While Adobe Photoshop is a powerful, creative platform, using plugins can help to extend its capabilities and use it to its full potential. Using an add-on can help you perform tedious or difficult tasks in a more efficient manner, enabling you to spend more time on design.
There are thousands of plugins to choose from, but many are outdated and no longer work with updated versions of Photoshop. We’ve collected the best free plugins you can download, install and start using right away.
We focus on a variety of free plugins best suited to web and graphic design, to help you work faster and more productively. The plugins can help with a range of functions, including layer control, exporting assets, icon exploration, guides and fonts.
1. Social Kit
Social Kit provides customizable templates for four of the biggest social networks — Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube — along with a variety of social buttons. Each template is fully sliced and customizable, and the plugin automatically updates when there’s a minor change to the social sites’ designs You can see your design changes in real time, and you can add contributors to projects to help improve it.IMAGE: SOCIAL KIT
Layrs Control is a free plugin that houses a collection of scripts to make the more mundane tasks in Photoshop. It provides five main features, including a layer name editor and options to remove any unused effects, flatten all layer effects, delete empty layers to cut down the file size, and rasterize smart objects.IMAGE: LAYRS CONTROL
3. Cut&Slice Me
Cut&Slice lets you export your assets to different devices in seconds, and it improves your workflow by naming your layers. You can cut and export files in PNG format, trimming extraneous pixels or specifying you size you require. Cut&Slice also exports your button states.
Exported files have unsupported characters in the file name removed, with support for .xxdpi, .Idpi, .mdpi and .hdpi. While Photoshop hasn’t changed the way it exports for the web for years, Cut&Slice offers new capabilities, allowing you to create overlapping slices and exporting only what you need with maximum detail.IMAGE: CUT&SLICE ME
CSS3Ps is a free cloud-based Photoshop plugin that converts your layers to CSS3. Since it’s based in the cloud, the updates and bug-fixes are transparent, so there’s no need to update the plugin to use new features. It’s easy to use — just select your layers and click the CSS3Ps button, and it directs you to the CSS3Ps webpage where the output is generated.
The plugin features support for vendor prefixes for cross-browser compatibility, SASS and SCSS support, border radius, stroke, gradient overlay, drop shadow, outer glow, and inner glow. You can select multiple layers and groups of layers at once and convert them with one click, with additional support for blending modes, bevel and emboss. It’s worth noting that in order for the plugin to convert appropriately, you need to use the correct Photoshop effects.IMAGE: CSS3PS
BlendMe.in is a plugin for both Photoshop and Illustrator that lets you search thousands of assets (including popular icon packs) that you can simply drag and drop into you canvas and continue work. All the icons are vector format, so they’re inserted as smart objects and are infinitely scalable.
The assets are provided under the Creative Commons Attribution license, so you can use them in your personal and commercial projects. If you wish to have your collection of icons or assets considered, simply email the developer. All you need to do is install it via the extensions manager and you’re ready to start.
The interface sits within the Photoshop panel, so it’s unobtrusive and makes it easy to drag assets onto your canvas.IMAGE: BLENDME.IN
Renderly will automatically exports screens, assets and detailed design specs, and with its smart technology, only those elements that have changed are exported. All you need to do is use a proper prefix and Render.ly will do the rest.
To keep your icons as vectors, simply add a prefix of “ico.” For buttons, name a group with “btn” and create a state (e.g., add “:hover”) at the end of the name inside that group. To export images, add “img” as a prefix and the image will be exported as a raster graphic. Inside your group, each variant must have a “+” in front of the layer name, and Renderly will automatically export as many screens or variants as you require. Each top level group is treated as a separate screen, so you can design your entire app or website in one PSD file.
Renderly is currently in private beta, but it’s accepting new designers — simply sign up for a chance to preview it.IMAGE: RENDERLY
Dealing with multiple guides in Photoshop can be a pain, but using GuideGuide makes it easy to have pixel-accurate columns, rows, midpoints and baselines based on your document or selection. Your frequently used guide sets can be used for future use, with the ability to use multiple types of measurements.
The plugin works with Photoshop CS5, CS6 and CC and is simple to install. You can also use the plugin to measure exactly how wide a navigation element should be to fit evenly across the width of a site, as well as creating baseline grids and element padding.IMAGE: GUIDEGUIDE
Composer lets you update multiple layer comps in Photoshop with a single click, meaning less maintenance and more designing. It works on Photoshop CS5 or higher.
Select any layers or groups to which want to apply changes and use one of the four commands to update the selected layers: Update Layer Style, Update Position, Update Visibility and Update All. The plugin sits inside the Photoshop panel for easy access.IMAGE: COMPOSER
The Web Font plugin lets you design with your desired website fonts from within Photoshop, with access to thousands of web fonts from prestigious foundries. It works in combination with professional font manager Suitcase Fusion 5 and web font service WebINK.
You can preview any font while you’re working on a design, without having to download and install individual fonts to use in Photoshop. If you’ve chosen a font from WebINK, you only pay for the fonts that you use in your final site. It’s important to note, however, that you can’t use fonts purchased from WebINK for derivative work — only as part of the website design process. When new fonts are added, they’re available automatically.IMAGE: WEBFONT
Flaticon is a free project, created for and by designers and developers. It’s home to one of the largest databases of free vector icons, available to download in SVG, PSD or PNG formats. You can also convert icons into web fonts, with all the icons on Flaticon completely scalable and editable, and accessible to any screen reader.
You have instant access to more than 31,000 icons. The database always stays synchronized so you never have to worry about manually updating the icon collection. The plugin has support for Photoshop CS5, CS6 and CC, and it’s compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.IMAGE: FLATICON
Breeezy is a free plugin that adds multilayer export functionality to Photoshop. This makes it quick and easy to prepare graphics for app development or websites. It features the ability to save a layer’s transparency when exporting, pass layer names to files, and organize all exported files and assets in one folder.
It works with Photoshop CS5 and higher on both Windows and Mac OS X.IMAGE: BREEEZY
12. Save Panel
Save Panel is a Photoshop plugin that optimizes file saving, meaning that you can configure the buttons to save documents with your favorite settings. It features the ability to customize the destination folder (either absolute or relative), image dimensions, file type and filename. Using the Save Panel with a service such as Dropbox lets you effectively share images with other people directly from Photoshop.
It’s easy to configure, with no limitations on how many buttons you can create and customize. To set up, simply save presets created in the options dialog — each preset will then be represented with a button on the panel, giving you quick access to your favorite settings.IMAGE: SAVE PANELVia : www.mashable.com