratuitous use of swearing and obscenity 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 using CSS3 3D transforms. The plugin sits within your Photoshop tools palette and includes eight different layouts to choose from. Simply click to set. It’s a quick way to give your artwork punch and lift.

Photoshop plugins: CSS Hat 2

22. CSS Hat 2

Turn your Photoshop styles into clean CSS3.

Publisher: Source | Price: $39.99 | Best for: Web designers

Styles translated pixel-for-pixel
V2 supports Less and Sass

CSS Hat turns your Photoshop styles into clean CSS3 for your website. Simply click on a layer designed with some layer styles and the styling markup pops up instantly, for you to copy to your clipboard. This is especially useful when rendering specifically sized elements on your page or copying text styles as everything is translated pixel-for-pixel between Photoshop and CSS3. Version 2 also supports both Less and Sass for cleaner code output.

Photoshop plugins: FlatIcon

23. FlatIcon

Thousands of free vector icons to download.

Publisher: Freepik | Price: Free | Best for: Designers

Search icons within Photoshop
Download as SVG, PSD or PNG

FlatIcon is a large database of thousands of free vector icons that you can download in SVG, PSD or PNG format. This free Photoshop plugin lets you quickly find all the icons without leaving your working environment, inserting them directly into your design from a panel.

Photoshop plugins: Shutterstock

24. Shutterstock

Access Shutterstock's full library from within Photoshop.

Publisher: Shutterstock | Price: Free (licence images via plugin) | Best for: Designers

Search within PS
Simple workflow

Working across the full Creative Suite, this plugin 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.

Photoshop plugins: Fractalius

25. Fractalius

Generate sketch-like effects using fractals.

Publisher: RedField | Price: $39.90 | Best for: Artists and designers

Use to abstract images
Unusual plugin

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. Fractalius is useful either as the start of a piece of artwork, or to generate abstract imagery for use within a design project.

Photoshop plugins: Dream Suite Ultimate

26. Dream Suite Ultimate

A pricey but powerful suite of effects.

Publisher: Auto FX | Price: $179.99 (currently $89.99) | Best for: Photographers

Wide range of effects
Plenty of options in one plugin

This all-encompassing suite of effects covers everything from textures to pseudo-3D effects, tonal correction and borders. Dream Suite Ultimate is not in any way cheap (although we've seen special offers of up to 50% off on the download page), but as it covers such a wide range of effects it’s worth adding to your shortlist if you’re looking for a single purchase that will give you a lot of power and options without having to maintain a disparate collection of plugins.

Photoshop plugins: Machine Wash Deluxe

27. Machine Wash Deluxe

Add beautiful, scratchy weathering effects.

Publisher: Mister Retro | Price: $99 | Best for: Artists and designers

Realistic effects
Works well on typography

One of our personal favourites, Machine Wash Deluxe filter brings insanely beautiful scratchy textures to your designs and images with accurate, believable weathering and ageing 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.

Photoshop plugins: 3D Invigorator

28. 3D Invigorator

This Photoshop plugin simplifies the complex 3D process.

Publisher: Digital Anarchy | Price: $175 | Best for: Designers

Simple object editor
Creates polished final renders

It’s true that Photoshop’s own 3D engine has come on leaps and bounds, there's still room for additional tools that can simplify the process of creating complex 3D scenes and models. The 3D Invigorator Photoshop plugin features a simple object editor that uses a pen-like tool for drawing and editing shapes. The final renders are polished and look good with little input required, making this a good choice for designers who need to generate 3D elements with little fuss.

Photoshop plugins: Blow Up 3

29. Blow Up 3

Create enlargements without compromising on quality.

Publisher: Alien Skin | Price: $99 | Best for: Photographers and designers

Advanced algorithm
Improve low-res assets

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 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

30. PhotoMatix Pro

Create extreme HDR images easily.

Publisher: HDR Soft | Price: $99 | Best for: Photographers

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. If the $99 price point is too steep for you, there's PhotoMatix Essentials at $39 for those looking for something simpler.

Photoshop plugins: ON1 Effects

31. ON1 Effects 10.5

Add a range of effects quickly.

Publisher: ON1 | Price: $59.99 | Best for: Artists and designers

Originally paid
Includes texture, noise and colour
Stack multiple effects

ON1’s Effects 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, 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.

Photoshop plugins: Noiseware

32. Noiseware

This specialist tool removes noise and sharpens images.

Publisher: Imagenomic | Price: $79.95 | Best for: Photographers and designers

Specialist features
Sharpens and removes noise

Noise is a problem for everyone, but no more so than for photographers who need to present clients with clean images regardless of the conditions in which the shot was captured, and designers who receive sub-par quality images from clients. 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’s in-built noise management toolset.

Photoshop plugins: Texture Anarchy

33. Texture Anarchy

Explore seamless, rich textures.

Publisher: Digital Anarchy | Price: Free | Best for: Designers

Previously paid
Impressive range
Generate true fractals

Texture Anarchy is another plugin that used to charge a premium price, but is now available free of charge. This pack offers a combination of 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.

Photoshop plugins: Portraiture

34. Portraiture 3

This plugin smooths without softening detail.

Publisher: Imagenomic | Price: $199.95 | Best for: Photographers and designers

Automates retouching process
Removes blemishes

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. The price may seem a bit "whoa!" but this is a top-quality plugin for portrait photographers.

Photoshop plugins: SuperPNG

35. SuperPNG

Improved control over PNG images in Photoshop.

Publisher: FNord | Price: Free | Best for: Designers

Control PNG image export
Great if you're using an older PS

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! This is becoming less useful as Adobe have substantially improved export for web in recent releases, but if you’re using an older version of Photoshop it’s well worth a look.

36. Exposure X4

Simulate film effects for digital projects.

Publisher: Alien Skin | Price: From $149 | Best for: Photographers and designers

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. For its X4 release, publisher Alien Skin has improved its shadow and highlight recovery, as well as adding fully adjustable light effects and transform tools that correct tilted or skewed perspectives. Users can also now create smart collections to automatically organise your photo library (and, boy, is that required around here). Exposure X4 is available as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom, or as a complete standalone raw photo editor.

Photoshop plugins: GuideGuide

37. GuideGuide

An easy way to create a grid system.

Publisher: Cameron McEfee | Price: From $35/year | Best for: Designers

Pinpoint accurate grid
Negative margins possible
Save preferences

GuideGuide is a simple Photoshop plugin 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.

Photoshop plugins: Screensnap

38. Screensnap

Easily create screenshots from your PSDs.

Publisher: PluginMate | Price: $9.99 | Best for: Designers

Create and share screenshots easily
Export to Retina possible

Easily create screenshots from your PSDs with ScreenSnap. The Photoshop plugin aims to make it easier to share screenshots of your WIP or designs. There’s no need to manually crop or use Save for Web: just select a folder, choose your settings and hit the button. And if you’re designing at standard resolution, you can export your screenshot to Retina.  

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