Graphic Designing

22 Powerful Photoshop Plugins

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The word Photoshop is now a verb, back in 2001, I was fortunate to meet Sivakesh Raman, a wizard of early dotcom era, who inspired me and introduced me to photoshop 5. Thanks dude.
 
Last week I was fortunate to assist a Professor of our university in his class, as a teaching assistant where my responsibility was to walk through all the photoshop tools, and I truly enjoyed the two days of teaching session.

During the class while explaining the tools I really missed something and I wasn’t able to figure it out until I reached home. The missing things in the university lab computer were my huge collections of photoshop filters.

If ever I teach photoshop, I will make sure that my students are introduced to plugins, actions, scripts and other extensions, as this will make them much better designers.  In this blog, I have lined up some of the exciting photoshop plugins, I have been using over 15 years of graphic designing career.

Please note, the list might be missing some great plugins, and the reason would be either I haven’t used them or I’m not aware of it. All the listed plugins is paid and I’m not affiliated with any of these vendors. This blog is purely a professional approach.
 
On One Perfect Photo Suite:
    Though this suite was individually sold before, each of the plugins is a power horse. In any workflow, the suite will provide the necessary tools for editing your photos, improving portraits, adding popular looks in color or black and white, resizing for large-format printing, and making complex selections or masks with minimal effort. Another added advantage is that this site works with Adobe Lightroom. My favorite is Genuine Fractals (Photo Resize), which was acquired by this company. Looking forward to get the On1 Photo 10 for my studio.

Google Nik Collections:
    Silver Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, Dfine, Color Efex Pro, Viveza and Sharpener Pro, I still failed to understand why Google acquired this, nevertheless, an amazing collection of tools. Until now they are sold individually, but I’m guessing soon this will be a complete suite. I’m using all these plugins except the Analog Efex Pro. And since Google purchased it the price have been slashed.

Portraiture:
    Since I also shoot portraits, this plugin helps to speed up my post production tasks. It intelligently smoothens and removes imperfections while preserving skin texture and other important portrait details such as hair, eyebrows, eyelashes etc. Slightly overpriced, but good ROI, suggest to try the demo.

portrait professionalPortrait Professional:
    The company claims, its world’s best retouching software, I disagree with that claim. I have used version 11, but never upgraded to any other version, nor i use it now, it works good, but very little control is in the hands of the designers, so the final outcome is at the mercy of the plugin.  For novice re-toucher this is a great tool. Try it since they have a trail version.

Cover Action Pro:
    If you are like me where you are bombarded with making mock ups of business cards and boxes and CD cases, then this is the tool for you. Again looks overpriced to me, but you can justify the cost if you have several corporate clients and many mocks to be created.

photoshop exposure7Exposure 7 by Alien Skin:
    Using since version Exposure 2, the latest version is a masterpiece, at the click of a few buttons you will have stunning images. This creative tool allows you to simulate film effects on your digital images I use this and Portraiture very often on most of my model images. Trial version available if you would like to try this out.

CSS Hat:
    With this plugin you could give a head start to the web developers and make their life a little easier, as this plugin will turn your styles into CSS3. Strongly recommend to all the web designers out there.

Flaticon:
     I use Freepik and all free download websites a lot of my design elements, with this plugin you can download icons in. svg, .psd or .png format from freepik website. Why wouldn’t a designer use this tool? This plugin is free (they also have a paid version) and it works on illustrator too.  Waiting for a day when I can download some great vectors straight from the plugin.

Machine Wash Deluxe:
    This is another tool which makes my life easier while designing corporate giveaways, as most of the time I have to demonstrate the effect on leather, wood and other materials where the grains are visible through the artwork. Get it today, it will make your life easier.

AV Bros. Page Curl:
    They have several other plugins and they are evenly priced, out of their collections of plugins I have used and Page Curl, a smart way to add the curl effect on your artworks. It’s been a while since I used this plugin. But would recommend this plugin.

Web Zap:
    The web designer can write several articles about the lack of support from Adobe or not addressing their concerns. With Web Zap, designing websites is much simpler and faster.  At least for me this tool is very handy.

Alien Skin Blow Up:
    If your workflow is for print media then you will need this handy tool. This plugin allows you to create sharp enlargements from photos without compromising on quality. This is more advanced than photoshop’s bicubic filters. I don’t use this plugin much, since I’m more comfortable with Genuine Fractals which is now part of the OnOne Perfect Photo Suite.

Noiseware:
    I don’t use this plugin, but the reviews are great, good, since the blog is actually a plugin guide I would like to include it here. Noiseware is a high-performance noise suppression software tool designed to decrease or eliminate noise from digital photo or scanned images. Unlike most image processing software techniques that utilize simple methods (such as median filters) to treat digital noise in images, Noiseware features a sophisticated yet fast noise filtering algorithm. (Description copied from their website)

PSD Cleaner:
    Name one designer who doesn’t have multiple layers in one document, and we all know how labor intense this tedious task is. At 15 USD it’s a smart investment. Control all the layers from one panel.

Texture Anarchy:
    Some of rich textures are actually predictable, but the sheer range available, along with the ability to generate true fractals, makes this a great addition to Photoshop.
 
Alien Skin Eye Candy:
    Been using since version 3, it’s a cool plugin, and love the ability to create large texture like animal fur or effects like rain and lighting. It will be a cool addition to your plugin collections and you will find it useful most of the time. Don’t use the default settings, play around with the setting and you can achieve magical results.
 
Toon It:
    If you are looking to convert your images into cartoons this will be the plugin you need to look for. I have used this to convert several images into cartoon style and then convert it into vector using illustrator.  
 
Fluid Mask 3:
    Out of all the masking plugins, I love this, this is my personal best. If you want to take masking to the next level Fluid Mask is your companion.
 
Topaz Collections:
    Another set of tools at your hand, topaz has really improved the performance over the years, and they have some of the best plugins for photoshop. JPEG clean is an excellent tool.
 
AKVIS Collections:
    Some of my best designs have been due to these plugins, AKVIS offers a collection of creative tools for creative people, and my personal best is Akvis Sketch. I remember using the Sketch plugin for a coffee table book.
 
Image Trends:
    The two plugins from this developer, I almost use on many occasions, Pearly Whites for brightening the teeth and ShineOff is another tool I use to remove the shine from the face and especially from the tip of the nose. This is a must have plugin for photographers.

Redfield Collections:
    Another set of creative plugins, I haven’t used all, and the once I have used i'm very delighted by the outcome. Will suggest you to try some of the demo versions and experiment it.
(2 votes)
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