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11 Best Photoshop Plugins, Effects & Actions

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There are hundreds of Adobe Photoshop plugins and effects out there to help improve your photos.

The best Photoshop plugins and actions can make your job easier, enhance your editing workflow, and help you learn new skills.

Photoshop Actions

11. Double Exposure Volume 5

Double Exposure Volume 5 is a free Photoshop action. To enable it, all you need to do is download the image and load it in Photoshop. A single click will transform simple photos into stunning double exposures.

Double exposures are usually made up of at least two different photos. You might have seen them in advertisements, conceptual images, or movie posters. They’re great for creating emotion.

The action file comes with installation instructions if you need some extra help.A beautiful double exposure portrait created with Double Exposure Volume 5

10. Wet Plate Collodion

Wet plate is a time-consuming and expensive photography technique. This action promises to re-create the wet plate effect.

The action will make your photos look old and glassy. You can play around with 14 textures and 12 colour effects.

You can buy the action in Envato Market. Compared to other actions on the website, Wet Plate Collodion is a cheaper option.dramatic portrait created with Wet Plate Collodion photoshop effect

9. Polaroid Generator / Polanoid

This is one of the best Polaroid generators out there. It will transform any picture into an authentic-looking Polaroid within seconds.

The action is completely free, but you have to join DeviantART to download the file. You also have to credit the owner when you share your results online.a screenshot of editing with Polaroid Generator / Polanoid on Photoshop

Photoshop Plugins

8. Retouching Toolkit

Retouching Toolkit is an Adobe Photoshop plugin for portrait photographers. The plugin promises to simplify your editing process and give you more tools.

You can download add-ons for an extra price. The add-ons include frequency separation tools, additional colour wheels panels, and more.

This Photoshop plugin is pricey, but it can be a reasonable investment if you’re a professional retoucher.a close up of a person editing with Photoshop plugins

7. AirMagic – Drone Photography Editor

AirMagic is a standalone app, and Photoshop plugin made for drone photographers. It enhances and perfects aerial photos of all kinds.

With a few clicks, you can make your drone photos look more appealing. The plugin can edit many images at once without your help.

AirMagic is one of the cheapest Photoshop plugins on this list.drone photo of a sprawling urban area

6. Aurora HDR

The same company that made AirMagic also offers Aurora HDR. This is an HDR-enhancing Photoshop plugin. It’s AI-powered, which means that you don’t need to do much clicking to enhance your landscape shots.

The plugin also comes with colour effects and tools. These can perfect even the most simple landscape pictures.

Given all the tools this plugin offers, the price isn’t unreasonable.serene photo of a tree by a lake

5. Animator’s Toolbar

Animator’s Toolbar is a Photoshop animation plugin. You’ll get an extra toolbar with unique tools that you can use to improve your animations. Beginners and professionals alike can enjoy this creative Photoshop plugin.

The Adobe Photoshop plugin also offers shortcuts that can quicken your editing process and make it easier to repeat tasks.

Animator’s Toolbar is the cheapest of the Photoshops plugins on this list.Atmospheric animated image of a bunny created with Animator's Toolbar

4. Ink

Ink is a plugin made for artists and designers. It automatically measures a design and gives you all of its specifications. This can be useful for creative photographers or designers working with team members. It’s also beneficial in website development projects.

Ink is entirely free to use.a close up of a designer drawing

3. Fluid Mask 3

Fluid Mask 3 is a background removal plugin. You can remove and replace any backgrounds, even if they have lots of details. This plugin is great for photo manipulations, product photography, and retouching.

Fluid Mask is one of the pricier Photoshop plugins on this list. But, it might be an excellent investment for creative photographers who need to remove backgrounds regularly.Atmospheric still life of roses against a textured dark background

Photoshop Effects

These are neither actions nor plugins, but they can make your editing process much more manageable.

2. Colour Enhancing Curve by Julia Trotti

Curves are a handy tool available in every version of Photoshop. You can use them to enhance the colours in your photos. If you want to experiment with different colour styles, you can download Photoshop curves.

One of the most popular Photoshop curves artists is Julia Trotti of Digital Film Actions. She offers a few curves for free.

To load your curves, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Click on the cogwheel icon on the top right and select Load Preset. Double-click your curve file.

The only disadvantage of curves is that you have to load them every time you restart Photoshop. You can’t save them permanently, so make sure you never delete the curve files in your folder.a screenshot of editing black and white portrait of a female model on photoshop

1. Free Photoshop Textures

Brusheezy offers hundreds of free textures that you can use in photography and design projects. You usually get a zip file filled with images or PSD files. You can then import these into Photoshop and do whatever you like with them.

Most of the textures need attribution. If you want to use them in commercial projects without giving credit, you need to buy the files. This requires a subscription, which costs as much as any other website subscription.

Alternatively, you can buy a few credits to buy a specific amount of images.black and white portrait of a female model

Common Photoshop Action Questions

How Do I Edit Photoshop Actions?

Select the action you want to edit and click on the arrow next to the action name. This will open the actions’ steps. You can rearrange or delete steps. Make sure you export your action before you make any changes. This way, you won’t worry if you remove the wrong step.

What Are Photoshop Actions?

Photoshop actions are effects that can quickly enhance or transform photos. Go to Window > Actions. Select any action you like and click on the Play icon. The action will do all the work for you. Some actions also come with instructions and extra tools.

How Do You Use Actions in Photoshop CC 2019?

Go to Window > Actions. A new window should pop up. Go to the folder where your action is. Double-click the file. It should immediately pop up in the Actions window. Keep in mind that this technique doesn’t work in some older versions of Photoshop.

How Do I Add Actions to Photoshop?

If you’re using Photoshop CC 2019, double-click on your action file to open it in Photoshop. If you’re using an older version, go to Window > Actions and click on the four horizontal lines at the top right of the window. Click on Load Actions and double-click your action file.

beautiful double exposure of a girl and a forest road
Photo by Ash Cork from Pexels

Conclusion

You can make the most of Photoshop’s tools by using plugins, actions, and other effects.

Together, these tools can help you take your work to the next level!

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