28 Best Free Photoshop Plugins

… for web design, brushes, patterns, color adjustment, filtering, special effects, and more

nik plugins

Plugins from the Google Nik collection.

Photoshop plugins were introduced by Adobe in 1992. Since then thousands of compatible plugins have popped up. Some of them are paid and some of them are free.

Most of the free plugins were created with the Adobe Filter factory. Some of these plugins have not been updated since 1995! There are also many third party plugin providers who have written some excellent plugins. With so many, it’s difficult to pick the best out of the bunch.

This list contains the best free Photoshop plugins for: web design, brushes, patterns, color adjustment, workflow, filtering, special effects, and sizing.

Big Bundles

These packs can help beginners enhance their abilities. Pros can use them to speed up the design process. The plugin bundles below contain tools for a wide range of different uses.

1. Nik Collection

The Nik Collection is a free pack of seven plugins published by Google. This pack has tools designed to help you edit images with filters, color adjustments, and smart sharpening. With this bundle, you can manipulate your images like a pro.

google nik screenshot

Google Nik

2. Auto FX Free Sampler

This is a nice sampler from Auto FX Software. You get a pack of 10 free photo effects that serve a wide variety of purposes. It includes effects for brushes, lighting, focal zoom, borders, and more.

Web Design

Web designers use Photoshop for a variety of reasons. Many times it is necessary to automate tasks such as setting up grids or finding icons. The plugins below can help when it comes to creating mock-ups, preparing images, or creating design templates.

3. Lorem Ipsum Generator

This is a good one for creating mockups for your webpages. No more copy-pasting the Lorum Ipsum script to see how your text looks on the page. This free plugin does it instantly.

4. GuideGuide

Setting up guides is a hassle, especially complex grids. One of the coolest features of this plugin is that you can instantly create guidelines by making a selection. Use the ready-made templates or create your own custom guides and save them for later.

5. Gridify

Gridify is another free plugin for creating guides and grids. This one does the same thing as GuideGuide but it has a different feel. The download website features helpful video tutorial on using Gridify and easy instructions for installation.

6. Flat Icon

This free plugin gives you access to over 40,000 vector shapes. Flat Icon adds a panel that allows you to search for any icon you could ask for. It’s worth installing even if you need it just for the arrows alone.

7. CSS3Ps

CSS3Ps generates CSS code for any layer to speed up the design process. Get the exact size, color, and font details of your design element with a single click.

css3ps screenshot

CSS3PS Plugin

Effects and Filters

There is a steep learning curve when it comes to advanced effects and filtering. You can bridge that gap with these plugins and do things you didn’t think were possible. Those with more advanced skills can use them to avoid all the grunt work to focus more on design.

8. B/W Conversion

This is a powerful black and white conversion plugin with features that give you total control over the color tones.

9. Pixel Bender

Pixel Bender gives you the power to automate a wide range of different operations in Photoshop. Developers can use it to create custom filters and effects for image and video in a simple programming language.

10. Pixel Squid

Pixel Squid allows you to browse through thousands of realistic 3D objects that you can edit and customize any way you want. Choose an object, find the angle you want and download it. It helps you create seamless photo-real compositions. Pixel Squid’s website has free stock objects available for download.

11. Harry’s Filters

Download his free set of 69 image effects with over 130 presets included. You can get all sorts of tools to adjust colors and create impressive effects.

12. Dramatic Sepia

Want to switch up the mood of an image? This plugin will do it. It is useful for adding warmth to black and white photos.

13. Electric Image and HSBHSL (Optional Multiplugin)

This plugin from Adobe lets you adjust colors based on their level of saturation. This way you achieve much more subtle effects that if you were to use Vibrance (introduced in CS4).

Retouching

It takes some finesse to get your images pixel perfect. Below we have a few helpful plugins for retouching your photos.

14. Detail

Create sharp, crisp images that have that wow factor. Focus and sharpness stand out right away when you look at photos. Detail gives your images crystal clear sharpness and depth. This technically isn’t free, but you can get some mileage out of the free trial.

15. Ximagic

This denoiser toolbox provides you with seven different ways to reduce noise. This is helpful because the method of noise reduction you choose depends on the image.

Colors

Color is the spice of life. There are an infinite number of ways you can manipulate the colors of your images. This section is full of plugins to do some amazing things with colors.

16. Adobe Capture CC

Capture inspiration anywhere with this addicting mobile app and connect it to Photoshop. It’s great for finding color schemes with your smartphone or tablet. Take a picture of anything with your mobile device. Then you can extract colors, create brush patterns, or turn shapes into vector graphics. This one is a lot of fun.

17. AmphiSoft Photo Tinter

This image editing filter allows you to extract tone profiles from black and white toned images. It’s an easy way to obtain tone profiles from your favorite photos.

18. Melancholytron

Give your images that old-timey, melancholy feel. You get lots of options to change the feel and color of your photos. Check this one out if you are looking to add a subtle bit of nostalgia to your photos.

coolorus mixer

Coolorus Mixer

19. Colorus 2

Save precious time and get better colors. This color wheel is inspired by the Corel Painter color picker. It’s a nice addition to Photoshop that will enhance your painting workflow. Free trial.

20. Colorotate

Colorotate is an iPad app that replaces the standard Photoshop color picker with a 3D color picker. It makes creating complex color palettes easy. This one was created by IDEA, a non-profit organization promoting scientific and artistic literacy.

Selection, Sizing, and Workflow

Sizing, resizing, and preparing images to work on is often repetitive and time consuming. These plugins give you a pain-free way to go about it. There are also a couple excellent plugins to help manage your workflow.

21. Pixel to Vector

This is the only free Photoshop plugin we know of that converts pixel shapes into vector shapes. It’s pretty nifty. With it, you can turn your shapes into scalable vector images faster than you can say “Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele.”

22. IsometrIcon

Isometricon is from the same publisher as Pixel to Vector, The Orange Box. It helps you turn shapes into isometric icons in order to create 3D charts and icons much faster than the old fashioned way.

23. Transform Each

This is a huge time saver. You can select and resize multiple images quickly and easily by scale. Get a precise resize and preview without having to eyeball it.

24. Plug-in Switch

There are thousands of useful plugins available. Perhaps you are a plugin hoarder and your collection is getting out of hand, or maybe you have just collected lots of useful plugins. This plugin is a plugin to manage your collection of plugins.

25. Interface Tools Plugin

Preparing and optimizing images for the web can involve some repetitive tasks. This plugin is a panel containing some of the most frequently used tools for this kind of thing. The panel lets you turn snap on or off, horizontally center, vertically center, trim, and export .png files without having to use shortcuts or the drop down menu. This is a huge time saver.

26. Super Spray

This is a useful plugin that turns any .png image into a spray pattern. This makes adding interesting patterns easy — just import your image with the plugin.

27. Subtle Patterns

This is an oldie but a goody. The latest version of Subtle Patterns by Adobe is now a paid plugin. But this is the latest free version before it became a premium product.

28. LunarCell

This is an intergalactic plugin that is specifically for designing planets. The intuitive user interface allows you to create beautiful interstellar planets of all kinds. It also creates 3D maps.

Extending Photoshop is Easy

Photoshop comes with a lot of useful tools built-in. But if you have specific design needs, these plugins are certain to make the task of creation just a little bit easier. Enjoy!