A-Z of Free Photoshop Plugins and Filters

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The Photoshop community is choc-full of many free resources, tutorials, tips and techniques, .psd files and even Actions. There is one area that it sadly lacks in, and that is free plugins and filters. Of course, Photoshop has been the pioneer in graphic editor development for a long time now, and with each new version (its current version is CS4) has added an endless supply of features and addons, and as a result, perhaps the need for free plugins or filters is no longer required. Or has it been ignored?

Traditionally plugins are an amateur photographer’s best friend, take your shots, fire up Photoshop, apply some well preset filters, and hey presto you have a reasonably professional image. Professional photographers have been known to use plugins as a base and then tweak and add effects to achieve there own personal professional touch. Plugins are basically an indispensable tool that do not receive the attention they deserve. And that brings us back to our original mystery, why are there so few free plugins and filters? Do you know the answer? I don’t.

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

In this A-Z of free Photoshop plugins and filters you will find a few plugins that are (almost) as old as time itself, do not fear, they will work perfectly on all versions of Photoshop and the effect they produce are just as useful now as they were then. If you are looking for a simple and easy method to add effects to an image, this is the post for you.

A-Z of Free Photoshop Plugins & Filters

3D Shadow

This handy plugin easily creates various types of 3D shadows from objects such as letters, numbers, shapes and so on. All settings are present in a single window – transparency level, perspective, shadow color and position, X/Y/Z angles, and many more.
More Details and Downloads1

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

AAA Buzzer

AAA Buzzer simplifies your image while retaining sharp edges, with low ratio settings in works fairly quickly, it does work slower at a higher ratio, but it also removes more detail.
More Details and Downloads2

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Absolute Color

Absolute Color is based on a hue wheel subdivided into 6 sectors of 60 degrees. Choose a selector color segment and it will restrict the tints of the image for that color.
More Details and Downloads3

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

B/W Conversion

This is a black and white conversion plugin with a difference. It allows you to take total control over the tonal response of Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta, and the intermediate hues. The user can boost each colors tonal response all the way up to white or limit it down to black, without affecting the other colors at all .
More Details and Downloads4

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Bad Dream

Bad Dream gives the kind of color-casts that you would normally spend hours trying to correct; it also gives a soft, misty effect, and the final result can be quite pleasing on the right kind of image.
More Details and Downloads5

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Bas-Relief

This filter transforms an image to appear as though it is carved in bas-relief, giving it a lighting effects to accent the surface variations. It can look like aluminum foil, hammered metal, or carved stone, it can also be used to convert a photo into a pencil sketch.
More Details and Downloads6

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Camouflage

Use the Camouflage plug-in to make army, fashion and animal camo. The Camouflage plug-in creates seamless images, this means you can use them as textures and patterns for 3D models or as a background for web sites, they can even be used as a pattern for clothing.
More Details and Downloads7

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Caravaggio

This plugin creates a simple ‘oil-painting’ effect, with just four sliders to adjust the image, choose from Creativity, Exuberance, Attentiveness and Moodswing
More Details and Downloads8

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Chalkaholic

Chalkaholic renders chalk and charcoal type effects with artistic style and flair. It creates a uniquely effective artistic rendering options, it is an essential addition to any digital artist’s effects collection.
More Details and Downloads88839

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Circle to Square

With this plugin you can convert any circle into a square.
More Details and Downloads10

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Cloud 2.2

This plugin creates seamless life like clouds on any image. You can control the blur, contour and light color.
More Details and Downloads846411

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Color MegaMix

Color MegaMix modifies the colors of any image, it is based on two rows of colors: 8 source colors and 8 target colors. Taking into account this data, the plugin reconstructs completely the color space of the image.
More Details and Downloads12

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Color Replacer

This filter performs color replacement functions. The function is similar to Photoshop’s Replace Color command, however, this plugin is more flexible since you can select the source and target colors independently. Therefore, it is possible to tint gray areas with an arbitrary color, which can be useful for recovering the color in overexposed areas.
More Details and Downloads13

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

ColorWorks

This plugin comes packaged with 20 effects for modifying image color values in many different ways. You can use them for subtle correction of your digital photos or experiment with the more dramatic transformations that are available. The effects are quite basic, but they can be handy for use on a regular basis.
More Details and Downloads14

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Contrast Balance

Contrast Balance enhances the traditional filter luminosity/contrast and breaks it down into four balances of constant/contrast, using the following four oppositions: white-black, red-cyan, green-magenta, blue-yellow.
More Details and Downloads15

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Contrast Mask

This plugin uses a contrast mask to reduce the overall contrast of the image, simultaneously bringing out more detail in both highlights and shadows.
A b/w negative of the image is blurred (with a radius controlled by the “Smoothing” slider) to avoid hard edges and then overlayed with the original, darkening the highlights and lightening the shadows. The opacity of the overlay is controlled by the “Strength” slider.
More Details and Downloads16

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Craquelure 3D

This filter creates a wide range of well known craquelure (krăkloor´) effects, that is useful in designing various abstract patterns, decorative surfaces and construction materials.
Two independent craquelure layers can be controlled to achieve an amazing variety of texture effects, from etched metal and silk plaster to melted glass and water ripples.
More Details and Downloads17

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Curves Plugin

The Curves plugin can create eight predetermined, interesting curves within your image. The plugins interface shows several thumbnails of the curves, select the one you like and then be impressed by the impact it will have on your image.
More Details and Downloads18

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

DepthDither

DepthDither uses 3 ways to make the image seems to be continuous when the color is below 24 bit. Just like Photoshop, it provides diffusion, pattern and noise as the dither modes. You can choose the destination color depth, such as 2 bit, 4 bit, 12 bit, 15 bit, 16 bit, 18 bit, this is the main difference from Photoshop, the latter only provides less than 256 colors mode.
More Details and Downloads19

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Digitization

The Digitization plug-in has been designed to digitize positions of features in large image files. By clicking on these features their coordinates are saved to a text file (CSV). The coordinates can then be used for further analysis. The image below shows an example of an analysis based on the data from the Digitization plug-in.
More Details and Downloads20

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Dreamy Photo

Dreamy Photo gives images a soft romantic feel. This is a superb effect for enhancing stock photography, digital camera photos and any image you want to add a warm feel to.
More Details and Downloads21

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Edges Fx

This plugin take advantage of an edge detection algorithm (precise) to obtain the following artistic effects : Colorize, Erode/Dilate, Sat Boost and Sketch.
More Details and Downloads22

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

EdgeWorks

This plugin comes with 20 effects for creating dramatic edge and color modifications. They are best used when experimenting with intense photo transformations for a highly stylized look. They are also handy when creating interesting texture effects.
More Details and Downloads23

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

EmbossWorks

This plugin can be used for producing various quick and easy embossing styles. They are handy when you need to add a sense of depth or relief to an otherwise flat image.
More Details and Downloads24

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Equalizer

This plugin offers three methods of equalization, with several options to make this process editable. The process takes advantage of the histogram of frequencies.
More Details and Downloads25

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Eraser Classic

Eraser classic makes it easier to replace any color you choose from your image. Activate the eyedropper, select the color directly in the preview window, and adjust tolerance .
More Details and Downloads26

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Face Control

Face Control plug-in allows you to change the facial expressions of people in the digital photos.
More Details and Downloads27

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Fine Threshold

Unlike the traditional threshold command of Photoshop, Fine Threshold allows you to get quickly, anti-aliased and sharp shapes.
More Details and Downloads28

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Flat Median

The Flat Median plugin is a little bit more useful than the “regular” median filter. You have added controls over the level of Flatness, it is “isotropic” just like the gaussian blur and you can apply the effect either horizontally or vertically.
More Details and Downloads29

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Fur Plugin

This plugin spreads a simple figure (line or circle with configurable dimensions/thickness) over the whole image. Each image can be filled using two methods: Solid, the figure is filled with a single color (determined by the figure’s center) and 180 deg, were the image source content is kept, but with 180 degree rotation.
More Details and Downloads30

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Fuzzifier

The Fuzzifier is a filter that produces diffusion, but preserve details. There are three sliders, designated ‘Spread’, ‘Strength’ and ‘Fuzziness’. At high ‘Spread’ settings, the effect becomes grain-like, so keep this slider at the low end unless that’s what you’re trying for. Strength, of course, controls the overall strength of the effect, while ‘Fuzziness’ controls the effectiveness with which detail is preserved.
More Details and Downloads31

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Gradient Blur

This plugin applies a gradient blur that draw the attention to the photograph’s main subject. There are sliders to control the position where the blur starts and it’s strength.
More Details and Downloads32

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Gradient Smithy

Gradient Smithy allows you to create what Photoshop calls the gradient map effect. Gradient Smithy allows to create complex gradients, quite easily.
More Details and Downloads33

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Grain Natural 2

Grain Natural creates a grain-a-like effect of your images. This plugin takes advantage of the colors already present in the image to achieve a natural result.
More Details and Downloads34

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Harmonix

Harmonix renders a single, horizontal line on an image, but this is no ordinary line, it is the result of superimposing up to ten separate harmonic frequencies, scaled to the screen. You can use it to create realistic graphs or demonstrate how to create other basic waveforms from nothing but carefully selected harmonic frequencies.
More Details and Downloads35

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Harry’s Filters

The famous “Harry’s Filters” is a series of filters that contains up to 69 different image effects. The main effect categories are called Color, Artistic, Gradients, Patterns, Warp, Noise, En/Decrypt, Other and Nature. It also includes filters for changing the image color or mood, for creating artistic effects, producing colorful gradients or impressive patterns, warping images and adding special noise effects to image. Additionally they let you encrypt and decrypt images with 64 bit keys, produce zoom, mirror or paint effects as well as natural effects like lightning, tornado and polar lights.
More Details and Downloads36

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

High Pass Sharpening

This is a plugin to sharpen photos with the classic high pass method. The user can adjust the high pass filter radius, and control the blending with the original image.
More Details and Downloads37

HSL Plus

HSL Plus is similar to the traditional hue/saturation/luminosity balance, but with some extras. It has a better color integrity, improved control over luminosity, and you also have the option of making an automatic contrast (due to the Auto button) then of re-adjusting.
More Details and Downloads38

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

ICO Windows Icon

This plugin gives you an easy method for creating your web site’s favourites/shortcut/bookmark icon in Photoshop.
More Details and Downloads39

Illustrator

This simple plugin creates an effect similar to a colored-ink illustration.
More Details and Downloads40

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Jama 3d

Jama 3D is one of the simplest ways to create corrugated style and cellular like patterns from 2D images. You can easily make various bricks and herring bone textures.
More Details and Downloads41

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Julia World

Julia ‘s curves are a family of mathematical curves (fractals) renowned for their beauties. This plugin is very easy to use, all you have to do to find a curve and simply click the Random button, thats it. It also allows endless zooming to help you easily customize colors.
More Details and Downloads42

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Kaleidoscope 2.1

Kaleidoscope 2.1 is a plugin which uses multiple symmetries to create beautiful patterns, it uses these three spinning effects: Mirror, Copy, Transition and Blend.
More Details and Downloads43

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Lattice Composer

Lattice Composer effectively designs grids and nettings, it can produce a variety of weave patterns, fabric textures, body art tattoos and skeleton simulations. The 3D text effects can be extraordinary.
More Details and Downloads44

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Lens Correction

This plugin corrects barrel and pincushion distortions that many zoom camera lenses produce. Just move the sliders to the left to correct barrel distortion, and to the right to correct pincushion .
More Details and Downloads45

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Local Contrast Enhancement

This plugin’s main purpose is to enhance the detail of an image. This is achieved by increasing the contrast between a pixel’s value and the mean value of the adjacent pixels in a local area of the photo. You can control the amount of contrast that is increased, the size of the local area and the amount of blending with the original photo.
More Details and Downloads46

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Local Equalization

From an artistic point of view, local equalization can be used if you wish to enhance the aspect of a given texture. It can also be used to analyze and optimize an image certain details are barely viewable.
More Details and Downloads47

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Luce

Luce blends radial or directional light beams into your image. There is a text box for adjusting the intensity of the effect.
More Details and Downloads48

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Magic Enhancer Lite

With Magic Enhancer you can essentially improve your photos by adjusting its lightness, contrast and color balance It is perfect for enhancement image and photos which lack lightness or uneven illumination, silhouetted images on dark backgrounds. Convenient color temperature control allows fixing color balance defects easily.
More Details and Downloads49

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

MasterBlaster

A single Photoshop-compatible plug-in with 20 effects for “blasting” intense color into your images. Ideal for when you need to add dramatic impact to your photos or work.
More Details and Downloads50

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Melt 1.1

With this plugin, you can alter an image, using an effective wave style. Size, intensity, and aspect ratio of waves can be customized.
More Details and Downloads51

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Mezzy

The Mezzy plug-in comes packaged with 15 effects for creating a selection of simple grain and mezzo styles, it gives your photos a new look with these various effects. (No MAC version).
More Details and Downloads52

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Mistifier

The Mistifier recreates the hazy, soft-focus effect beloved of traditional SLR photographers. This is ideal for portraits, but can also be used to great effect on landscapes, giving a sort of dreamy quality.
More Details and Downloads53

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Mosaic

Mosaic makes your photos look as if they were created out of a mosaic tile. Photo-realistic depth and variable tile size and color options give this effect an infinite number of looks.
More Details and Downloads54

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

NightScope

The Nightscope is a filter for adding a basic “night-vision” effect to your digital photographs and/or 2D and 3D computer-generated images.
It first removes all color from the picture and gives a very slight blur to indicate the camera is trying hard to focus in a low-light situation. Then you can choose to add grain either keeping it B&W or mixing separate red, green and blue channels to vary the effect.
More Details and Downloads55

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

NightVision

The NightVision plug-in can make any image look like the ones from night-vision goggles. By using the effects in this plug-in, you can make images look like they are from a black & white security cameras or CCTV, it’s also possible to make them look like infra-red photos, or you can just use the interlace to make an image look like a TV picture.
More Details and Downloads56

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Nostalgia

The plugin selectively desaturates your image, but also gives a subtle change in hues. The end result is that some parts of the image become monochrome, while others take on a an unrealistic-looking coloration.
More Details and Downloads57

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Ornament

This a great free plugin, from Flaming Pear, it creates a quick-and-dirty 360° panoramic photograph with no strange lenses or image stitching needed.
More Details and Downloads58

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Panorama Tools

Panorama Tools is a free program which can be used to generate, edit and transform many kinds of panoramic images. It comes packaged with an added plugin called Realtime Panorama Editor (only Photoshop/Gimp version), which makes the Photoshop window an editable VR-viewer. You can pan left and right, tilt up and down, and zoom in and out. At any time you can use all the Photoshop tools to edit the image and instantly apply the changes to the warped panoramic image while keeping the interactive window open.
More Details and Downloads59

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Pastellise

Give your images a pastel effect with this simple plugin.
More Details and Downloads60

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Perspective Transformations

Sometimes it is hard choose the optimum angle to take a picture. If the object is essentially planar (e.g. a painting on a wall) or the angle is not off by much then there is hope that you can correct the perspective afterwards. The opposite may also be of interest if you want to make a composition and place objects at different angles, e.g. pep up screenshots for a brochure.
The Perspective plugin lets you carry out both active (“Modify” ) and passive (“Rectify” ) transformations. You can rotate the image around three axes, then reposition and resize it. Grid lines can be displayed both before and after transformation.
More Details and Downloads61

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Photo Tinter

“AS Photo tinter” is an image editing plug-in filter for extracting tone profile from toned black and white photos and applying extracted profiles to another photo. It is not yet another sepia effect – you may apply different tints to different areas of the photo, based on source brightness.
Homepage62

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Pinocchio

Pinocchio is mainly a fun tool to produce image distortions by mouse strokes. You can use it for caricatures and such. Just click on the preview image and drag in whichever direction, then use the sliders for fine tuning. This version lets you perform multiple mouse strokes without having to exit and reopen the plugin.
More Details and Downloads63

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Pole Transform 2.1

This plugin gives any image that cool Polar Panorama effect, aka “wee planets” .
More Details and Downloads846411

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Posterizer

Posterizer is a plugin that gives you the option to posterize the luminosity and the hue of any image.
More Details and Downloads65

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Projection

This plugin gives you a collection of interactive perspective effects: the ability to tile an image into infinite space (copy or mirror mode), or to repeat all the edges The 3D effect can be achieved simply by moving the corners of the image (in the preview window).
More Details and Downloads66

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

RedEyes

The RedEYes plugin removes the red eye effect often caused by a flash camera. It employs an easy-to-use semi-automatic algorithm that quickly and economically eliminates the problem.
More Details and Downloads67

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Retrodots

Retrodots is a simple plugin that generates dot grids which can be based on selections.
More Details and Downloads68

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

ScreenWorks

The ScreenWorks plugin has 30 options for creating screen/mesh patterns. This provides you with a quick way to add small detailed and repetitive texture overlay effects to areas of your image in one easy step. The single slider setting gives you the option to add the chosen pattern on top of your image, or make the layer background white. (No MAC version).
More Details and Downloads69

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Seamless Border

With this plugin you can create a seamless border from any image. There are three modes: Compact overlaps borders of two tiles, and blends them in a linear way; Advantage: usually, creates the best continuity between tiles; Disadvantage: the size of the last tile may vary with the “Border Size” setting, and you will have to crop the result manually; Stretch: Unlike “Compact Mode” , tiles are first extended by stretching the borders; Mirror: Unlike “Compact Mode” , tiles are first extended by using symmetries.
More Details and Downloads70

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Seamless Workshop

Seamless Workshop creates a seamless tile from any image. You can also create a “surrealistic modification” of a picture, as in the image below. It is a powerful tool for texture creators, and a helpful toy for graphic designers. The unique ‘Seamless Blur’ effect can be useful for any available tile-able pattern.
More Details and Downloads71

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Select Edges

The Select Edges plugin is a powerful tool for selective processing. You can select edge detail in your image for sharpening with Unsharp Mask without getting halos or switch to the inverse selection and use Gaussian Blur to diminish the background.
More Details and Downloads72

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Selective Saturation

This plugin, Selective Saturation, lets the user define a Saturation Zone by setting it’s center and range with two sliders. A mask preview mode is available to fine tune the settings.
More Details and Downloads73

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Serious Fog

This plugin gives your image a fog-like effect. Using the ‘Severity’ slider controls the thickness of the fog, and the ‘Whiteout’ slider lets you suggest that maybe the sun will burn off the fog later in the day. Simple, yet effective.
More Details and Downloads74

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Smart Refinement

This plug-in enhances sharpness, depth-of-field (DOF) and noise (dust) reduction.
More Details and Downloads75

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Snowflakes

With the Snowflakes plug-in, you can make it snow any time of the year, anywhere you want. You can control all aspects of a snow, adjust the size of the snowflakes, choose soft snowflakes or hail, the quantity and density of falling snowflakes and even the color of the flakes.
More Details and Downloads76

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Soft Focus

This plugins applies a soft focus effect, which is often useful in portraits or fashion photography. There are controls to adjust the focus softness, the overall strength of the effect and the blending mode of the overlayed blurred image.
More Details and Downloads77

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Soft Vignette

Vignette effects, where the edges of the image shade off gradually, are always a popular feature required by photographers. This plugin is feature heavy, you can adjust the gradient shape, sharpness, invert the gradient, select from 14 preset effects, choose a pattern, select the effect strength and, of course, you can adjust the height and width.
More Details and Downloads78

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Sorting Tiles

Fundamentally, this filter cuts an image into several blocks, sorts out the colors, redistributes and creates a complicated pattern.
More Details and Downloads79

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Stereogram Lab Filter

The Stereogram Lab Filter generates hidden image stereograms within Photoshop.
More Details and Downloads80

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

SwapShop

A single plugin with 15 effects for switching the color values in your images. Useful for experimenting with interesting combinations and creating surreal results. Windows only.
More Details and Downloads81

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Techni-X

A plug-in filter for very high contrast B&W effects which are ideal for certain illustration work. It bleaches out most of the mid-tone grays, leaving crisp dark blacks and bright clean whites. It will produce clear B&W images with limited tones which are suitable for cheap reproduction via the office photocopier or when published in newsprint.
More Details and Downloads82

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Thredgeholder

The Thredgeholder plugin provides an edge detection that’s simple to use but highly effective, just have a look at the screenshot below.
More Details and Downloads88839

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Tone 1.0

This plugin can convert any image into an anti-alias tone pattern, similar to newspaper tones.
More Details and Downloads846411

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Vibrations 1.1

This plugin has two different methods (“Levels” and “Lines” ) for creating a streak effect of your images . The filter has an inbuilt blur, in order to ensure smoothness.
More Details and Downloads85

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Water Ripples

The highly realistic water ripples effect designer has numerous options as well as an impressive 3D quality. The random settings generator produces unlimited variations of rippled surfaces.
More Details and Downloads86

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Weaver

This plugin creates a weave effect of your images.
More Details and Downloads87

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Xpose

Xpose is an exposure adjustment plugin, it is a quick adjustment tool that for highlights and shadows. With just a few sliders you can achieve better exposure of your digital photos.
More Details and Downloads88839

Photoshop Plugin and Filters

Plugin Development Resources

Filter Foundry Plugin89
The Filter Factory is a free plug-in that has been developed to allow users to create their own filters and effects using an internal programming language (which resembles C) and compile them as separate plug-in files.

Filter Meister90
This is another free plugin that allows users to create there own plugins. This plugin offers extensive documentation, step-by-step tutorials and free downloadable samples. This type of plugin is perfect for anyone with limited knowledge of any script language.

Photoshop CS4 SDK 91
If you are feeling really adventurous, you could develop a plugin using the Photoshop SDK. Previously you would have to pay just shy of $200 for the SDK, it is now free, the only thing you have to do is register with Adobe.

Photoshop Scripting92
A script is a series of commands that tells Photoshop to perform one or more tasks, Photoshop CS4 supports scripts written in AppleScript, JavaScript or VBScript. Download the latest documentation on scripting here: Photoshop Scripting Documentation93.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.artistic-effects.com/3d-shadow/
  2. 2 http://8bf.net/
  3. 3 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/absolute.htm
  4. 4 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/B-W-Conversion-2.html
  5. 5 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set3/baddream.htm
  6. 6 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/Redfield++.htm
  7. 7 http://www.vanderlee.com/plugins_camouflage.html
  8. 8 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/others/caravaggio.htm
  9. 9 http://www.littleinkpot.co.uk/FreePlugins.htm
  10. 10 http://www.flamingpear.com/circletosquare.html
  11. 11 http://www.geocities.com/murakuma/mmplugins.html
  12. 12 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/colormegamix.htm
  13. 13 http://www.vicanek.de/plugins/colorreplacer.htm
  14. 14 http://www.cybia.co.uk/colourworks.htm
  15. 15 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/contrastbalance.htm
  16. 16 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/Contrast-Mask-2.html
  17. 17 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterCraquelure3D.htm
  18. 18 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/curves.htm
  19. 19 http://depthdither.graphest.com/index.htm
  20. 20 http://home.planet.nl/~ber03728/4N6site/improc/digiplugin/main.htm
  21. 21 http://www.autofx.com/freeplugins/dreamyphoto.asp?id=7
  22. 22 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/edgesfx.htm
  23. 23 http://www.cybia.co.uk/edgeworks.htm
  24. 24 http://www.cybia.co.uk/embossworks.htm
  25. 25 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/equalizer.htm
  26. 26 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/eraserclassic.htm
  27. 27 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterFaceControl.htm
  28. 28 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/finethreshold.htm
  29. 29 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/flatmedian.htm
  30. 30 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/fur.htm
  31. 31 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set3/fuzzifier.htm
  32. 32 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/Gradient-Blur-2.html
  33. 33 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/gradientsmithy.htm
  34. 34 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/grainnatural.htm
  35. 35 http://www.vanderlee.com/plugins_harmonix.html
  36. 36 http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/harrysfilters/index.htm
  37. 37 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/High-Pass-Sharpening.html
  38. 38 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/hslplus.htm
  39. 39 http://www.telegraphics.com.au/sw/
  40. 40 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set2/illustrator.htm
  41. 41 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterJama3d.htm
  42. 42 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/juliaworld.htm
  43. 43 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/kaleidoscope.htm
  44. 44 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterLatticeComposer.htm
  45. 45 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/Lens-Correction-2.html
  46. 46 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/Local-Contrast-Enhancement-2.html
  47. 47 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/localequalization.htm
  48. 48 http://amicoperry.altervista.org/luce/index.html
  49. 49 http://www.imageskill.com/magicenhancer/magicenhancer.html
  50. 50 http://www.cybia.co.uk/masterblaster.htm
  51. 51 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/melt.htm
  52. 52 http://www.cybia.co.uk/mezzy.htm
  53. 53 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set1/mistifier.htm
  54. 54 http://www.autofx.com/freeplugins/mosaic.asp?id=20
  55. 55 http://www.cybia.co.uk/nightscope.htm
  56. 56 http://www.vanderlee.com/plugins_nightvision.html
  57. 57 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/others/nostalgia.htm
  58. 58 http://www.flamingpear.com/ornament.html
  59. 59 http://www.all-in-one.ee/~dersch/
  60. 60 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set3/pastellise.htm
  61. 61 http://www.vicanek.de/plugins/perspective.htm
  62. 62 http://photoshop.msk.ru/aspt/
  63. 63 http://www.vicanek.de/plugins/pinocchio.htm
  64. 64 http://www.geocities.com/murakuma/mmplugins.html
  65. 65 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/posterizer.htm
  66. 66 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/projection.htm
  67. 67 http://www.alphaplugins.com/products/products.php?menu=get_prod_id&p_menustate=&prod_id=12
  68. 68 http://www.philipp-spoeth.de/photoshop/retrodots.php
  69. 69 http://www.cybia.co.uk/screenworks.htm
  70. 70 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/seamlessborder.htm
  71. 71 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterSeamlessWorkshop.htm
  72. 72 http://www.reindeergraphics.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=201&Itemid=147
  73. 73 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/Selective-Saturation-2.html
  74. 74 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set2/seriousfog.htm
  75. 75 http://www.auralabs.com/products.html
  76. 76 http://Newfoundlander/plugins_snowflakes.html
  77. 77 http://www.photo-plugins.com/Plugins/Plugins/Soft-Focus-2.html
  78. 78 http://www.xero-graphics.co.uk/set4/softvignette.htm
  79. 79 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/sortingtiles.htm
  80. 80 http://hidden-3d.com/stereogram_photoshop_filter.php
  81. 81 http://www.cybia.co.uk/swapshop.htm
  82. 82 http://www.cybia.co.uk/technix.htm
  83. 83 http://www.littleinkpot.co.uk/FreePlugins.htm
  84. 84 http://www.geocities.com/murakuma/mmplugins.html
  85. 85 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/vibrations.htm
  86. 86 http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterWaterRipples.htm
  87. 87 http://www.mehdiplugins.com/english/weaver.htm
  88. 88 http://www.littleinkpot.co.uk/FreePlugins.htm
  89. 89 http://www.telegraphics.com.au/sw/info/filterfoundry.html
  90. 90 http://www.filtermeister.com/
  91. 91 http://www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop/sdk/
  92. 92 http://www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop/scripting/
  93. 93 http://www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop/scripting/

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Paul Andrew is a freelance Web designer. He is chief admin for Speckyboy - Design Magazine, a Web design, Web development and graphic design resource blog.

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  1. 1

    I agree with everyone, this post was rubbish. And its more of an A-X…. There isn’t a Y or Z. Rubbish! It doesn’t even review the plugins in anyway. I really hope you didn’t pay someone for this, and if you did I really hope it didn’t pay anywhere as near as much as the good articles you post.

    I’d rather read nothing then read rubbish.

    -4
  2. 52

    Do I really need to click through them all to find out if any of them are for mac?

    3
  3. 154

    I love this site and most all the articles but this is a TERRIBLE post! I worked for 5 years in a professional photography studio and I can tell you nearly every one of these effects can be created in vanilla Photoshop and probably do it MUCH better! Here I will break down a few (and these dont even require CS4)

    Black and White (avoid desaturate for photos!):
    -Method 1: Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer. Use the drop down presets or enter your own values and click “monochrome”. I typically use 15,95,-4.
    -Method 2: Image > Adjustments > Black and White tool. No need for explination, it has presets or customizable sliders and works great. This only came in in recent CS versions though.
    (you can also create layer effects using these tools with the “adjustment layers” button at the bottom of the layers window)

    Curves Plugin:
    -Why not use the default Curves tools thats been built in since…well like forever! You access it the same place as the black and white tools above.

    Dreamy Photo (or any Soft Focus effect really):
    -Open a photo and duplicate its layer. Go to filter > Gausian Blur and blur it, you should still see basic shapes but it should be really blurry. Change the blurry layers opacity down to around 50% until you like the softness. For added effect duplicate the blurry layer and set it to soft light blending mode (top of the layers window) lower the opacity of it a bit more.

    Gradient Blur
    -Please, for all that is holy, learn how to use Masks (both quick and layer masks)! They are one of the single most important part of photoshop, period. This will you on nearly every photo effect, not just blurs.

    Mezzy
    -Try the adjustment effect called Threshhold, great for that Sin City comic type effect. You can further customize it with the use of contract and other adjustment layers and techniques.

    Perspective Transform
    -Since CS2 or 3 there has been a filter called Vanishing Point that can do these types of effects. Its a bit more complicated but simple enough to understand looking at adobes video tutorials…perhaps there is some on youtube as well!

    Red Eye
    There is a built in tool in photoshop cs3 and later (maybe cs2 even?) Look under the healing tool/patch set. In pre-cs3 versions before the tool was introduced you can fix most red eye using a regular brush sized down to the size of pupil, change the blending mode (just under the menu bar while the brush is selected) to color mode and changing your brush color to black. Brush directly on the red and it should convert to black (really black and white). You can use the burn tool at a lower opacity to darken if it looks too grey.

    That should be enough to give you a good idea! My point here is that in the time it would take you to download and learn to install most of these you could have a better understanding of the core photoshop abilities and tools and be better for it in the long run!

    4
    • 205

      hello..just wondered if anyone can offer any advice..free sites…to get started in photo editing ……I already know and use the basics, but needing to upgrade for example: remove hair in face….enhance portraits of people….etc.? I do have PS on my pc but not familiar with yet..seems rather confusing and need something faitly quick? Any suggestions or other sites you can introduce me too…Appreciate any advice and help!

      -1
  4. 256

    First of all, this article sould be titled “A-Z of Free Photoshop Plugins and Filters FOR WINDOWS”. It will be lees misleading.
    Second, those plug ins are terrible. How can you use that, when you can do the same with photoshop itself? OK, you could if only you had read the manual…
    Third, try to read the Kai Krause power tips and tricks on Photoshop (they’re available here and there on the net). They’re old ones, but at least they can present some interest.
    i’m sorry to write that, but this article is irrelevant. And for the first time, an article of Smashing Magazine disappoints me.

    0
  5. 307

    I have only been using Photoshop for a while myself and I have already learnt some of the things you can achieve with it, without using any of these plugins.

    For those that would rather use a plugin and don’t know how to achieve the effects – I’d say this is a good list of free plugins.

    However, I’m with everyone else here when they say this is no benefit to the most of us.

    I looked through the whole list and would never use any of them…I feel i wasted my time reading this article.

    Sorry.

    Still – keep up the good work Smashing

    -2
  6. 358

    hmm… hope this is a joke :)
    Or it’s a repost of 1990..

    -3
  7. 409

    need I add anything…?

    -4
  8. 460

    To be honest I often feal the quality of smashing magazine articles isn’t that great, so im surprised to see such confusion over this article.

    I mean this one IS really bad, but they’re rarely that insightful (sometimes useful though). If you’re after a serious web design/development blog there are plenty out there; but smashing is great for one thing … quantity. I’ve always kind of seen smashing as an amateurs resource that I like to dip into occasionally to find a couple of new free fonts or the odd CSS tip. It’s just not set up in a way that cultivates high quality, like alistapart or simialr.

    -3
  9. 511

    Unfortunatley I´m gonna have to agree with the majority, that was well below the standard I´ve come to expect from smashing, especially considering that it was a specyboy production. While I´d admit that 3 people might find it usefull, I´d suggest an A-Z or top 100 of photoshop ACTIONS, which are way cooler and infinitely more usefull.

    Well you certainly can´t win em all. Chins up lads, the next one had better smash, cos this one just tinkled.

    -3
  10. 562

    i see some of the blogs listed above and i enjoy reviewing on it… we will come back often…see yahhh..thanks for the information share…

    Thanks and regards,

    0
  11. 613

    This could have been a very valuable post, but yikes, I got to the H’s and stopped, too terrible to continue. If you use these effects, you’ll automatically look like an amateur. Maybe that’s who this is targeting?

    -3
  12. 664

    @Meh (#60) : I totally agree with you.

    -3
  13. 715
  14. 766

    It would be a better idea to post “The Best Comercial Plugins for Photoshop”…. this ones are really bad. Where is the “smash”?

    -3
  15. 817

    Terrible post, Sorry

    0
  16. 868

    This post is rockin’

    -2
  17. 919

    Yikes. I read SM daily, but sorry, these plugins are just awful. The post would work if you just renamed it “A-Z Worst Photoshop Plugins on the Net”

    -4
  18. 970

    Holy shizbut these are crap!
    Is this a serious post?

    -3
  19. 1021

    Wow..are these filters from 1995? They look like they are made for the people who steal Photoshop and think they know how to use the program because they can apply a filter to an image.

    Good idea on the post, but try limiting it down to a few quality free filters and not a bunch of lame ones.

    -1
  20. 1072

    KiL
    {flamebait}
    Well these are filters for Windows, so clearly not aimed at professional Photoshop users ;-P
    {/flamebait}

    Putting flamebait tags around your statement doesn’t change the fact tat you have obviously never worked in a professional environment and are thus an amateur. Many pro designers are forced to use PC’s by blue chip IT departments who can’t be bothered to support Macs.

    -4
  21. 1123

    it’s a little too early for an april fool’s joke…

    -3
  22. 1174

    @Bogus, support your own mac, loser.

    -4
  23. 1225

    yeah delete!!!

    -1
  24. 1276

    This isn’t for professional designers. Smashing Magazine should stick to writing articles for people that actually care about design.

    -3
  25. 1327
  26. 1378

    Smashing, please warn Mac users in title of post or first paragraph when you are posting Windows only content.

    -3
  27. 1429

    April Fools!

    seriously what are we, in 1980? all of these are horrid and no self-respecting designer would touch them.

    -3
  28. 1480

    This was a very worthless post. This is a rare miss for Smashing Magazine. The effects that these “filters” produce are annoying and exactly what Photoshop should not be used for.

    -3
  29. 1531

    I’ve never worked anywhere unprofessional enough about their design standards to force the department to work on PCs aside from some production only places where you would not need this stuff anyway. Maybe I’m lucky, however that does not change the fact that these are largely crap and useless to the industry standard in the 1st place. SM usually does better. Thank-you & goodnight.

    3
  30. 1582

    I thought I accidentally clicked on the very first post.

    -2
  31. 1633

    I guess they’re free for a reason. I really wanted to find a gem in this list, even in an early 90’s retro kinda way but they’re all hideous abominations…

    -2
  32. 1684

    And to top it off, these are mostly PC plug-ins.

    -3
  33. 1735

    From Bill Gates to lazy (and cheapper) filters… this is the worst post ever at SM.
    Delete it please, don’t insult us! Tks!

    -4
  34. 1786

    I just vomited onto my keyboard. The funny thing is… it looks better then ALL of these plug-ins (ha! This article should be titled A-Z Free PhotoShop FUG-INS!)

    -2
  35. 1837

    jonathan Atkinson

    August 4, 2009 1:56 pm

    I have to agree with most comments – felt like I stepped back 10 years in time….. not your usual high standard unfortunately – but no complaints to the normally excellent articles.

    Anyone looking at this stuff to use, just needs to experiment with the core photoshop – you will ALWAYS gain better results and a warm fuzzy feeling just experimenting and doing it yourself.

    -5
  36. 1888

    Hey ! What’s that ! I have seen much better topic, I am disappointed !I have the impression that this subject dates from 1990..

    Neo from France

    -2
  37. 1939

    I must agree with most of the negative comments. I really hope many of the Photoshop newbies out there read the comments first.

    Most of those websites were of very poor quality and don’t deserve the traffic from SM.

    However, because of all the great info and freebies you’ve posted, you can certainly be allowed an off-post or three. Thanks guys!

    -3
  38. 1990

    Creamy don’t like this.

    -5
  39. 2041

    Seriously, the title should have said “For Windows Only”. What a waste of my time trying to find any that are Mac compatible. There were a few of interest among the horrible ones, but, for Windows only, so I cannot try them.

    -8
  40. 2092

    I rarely ever post but I do find this post pretty bad as well… If you can afford a couple g’s for Photoshop, then a couple hundred for a really good commercial plug-in is worth the cost. However, the free ones shown on here are honestly pretty weak in the fact that this would be good for a Photoshop 6, but so many advancements have been done by CS3 and CS4 that make half of these filters obsolete and also the fact that they put so little time into their GUI does them no justice…did they use Microsoft Paint to do their interfaces….don’t they use photoshop as well…. Very disappointed, however the concept of free filters made me click here……but i do regret it now.

    -4
  41. 2143

    None I tried work for Mac. Too bad I’m a designer not someone trying to update their MySpace page. Boo!

    0
  42. 2194

    Marc-André Ménard

    August 4, 2009 5:01 pm

    Stephen is right on !… I feel the same, (barf!)… 1990 call to have all those ugly plug in back… please send it a.s.a.p… maybe there is some killer article in preparation, and it will blow our mind with good shit, but during this time they just send that shitting stuff to keep us from falling asleep or go on vacantion !… i dont know really !

    3
  43. 2245

    Wow…… you’d think the world was ending judging by some of the responses. Perspective people. LOL!

    -2
  44. 2296

    I agree with what seems to be the consensus. 99% of these blow. Was interested in about 4 but then found out all but one are for PC only. LAME. Sorry for whomever spent their time researching all this crap and writing up this post. Sure generated a lot of fun comments to read, though

    0
  45. 2347

    Wow lot of Mac Snobs in here

    The plugins are still terrible, whether you use a PC or Mac

    Owning a mac does not make you a pro guys, it means you can buy an expensive computer no more, no less. Just because a painter buys expensive easels and brushes doesn’t make him or her a professional, you all really ought to get the mice from up your bums.

    -5
  46. 2398

    a fine example of reckless blogging!

    There should be a giant golden rule posted in the SM HQ “If you don’t have anything worth posting, don’t post.”

    -2
  47. 2449

    Wow, I’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone.

    0
  48. 2500

    To those who complain, I’d like to say “If you don’t want it, you can’t have any”. You don’t *have* to read this, you know. Just because you feel a post is “beneath” you, doesn’t mean it might not have validity for others. I’m not a mac user, but I don’t complain when there are mac-centric items. It might be nice if there were more for linux, but still, there’s no reason to whine and complain. Finally, to quote “thumper”, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.

    To SM, thank you for all your wonderful posts and your efforts. Please disregard the complaints and nay-sayers.

    0
  49. 2551

    hmmm. sooooooooo.

    0
  50. 2602

    it must have cost 5000 hours to get this cr*p together. but its still cr*p.

    0

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