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The 108 Best Photoshop Plugins and Extensions for Print Designers

The 108 Best Photoshop Plugins and ExtensionsIn case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty keen on Adobe Photoshop; we’ve even shared a ton of our favorite Photoshop tutorials. But even a great program like Photoshop can be improved upon. If you don’t believe us, here are 108 reasons why you’re wrong.

This enormous collection of the best Photoshop plugins for print designers takes something good and makes it even better by giving you more control, more power and more options than what’s available in your standard Photoshop toolkit.

Plugin Categories

Looking for a specific type of plugin or extension? Use the links below.



 

All-Purpose Photo Editing Plugins


Practically every designer will need to work with photography at some point, but not every designer is an experienced photographer. These plugins can help you edit photographs in a variety of different ways so that they look like professional-grade material.

Magic Enhancer Lite

Magic Enhancer Lite
Cost: Free
This free version of the Magic Enhancer plugin gives you plenty of image improvement options to make your photos really pop.

Nik Collection

Nik Collection
Cost: $149 (full suite), free trial available
A suite of professional grade plugins that help photographers make stunning photos.

onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8

onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8
Cost: $179.95
A massive suite of photo editing plugins, including tools for resizing, adding effects, portrait retouching, and much more.

Optics Pro

Optics Pro
Cost: $169
Remove noise, optimize exposure, or enhance your photos with any of this plugin’s many photo editing features.

Photomatix

Photomatix
Cost: $79, free trial available
Create HDR photography like a pro using this helpful tool.

Power Retouche Suite

Power Retouche Suite
Cost: $199 for full suite, $49 for individual plug-ins
Intuitive photo software with plugins for practically everything—from retouching and image corrections to special effects and filters.

Topaz Adjust

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Topaz Adjust
Cost: $49.99, free trial available
Give your photos a sense of drama with exciting contrast, detail and color enhancements.

 

Color Tool Plugins


Color tools are important to designers, even when designing in black and white. From picking the right color scheme to making sure your whites are as white as they can be, these plugins help you manage the color in your designs.

Absolute Color 1.1

Absolute Color 1.1
Cost: Free
Tint your pictures by restricting the colors in your image to one section of the color wheel for a unique effect.

B/W Conversion

B/W Conversion
Cost: Free
Take more control over the way you convert your images to black-and-white with this powerful plugin.

Color MegaMix 1.1

Color MegaMix 1.1
Cost: Free
Change the colors in your image by picking eight source colors and replacing them with eight target colors—this plugin does the rest.

Coolorus

Coolorus
Cost: $9.99, free trial available
This color wheel is based on Corel Painter and gives you more options for picking colors and creating color schemes.

Curves 2

Curves 2
Cost: Free
Quickly enhance the colors in your photos with this easy-to-use curve tool.

Eraser Classic

Eraser Classic
Cost: Free
Quickly and easily erase all instances of a single color in your design.

Essential Gradient Filters

Essential Gradient Filters
Cost: $2
Colorize your images with 26 fruity flavors of gradient goodness.

Gradient Smithy

Gradient Smithy
Cost: Free
Create gradients from the colors in an image or apply a new gradient to your design with this all-in-one plugin.

HSL Plus

HSL Plus
Cost: Free
Balance out the hue, saturation and luminosity of your image with this advanced color tool.

Local Contrast Enhancer

Local Contrast Enhancer
Cost: Free
A handy tool for when you want to apply contrast effects to localized areas of an image.

Local Equalization

Local Equalization
Cost: Free
Bring out fine details in a certain area of your image using this localized equalization tool.

Magic Bullet Photolooks 2.0

Magic Bullet Photolooks 2.0
Cost: $199, free trial available
Add a variety of color and lighting effects for drastically different looks.

Selective Saturation

Selective Saturation
Cost: Free
Saturate only the parts of the image that you want to saturate using this easy tool.

White Balance/Highlight Recovery

White Balance/Highlight Recovery
Cost: Free
Make your whites whiter, while also bringing out highlight details for a more dynamic look.

 

Plugins for Adjusting Focus


Sometimes you want to sharpen your image and make every detail as clear as possible. Other times, you may want to add a bit of stylish blur. Use these plugins when you want to have a little fun with focus effects.

Bokeh 2

Bokeh 2
Cost: $199.99, free trial available
Create focus effects and simulate several unique camera lenses, all in one tool.

DOF Pro

DOF Pro
Cost: $99.99, free demo available
Adds depth of field effects to your photos to give a sense of drama and style to your designs.

Fine Threshold

Fine Threshold
Cost: Free
Create crisp anti-aliased shapes from even the blurriest of images using this advanced threshold tool.

Focal Blade

Focal Blade
Cost: $69.95, free trial available
Sharpen, reduce noise, add soft focus and many other effects to your digital photographs.

High Pass Sharpening

High Pass Sharpening
Cost: Free
Sharpen your images with the high pass method to create fewer halos and other sharpening errors.

ReFocus DC Plug-in Filter

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ReFocus DC Plug-in Filter
Cost: Free
Fix your blurry photographs and bring them back into focus.

Soft Focus

Soft Focus
Cost: Free
Soften the focus of your images and photographs to create a stylish effect.

 

Plugins for Reducing Noise


Noise is comparable to the grain you sometimes get in film photography. No one likes to see a bunch of ugly pixels in their design. Do some spring cleaning and clear up that noise with these helpful plugins.

Freeware Boundary Noise Reduction

Freeware Boundary Noise Reduction
Cost: Free
This noise reducer is more powerful than the one included in Photoshop, guaranteeing clearer images.

HotPixel

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HotPixel
Cost: Free
Hate the unwanted pixelization and noise in your digital photos? Eliminate them fast with this plug-in.

Neat Image

Neat Image
Cost: $79.90
Clean up the noise and grain in your photographs, leaving them looking like brand new.

Noiseware

Noiseware
Cost: $79.95
“Hush up” your photographs and clean up unsightly pixels with this noise removal tool.

 

Plugins for Removing Flaws


It’s the little things that matter. Even if the rest of your design looks fantastic, it’s hard to ignore that tiny stain, scuff or blemish. These plugins are perfect for eliminating pesky, distracting flaws.

Portraiture

Portraiture
Cost: $199.95, free trial available
An intuitive plugin that helps you to retouch skin and remove blemishes from photographs.

Wire Worm

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Wire Worm
Cost: Free
Remove unwanted objects (such as telephone wires) from your photographs so that they remain obstruction-free.

 

Masking Plugins


Masking can sometimes be difficult, especially when dealing with images that have tiny details, such as hair. Don’t pull your own hair out trying to figure it out, instead use these plugins to give you finer control over your masking layers.

Contrast Mask

Contrast Mask
Cost: Free
Bring out more details in your images with this contrast masking plugin.

EZ Mask

EZ Mask
Cost: $150, free trial available
Use smart tools to create masks, even on tough images like fur and hair.

Fluid Mask 3

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Fluid Mask 3
Cost: $149, free trial available
Create awesome masking effects with this powerful professional plugin.

Topaz Adjust

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Topaz ReMask
Cost: $69.99, free trial available
Quickly and cleanly extract a subject from an image with this intuitive masking tool.

 

Special Effect/Filter Plugins


Whether you’re creating an image from scratch or building upon existing work, these special effect and filter plugins are just what you need to make it look out of this world. The best aspect of working with these plugins is the chance to experiment and open your mind up to new creative possibilities.

Dream Suite Ultimate

Dream Suite Ultimate
Cost: $199, free trial/demo available
Utilize an impressive range of photography effects with this array of plugins.

Edge FX

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Edge FX
Cost: $8.90
Add special effect borders and frames to your photos and images.

Eye Candy 7

Eye Candy 7
Cost: $249, free trial available
Use this tool to create many different special effects, from chrome to fur and everything in between.

Filter Forge

Filter Forge
Cost: $166, free trial available
Add thousands of effects to your photos with this professional Photoshop plugin.

Fotomatic

Fotomatic
Cost: Free
A series of eight different plugins to help you enhance, edit and electrify your photographs.

Fractalius

Fractalius
Cost: $39.90
This plugin uses fractals to create sketch pencil effects or stylized light streaks.

Halftone Creator

Halftone Creator
Cost: Free
Exactly what it says on the package: create intriguing halftone effects in seconds.

Harry’s Filters

Harry's Filters
Cost: Free
Includes nearly 70 different filters to add special effects to your images, all in one free package.

Machine Wash Deluxe

Machine Wash Deluxe
Cost: $99
Apply retro filter effects and textures to your designs for a fun, vintage look.

Oilpaint

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Oilpaint
Cost: Free
Make your images look like a Picasso oil painting with this free plugin from Adobe.

PaintEngine BETA

PaintEngine BETA
Cost: Free
Although only the beta version exists, this easy-to-use plugin quickly transforms any photograph into a realistic looking painting.

Photogram

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Photogram
Cost: $9.90
Get all the fun retro-styled effects you’d see on a phone app like Instagram, but in Photoshop instead.

ToonIt

ToonIt
Cost: $129, free trial available
Apply comic book/cartoon effects that are so realistic, they’d make Stan Lee a true believer.

Virtual Photographer

Virtual Photographer
Cost: Free
Take your pick from a selection of highly professional-looking photo effects and styles.

Water Ripples

Water Ripples
Cost: Free
Add a splash of fun to your designs with this plugin, which creates realistic water ripples.

 

Light Effect Plugins


Just like a spotlight in a theater, a good lighting effect adds emphasis and interest to your design. Use these plugins to give your images an extra bit of shine and glamour.

Knoll Light Factory

Knoll Light Factory
Cost: $149, free trial available
Don’t be scared away by the phrase “lens flare.” This plugin features advanced light effects that look great.

Luce

Luce
Cost: Free
Luce lights up your design elements with illuminating aura effects.

Xpose

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Xpose
Cost: Free
Adjust the exposure in your photographs to produce various lighting effects.

 

3-D Effect Plugins


The third dimension seems to be all the rage these days; after all, it’s the dimension that we exist in. Luckily for print designers, all print is technically 3-D because it’s printed onto paper, which is a three-dimensional object. If you want to go above and beyond and inject a little of that third dimension into your actual design, these are the plugins to help you do just that.

3D Invigorator

3D Invigorator
Cost: $199, free trial available
This tool doesn’t just let you render your own three-dimensional objects; you can also apply a 3-D effect to existing images and photos.

AV Bros. Page Curl 2.0

Page Curl
Cost: $49.95, free demo available
Create realistic looking page curls and other paper effects.

Craquelure 3D Photoshop Plug-in

Craquelure 3D Photoshop Plug-in
Cost: Free
Give your images 3-D textures and patterns with this free Photoshop plugin.

Jama 3D

Jama 3D
Cost: Free
Apply 3-D effects that simulate corrugated cardboard, bricks, crumpled paper and other textures.

Swift 3D PS

Swift 3D PS
Cost: $149, free trial available
Complete simple 3D design tasks with just the click of a button, or dive into the advanced settings and create your own 3D design elements.

 

Traditional Film Filter Plugins


The age of digital photos has taken away some of the finesse that you can only get from more classical photography. The lens, exposure, film and developing techniques used in a photograph can dramatically alter its look. These plugins simulate all that’s great about traditional photos with the added convenience that comes from digital.

Bleach Bypass

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Bleach Bypass
Cost: Free
This plugin simulates the “bleach skip effect” that you can usually only get from developing color film to give photos a washed-out, retro look.

Exposure 5

Exposure 5
Cost: $149, free demo available
Simulate realistic film effects in your digital photos.

Realgrain

Realgrain
Cost: $99.95, free trial available
Add toning, black-and-white, film and grain effects to give your photos a unique look.

Tiffen DFX

Tiffen DFX
EDIT: No longer available.

 

Pattern and Texture Plugins


From the plaid in our PJs to the tiles in our bathrooms, we all use patterns and textures to make the mundane seem a little less so. These pattern and texture plugins are perfect for adding unique patterns or texturized images to your designs so that they can break away from the boring.

Blots

Blots
Cost: Free
Craft seamless textures and backgrounds with this free plugin.

Fur 2

Fur 2
Cost: Free
Don’t let the name fool you. This plugin lets you turn any simple shape into patterns you can apply to images.

Kaleidoscope 2.1

Kaleidoscope
Cost: Free
Create whimsical, colorful kaleidoscopic patterns in a flash with this simple plugin.

Projection

Projection
Cost: Free
Alter the perspective of your image to create repeating tile, color aura or distorted pattern effects.

Retrodots

Retrodots
Cost: Free
This plugin lets you create a repeating dot pattern, reminiscent of retro comic strips.

Sinedots II

Sinedots II
Cost: Free
Form abstract wave patterns, perfect for designing print materials in the science and tech industry.

Sorting Tiles

Sorting Tiles
Cost: Free
This plugin divides your image into sections and rearranges them into a pattern of your choosing.

Subtle Patterns

Subtle Patterns
Cost: $11.99
Gain access to a huge collection of repeating tile patterns right in your Photoshop workstation.

Texture Anarchy

Texture Anarchy
Cost: $129, free demo
Create a variety of incredible-looking textures in a snap.

Weaver

Weaver
Cost: Free
Turn your own photographs into intricate, abstract woven patterns, with plenty of different options to choose from.

 

Image Resource Plugins


Every designer is guilty of it at some point. You hop online to search for an image and the next thing you know, you’ve wasted hours of your life reading Wikipedia and poking people on Facebook. These image resource plugins open up directly in Photoshop so that you aren’t tempted to stray from your project.

BlendMe.In

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BlendMe.In
Cost: Free
Plug into one of the largest vector assets collection on the web with this free plugin.

FlatIcon

FlatIcon
Cost: Free
This huge library of vector icons and images will have you feeling like a kid in a candy store. Best of all, you won’t have to spend any of your allowance to get this free plugin.

Pixel Dropr

Pixel Dropr
Cost: $19
Choose from thousands of pixel art, icons and pictures to create your own 100-piece image toolkit.

RefillReadr

RefillReadr
Cost: Free
Easily manage graphics and icons created with Pixel Dropr using this free plugin.

 

Font Resource Plugins


Looking for a fresh new typeface? No sweat. Here are some plugins to help you preview and apply tons of gorgeous fonts to your Photoshop design.

Fonts.com Extension

Fonts.com Extension
Cost: Free (Fonts.com subscription required)
This extension lets you browse and import fonts from Fonts.com directly from your Photoshop work station. If you have a Fonts.com subscription, this is a must-have plugin.

FontShop Plugin

FontShop
Cost: Free
Preview over 150,000 fonts from FontShop.com in your own design.

SuitcaseFusion

SuitcaseFusion
Cost: $99.95, free trial available
This giant font library and font tool gives you maximum control over the look of your typography.

 

Enhanced Tool Plugins


The design tools that come with Photoshop are capable of producing fantastic results—but sometimes it can be frustrating when the tools don’t work exactly the way you want them to. These plugins let you employ more powerful tools that better suit your needs.

Blow Up 3

Blow Up 3
Cost: $199, free trial available
Enlarge your photographs with perfect clarity and resolution.

Boxes Panel

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Boxes Panel
Cost: Free
Make a perfect rectangle or square box with this Photoshop extension panel.

Flat Median 1.4

Flat Median
Cost: Free
A more advanced median filter that lets you better control the flatness of the image.

GuideGuide

GuideGuide
Cost: Free
Set your guides and rulers with finely tuned custom settings.

Long Shadow Generator

Long Shadow Generator
Cost: Free
This Photoshop extension pushes the limits of how long a drop shadow can be, giving you the length you need.

Save Panel

Save Panel
Cost: Free
This plugin optimizes the file saving process with a customizable save panel.

 

Organization and Workflow Plugins


Time is money for a professional designer, so these organization and workflow plugins help you save money by helping you save time. Work more efficiently with plugins that take care of the gruntwork, maximize your workflow and keep you on task.

AutoSave

AutoSave
Cost: Free
This Photoshop extension is a lifesaver! Set it to automatically save your work at regular intervals and never lose more than five minutes of work ever again.

Catalist

Catalist
Cost: $19
Stay on task with this helpful productivity plugin that gives you the power to create task lists in Photoshop.

Composer

Composer
Cost: Free
Work with multiple layer comps at once and save time while working on multi-layer projects.

Export Pro Photoshop Panel

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Export Pro Photoshop Panel
Cost: $14.99
Use this nifty plug-in to save time when exporting multiple layers.

Ink

Ink
Cost: Free
This plugin provides you with detailed documentation and specifications about your design.

Interface Tools Photoshop Plugin

Interface Tools Photoshop Plugin
Cost: Free
A handy extension window providing easy access to some of the most frequently used tools in Photoshop.

Layers Control

Layers Control
Cost: Free
Take care of several tedious layer-related housekeeping jobs instantly with this handy plug-in.

Pez Dispenser for Designers

Pez Dispenser for Designers
Cost: Free
Create a palette of your most frequently used images and dispense them whenever you need them from this simple plugin.

Photoshop File (PSD) Extract/Recover Tool

Photoshop File (PSD) Extract/Recover Tool
Cost: Free
Use this tool to quickly open or extract only the layers you want from a PSD file, or even recover layers from a corrupted file.

Plug-In Switch

Plug-In Switch
Cost: Free
Yo dawg, we heard you liked plug-ins, so here’s a plug-in that manages your other plug-ins so you can easily plug in and out while you plug away at your work.

Renamy

Renamy
Cost: $9.99
This timesaving plugin helps you rename multiple layers at once.

Specctr

Specctr
Cost: $49
Using this plugin is like having blueprints for your print projects, with perfect measurements of your various design elements every time.

TimeTracker

TimeTracker
Cost: Free
TimeTracker records the time you spend working in Photoshop, so that you don’t have to worry about fiddling with timers or forgetting to check the clock. Vital for freelance designers who charge by the hour.

 

Miscellaneous Photoshop Plugins


Last but not least, we have a hodge-podge of some undefinable yet unforgettable plugins that we think you’re going to love.

Bounce

Bounce
Cost: Free
Connect to the Dribble community from directly inside Photoshop to find inspiration and share your work.

Lorem Ipsum Generator

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Lorem Ipsum Generator
Cost: Free
This extension for Photoshop gives you the ability to create and customize “filler” text used as a placeholder.

NKS5 Natural Media Toolkit

NKS5 Natural Media Toolkit
Cost: Free
Create designs with natural looking media such as paper textures and watercolor brushes.

Open with Photoshop

Open with Photoshop
Cost: Free
Not exactly a Photshop plug-in, but this add-on for Mozilla Firefox lets you instantly open images from your web in Photoshop with just the click of your mouse.

PanoWarp

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PanoWarp
Cost: Free
Create panoramic photo distortion effects and stitched panoramic photos.

Tychpanel

Tychpanel
Cost: Free
Produce diptych, triptych, or ntych design layouts in a snap.

Zeick

Zeick
Cost: $19.99
Export shapes and drawings as scalable vector graphics, perfect for creating logos and other reusable design elements.

Conclusion

Photoshop plugins are great tools, but they aren’t necessarily magic solutions to all of your design problems. Remember that the sign of a good designer isn’t having the most tools to play with; it’s being able to create bold designs no matter how many tools you have.

If you’ve got a must-have Photoshop plugin that you love to use, please leave your comments below!

Vladimir Gendelman
Author: Vladimir Gendelman

As CEO of CompanyFolders.com, Vladimir is a knowledgeable authority in print marketing and graphic design for businesses. With his team of designers and experts, he helps customers put forth the best possible impression with high-quality collateral. Learn more about Vladimir’s history and experience, and connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

Discussion

  1. These are awesome. I use tons of them. My ABSOLUTE favorite (for Indesign) is the auto album designing Magic Album Designs. Check them out too at http://www.magicalbumdesigns.com.

  2. Cinderella says:

    I love the plug-ins you have mentioned in your post. Most of the Youngsters use many of these software’s for printing as well as editing , even I also prefer many of them. Thanks for the wonderful information , I will be waiting for your next post.

  3. Hey,
    Here is a free photoshop plugin which would be very useful for designers.

    You can try this free plugin which will gets all the open source image from sites like unsplash,etc,.
    Just a single click on the image is enough!!! That image will be opened on a new layer in the current document.

    Download it here for free:
    http://grabpix.io/

    Hope that helps!

  4. Pretty good list but I think the non free ones are way overpriced for what you get. The one that I absolutely can’t do without is Alien Skin’s “Blow Up 3.” If you do any kind of digital art or graphics that need to be printed get that plug in (It is on this list).

  5. Lance Cheng says:

    Great plugins! If you want to create design specs and measurements in Photoshop, you should try Markly from http://marklyapp.com

  6. If you like, you can add brand my new Animated Kaleidoscope Photoshop Action Script to your list:

    http://graphicriver.net/item/animated-kaleidoscope-photoshop-tool/12650952?ref=psddude

  7. Great plugins! If you want new photoshop plugin free download
    plaese visite my channel

  8. My favorite plugin for skin retouching is Portraiture, available from Imagenomic. A bit on the pricey side but well worth it. You can easily adjust the intensity of any of the effects and there’s masking capabilities as well. Great software!

    http://www.imagenomic.com/pt.aspx

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