25 Professional and Incredibly Powerful Photoshop Plugins
Freebies are awesome, and design blogs are full of them, but sometimes you need a professional tool to handle professional tasks. There are a wealth of extremely powerful and high quality photoshop tools that can dramatically improve your workflow and are worth every penny you have to spend to get them.
Today we’ll look at a number of the best tools available for making color adjustments, adjusting focus, enlarging images, transforming layers in 3D, reducing noise, creating textures, applying complex masks, and even taking that PSD into full-blown HTML.
Color and Exposure
“Over 500 analog techniques and organic looks are back like cross processing, Polaroid and vintage Daguerreotype. There is careful research under the hood, but the controls are simple so you can focus on the creative choices. The result is a photo that looks like it was made by a human, not a computer.”
“Great color, it’s not as hard as you think. If you can compare images side-by-side and pick the best one, then you can easily color correct and enhance your images with PhotoTune 3. Additionally, PhotoTune 3 improves the color and sharpness of your image without the need to know how to use levels or curves in Photoshop.”
“Add some new fun to your images with these Kubota Actions inspired by vintage looks your clients will love! These classic effects are wildly popular around the industry and in high demand from photographers and their clients. ”
“Quickly and easily make your photos stunning by using Topaz Adjust’s creative exposure, powerful detail enhancement, and unique color manipulation tools.”
“Bokeh 2 provides a wide range of creative focus effects and accurate lens simulation in a simple interface. Photographers use Bokeh to draw attention to their subject by manipulating focus, vignette, and depth of field. Bokeh gives you the visual language of specialized lenses without the expense or hassle. Just drop a focus region over your subject and choose a preset or easily craft your own look.”
“FocalBlade effectively sharpens photos for display and print, reduces noise and produces great looking blur, soft focus and special effects. FocalBlade is ideal for sharpening and enhancing all kinds of photo, e.g. snapshots, landscapes photos, portraits as well as high-ISO shots, because it effectively sharpens and reduces noise at the same time.”
“Naturally occurring depth of field has extremely complex optical characteristics. It cannot be simply simulated through the use of a standard blur filter. Lens size, subject distance, aperture shape, lens curvature, film grain, spherical aberration, chromatic aberration, lens asymmetry, transparency, light refraction, motion blur and much more must be taken into account in order to achieve an accurate and convincing depth of field effect. DOF PRO carefully takes into consideration all of these aspects in order to produce the highest quality depth of field output possible.”
“Blow Up 2 is a Photoshop plug-in that produces enlargements dramatically sharper than any other software, especially Photoshop! Blow Up uses an innovative algorithm that temporarily converts pixels to a vector representation which results in perfectly smooth, crisp edges. Simulated texture and film grain keep photos looking natural even in extreme enlargements. Blow Up can even clean up JPEG compression artifacts when a client insists on using a low quality source image from the Web.”
“Perfect Resize (formerly known as Genuine Fractals) is the industry standard for enlarging and resizing images. It is renowned across the photographic and printing industries for its ability to increase image size without the loss of sharpness or detail that you might normally expect. The patented, fractal-based interpolation algorithms work like nothing else and the results speak for themselves.”
“3D Invigorator for Adobe Photoshop allows you to easily create complex 3D objects, logos and text. Import a vector object or create a simple object inside the Photoshop plugin. Add lighting to make the object look more real. Then drag-and-drop 3D materials to make the object look transparent, reflective, or just plain cool. This 3D Photoshop plugin opens up a new world of creating 3D objects and text.”
AV Bros. Page Curl Pro 2.2 is an extremely powerful and high quality Photoshop plugin, which will definitely boost your productivity and creativity. This Photoshop filter lets you not only bend the image, using two types of bending (curling and folding), but also texturize it (using the bump maps), orient it in 3D space (including the perspective distortions) and obtain total control over the process of lighting the image (including the option of dropping inner shadows). All this is possible thanks to the all new and unrivalled engine of this plug-in.
“Create dazzling ecovers that virtually jump from the screen into the prospect’s lap…giving them a level of ultra-realism and incredible detail they can almost touch with their fingers. There’s no huge learning curve, no monster manual to memorize, and no long list of prerequisite software. All you need is Adobe Photoshop–that’s it!”
“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. Using the adaptive noise profile capability and sharpening function, Noiseware greatly reduces the visible noise while keeping the details in the images. ”
“Neat Image is an image filter to reduce noise and grain in photographic images produced by digital cameras and scanners. Neat Image is indispensable in low-light (indoors, night, no-flash, astro) and high-speed (sport, action, children) photography.”
“Texture Anarchy is a set of Adobe Photoshop filters for creating textures and borders. With these three Photoshop texture filters, you can create a variety of seamless, infinite textures that range from realistic and organic to design-appropriate. Plain old math is used to generate, extend, and output an image.”
“Finally you can create professional quality image texture, aging and weathering effects with our Machine Wash Image Filters! This closely guarded secret of the design industry can now be yours!”
“Filter Forge is a high-end Photoshop plugin that lets novice and expert users create a wide variety of realistic and abstract textures and effects. It’s a must-have for any digital artist – 3D modeller, photographer, web designer and scrapbooker alike.”
“You’ve never seen anything like the 50 textures you’ll find in our new ‘Industrial’ pak. Far from subtle, these striking looks give you the ability to add an element of techno-industrial style that will make your images snap! Edgy looks from textures like ‘Cobalt’, ‘Fingernails’ and ‘Lead’ bring a sharp, eye-catching look while ‘Radon’, ‘Polonium’ and ‘Zinc’ will give you that final touch, grunge-look that seniors are begging for in their portrait shoots.”
“For removing unwanted backgrounds, Mask Pro is the Photoshop plugin recommended by Advanced Photoshop magazine. Mask Pro allows you to cut out a subject from the background by assigning keep and drop colors and simply painting away the background. Mask Pro makes it easy to create masks, selections and clipping paths on difficult subjects like hair, glass and fog all in real-time.”
“Take masking to the next level with Fluid Mask 3. The professional choice for quality masking, Fluid Mask 3 is industry recognised for excellence. Quick to pick up and intuitive to use – gets professional results fast.”
“EZ Mask is an easy to use interactive image masking tool capable of extracting almost any object in an image–even if you are dealing with fine hair detail, smoke, or reflections. This extraction process creates what is known as a mask–essentially a black and white cutout. White mask areas are extracted, black areas not, and gray areas in between represent a level of transparency. Once a mask is extracted, the foreground object can be seamlessly composed onto a new background in Adobe Photoshop as well as apply filter and image corrections only within the area defined by the mask.” Also check out Power Mask from the same developer.
“If you know Photoshop then you already know enough to start creating web pages for yourself and your clients. With SiteGrinder there is no longer a requirement to slice up your web design and send it off to a developer to convert your design from Photoshop to HTML / XHTML and CSS. SiteGrinder does all of that tedious work for you. Your Photoshop web design is output just the way you envisioned it – resulting in a full functioning website.”
“Divine suggests easy steps to convert Photoshop to WordPress theme that any of you can carry out. Yes, that’s right – you need no special extended knowledge about HTML, no special skills in coding, basics are completely enough to convert PSD to WordPress. You’ll find all necessary information about converting Photoshop to WordPress at our site. ”
Price: Free (Still in beta, Windows only)
Browse and install uninstalled fonts right from Photoshop.
“Fully Mac and Windows compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS4 or newer. The ColoRotate 3D color editor plugin for Adobe Photoshop CS4 is intended to give you another way to edit colors — intuitively and effectively. The magic of ColoRotate is that your colors are displayed and edited in three dimensions, the same way your brain naturally understands colors. ”
What Are Your Favorite Plugins?
There are a few plugins from the list above that I simply love using. For example, Machine Wash is unrivaled for creating awesome grunge effects; I’ve never used anything else that even comes close. Also, Page Curl is a great tool that I used daily back when I in print design and constantly creating product mockups.
Leave a comment below and let us know what your favorite Photoshop plugins are and why you can’t live without them!
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I am Nate McGuire from The Site Slinger. We're a team of web designers and developers in beautiful Austin, Texas. We love to code pixel perfect HTML/CSS, clean and easy to use WordPress sites, web applications and more!
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