The 40 best Photoshop plugins

Photoshop plugins: Blow Up 3

31. 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.

32. PhotoMatix Pro

Create extreme HDR images easily.

Publisher: HDR Soft | Price: From £39 | 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.

33. ON1 Effects 10.5

Add a range of effects quickly.

Publisher: ON1 | Price: Free | Best for: Artists and designers

Originally paid
Includes texture, noise and colour
Stack multiple effects

Previously a $60 purchase, ON1’s Effects suite is now free. 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

34. 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

35. Texture Anarchy

Explore seamless, rich textures.

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

Previously paid
Impressive range
Generate true fractals

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

36. 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.

Photoshop plugins: SuperPNG

37. 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.

38. Exposure X2

Simulate film effects for digital projects.

Publisher: Alien Skin | Price: $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 X2 release, publisher Alien Skin has improved its special effects offering to include textures, overlays, vignettes and creative focus, as well as portrait touchup tools like spot heal, iris enhancement, and skin softening. Users can also now layer up different effects. Exposure X2 is available as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom, or as a complete standalone raw photo editor.

39. GuideGuide

An easy way to create a grid system.

Publisher: Cameron McEfee | Price: $10 | 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.

40. 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.  

Related articles: