30 BEST PHOTOSHOP PLUGINS FOR ARTISTS AND ANIMATORS

In Apps and Software review, Art, Artists, Review by Toni Justamante Jacobs

So, if you’ve been creating designs on Photoshop without using any or a combination of some effective plugins, then this is for you. Even if you’ve been using a few, we can guarantee that you’d get a few more (or maybe a lot more) from this list. With that said, here are the top 30 plugins and extensions that every Photoshop creator needs. Some of them are free and others cost a couple of bucks.

MIXOOS: COLOR MIXER

The Color Mixer plugin from Mixoos is a handy tool for Photoshop users looking to step up their design game. The panel contains six tools: a brush tool, dirty brush tool, palette knife tool, eraser tool, pan tool and eyedropper tool to help designers pick the exact colour palettes they want to use, apply them and mix everything uniformly or otherwise.

it also carries a ‘History’ tab that keeps a record of swatches recently used or sampled.

COOLORUS 2

This plugin is built to serve as a colour wheel for artists and animators working on the Photoshop software. It features multiple color sliders and other creative options to help users get the exact color they are trying to mimic or achieve.

With this, you don’t have to worry about losing your work because colours used as saved in a swatch similar to a history tab.

CHAMELEON ADAPTIVE PALETTE

The Chameleon Adaptive Palette has been developed to serve as an assistant for creating designs on Photoshop. It features a ‘flexible panel’ that takes cognisance of what is being designed to create a swatch of varying colours that blend with or are close to the colour palette being used.

Users can allow the swatches to assist with colour recommendations or lock the palette and keep it from adapting to the job being done.

BRUSH BOX

Brushbox is a program that stands in as a designer’s manager. It features a simple, neat panel for organising all the important tools being used to design a project. The most important could be grouped as ‘Favourites’ and all the others could be tagged whatever you want them to be.

Tools dropped using this plugin can be modified and reset at will so you do not have to finetune everything before dropping it on the panel.

RENAMY CC 2019

This plugin serves a specific purpose of renaming layers on a Photoshop project. This helps designers identify which layers represent which aspect of the project. The tool allows users to select multiple layers at once and then rename them without having to do so individually.

It uses Regex to match substrings in the project and somewhere on the screen, there is a search tool that can be used to source for layers without having to scroll up or down.

MAGICSQUIRE

The hassle of having to scroll through several brushes in search of one brush can be cut down with the MagicSquire plugin. The tool provides a means for arranging brushes and sorting them into groups while using colours to differentiate the groups.

When this plugin is installed and applied, you would also notice a small popup under the cursor to signify which point the cursor is at. The shortcut tab allows you to apply presets easily or close the popup under the cursor.

LAZY NEZUMI

Lazy Nezumi is a hack that should be used when creating whether or not a designer is lazy. By installing the tool, one would be able to create straighter, curvier or wavier lines that don’t look crooked.

It can be used when drawing with a mouse or a pen stylus as it features a stabilizer that prevents any shaking from being replicated on the screen. This can be used on a few other software besides Photoshop.

ADOBE PLUG-INS AND EXTENSION

This is the plugin for other plugins as it allows users to download assets: images, videos, illustrations and more without leaving the Photoshop software. It also has a database that keeps a record of all that has been downloaded so you can easily retrieve an asset if you lose it on your system.

This tool integrates with Getty Images and grants access to a couple of other sites thereby making workflow a lot easier and stress-free for animators and designers.

PRISMA PALETTE

When painting or adding colors to any design, one tool that could improve the overall outlook of the result is a gamut map. The Prisma palette prides itself as the ‘most advanced gamut map generator’ available to both pro and beginner designers.

This tool features a realtime tab that updates sliders as progress is being made in the design with little to no interruptions whatsoever. On the screen is also a shortcut option that allows you to change the lights easily.

THE ANIMATOR’S TOOLBAR PRO

This extension is designed to enhance the workflow for 2D projects being done with a timeline. The tool provides designers with a feature that allows them to create animations without having to dissipate energy on too many aspects. On the toolbar is a set of features including the “toggle keyboard shortcut” and “onion skinning”.

By using these features, one eliminates the stress of manually adjusting and editing everything on the project as edits can be automated or created in batches. This is design made easy.

POWTOON EXTENSION FOR PHOTOSHOP

The Powtoon Extension is a free tool that helps animators create videos from flat designs. This makes a great choice for beginners especially as they do not need to master video creation before being able to make their designs come alive.

The tool allows users to send their projects from the Photoshop software to Powtoon and sit back while the software works on transforming the images. It also gives you the power to insert stock videos and audio effects or music in the video being created before exporting it in the desired format.

PERSPECTIVE TOOLS

The Perspective Tool is an extension that works with a select number of Photoshop versions. This tool has been created to help animators, artists and illustrators adjust and readjust the perspective of their designs in any project.

By using this, you can straighten out the look of a design, unwrap the perspective or even distort it if you’re looking to create something unique.

PERSPECTIVE MOCKUPS

This plugin is designed to be the razz guy that comes to help the community sort out their issues only that in this case, the issues have to do with perspectives. The developers call it a ‘badass Photoshop plugin’ because of how it simplifies the process for designers.

Projects can be created and adjusted using this plugin. Unlike some other perspective adjustment plugins, this one does the job neatly without leaving any traces behind.

SKEUOMORPHISM

Although this plugin flaunts a weird name, it does a very important job that most designers need to get done on any project.

This free tool lets Photoshop users lay out their designs flatly without having to do it manually. The tool reads through the entire design and looks for a way to flatten it without making it look as weird as its name. this is great for a backup plan when you get stuck designing.

FILTERFORGE

The Fliterforge group comprises different software all aimed at providing cool and desirable filters for any project. The filters have been specifically designed for designers at different stages in their journey: beginners, intermediates, and professionals. This makes the choice of what to purchase and use a lot easier.

Some features accessible on all four software types are; capacity to change filter settings, command-line renderer, the ability for the application to work individually, seamless tiling only to mention a few.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Everyone knows what Shutterstock is but maybe not everyone knows that there is a plugin for the site. This plugin allows designers to gain access to the Shutterstock site directly without leaving the Photoshop application.

This tool works with a variety of Adobe Creative Cloud apps besides Photoshop as the content downloaded can be used on many different projects. You can search for assets and preview them before downloading to know if it suits what you are trying to achieve on any design.

ANASTASIY COLOUR MIXER

The Anastasiy tool features a wide range of colour palettes for not only painting but mixing as well. The colour picker tool is suited to help designers get the most accurate result when painting. The swatch comprises an array of colours and shades that can be rearranged to ease workflow on any project being done.

Another swatch set featured on the software contains gradients so that way, you do not have to pick two exclusive colours and manually mix them. Most of the process is made to be automated once you input the right settings.

PUREREF

This plugin is created to work independently of any other software but is highly effective for designers working in Photoshop or any other Adobe application. The intention behind developing this tool is the stress associated with stocking mood boards and having to switch between apps to get some ideas while working.

With Pureref, all your reference content and mood boards are placed right in the Photoshop software so you can easily access them without toggling between tabs. The content could be downloaded on the spot or retrieved from your system while working so there is no need to desperately building a complete reference board before creating is cut out.

ON1 RESIZE

This recently developed tool is very effective in enlarging images on any project. The plugin can be downloaded after a free trial to help designers resize projects without losing quality. The tool replicates the features of the image as much as possible and then expands it to fill the dimensions required.

This version works faster than older versions and gives off more crispy results than many other resizing software tools. This makes it easier to print designs on large canvas without having to redesign them again.

BRUSHERATOR

The Brusherator tool is suited to serve a select number of Photoshop updates for an affordable fee. The tool appears as a panel on the canvas and it gives animators, illustrators and designers the privilege of combining their desired scripts to their brush and tool presets.

Rather than having different panels for everything, you can merge the important tools used on a project on the Brusherator panel. This not only makes workflow easier, but it also makes it faster and less energy-consuming as you do not have to think about where to find what while working to meet a deadline.

GUIDEGUIDE

Every designer needs a guide no matter their level of proficiency and GuideGuide is here for that. The extension allows users to place grids on designs without having to use the automated ones on the design software or construct standalone lines to serve as grids.

The grids can be placed in the middle of the canvas, at one end, both ends or whichever way you want and manipulated to suit the designer’s need. The lines guide the creation process to reduce mistakes and crooked designs.

PALETTATOR

The Palettator tool functions as a tab for keeping other items in place. The goal of using this software is to help creators cut down on time spent toggling and navigating as there is already so much work to be done on the main project.

The tool appears as a panel after being installed and everything needed for designing can be dropped on the panel and accessed at any time without granting additional permissions.

ANIMATOR

Animator is a highly sophisticated and yet, easy to use tool for animators, illustrators and designers on any level. It features an impressive combo of over 200 presets and 40,000 combinations for creating animations.

The pack comes with sufficient materials to help newbies get through the process quickly and without a lot of trial and error. The presets are far from regular and look great on any still or motion design.

AD BRUTUS SYMMETRY

This plugin from the Alex Dukal store is specifically developed for Photoshop Creative Cloud to give designers a tool that simplifies their workflow. This software seeks to serve the one thing that Adobe failed to include in the favourite design app: realtime symmetry.

The tool uses the Photoshop guide as a base and then establishes its realtime feature on the base. With this, you can create and manipulate your own guides to suit your design needs and easily save a copy of your result in PNG format.

ANASTASIY MAGICPICKER

The Anastasiy MagicPicker is a tool for selecting colour palettes for designs in Photoshop. The panel features a vast array of colour swatches that can be tuned to achieve accurate results. The swatches are visibly larger than those seen on many other software to help the designer see the colours more clearly.

When the tool is activated, it places a popup icon beneath the cursor that pops up whenever the cursor stops moving. The interface is clean and easy to navigate while designing and creating. Colours picked can also be tweaked to give warmer or cooler temperatures without having to tweak the entire design.

INK

The Ink plugin was created from the misunderstanding and lack of information problems that exist between mockup developers and clients. With Ink, the designer gets to lay out all the necessary data and tools they need to get work done on one panel.

The layers can be modified and so can the text but the beauty in it is how the tool keeps everything neat and tidy. The latest version is built with an airboard support to enhance performance.

COLOUR CONSTRUCTOR

Colour constructor is one of the many programs used in creating neat and impressive paintings but what makes this particular tool stand out is its smart ability to generate the right colours for you. Rather than leaving you to try out different colours and keep hitting undo when they don’t work, this plugin ‘takes a look’ at the design and gives you a recommended swatch that fits the design perfectly.

It features an interactive light and colour mixing that can be used in making projects appear largely realistic. This provides the right balance in all your designs.

PARTICLE SHOP

The Particle Shop is a plugin that provides users with a variety of brushes for creating particles on designs. The tool can be used to handle any job that requires freckles and small to large particles with its Dynamic Speckle brushes.

The pack contains 11 brushes all designed to help designers achieve the perfect particle flare in their projects with ease.

IMAGEMOTION

Imagemotion is a program equipped with tools for animating objects designed in Photoshop. The plugin is best used after a design is completed to help bring the image to life.

Effects created with this tool appear as real as they can be and no one would readily think that it was Photoshopped into the design. Using the brush tool, mark the areas you want to apply the effect on and watch Imagemotion create magic.

ADOBE EXCHANGE

The Adobe Exchange plugin was built by Adobe to help its users create projects more efficiently and with less stress. Users can acquire the plugin from the site and begin to build their own tools on the program. It serves as a marketplace for designers and partners using Adobe Creative programs.

The tool features a large collection of resources developed by Adobe to equip creators with the necessary tools for building their own assets.

ANASTASIY MAGICREFS

This software from Anastasiy is a tool that is designed for use as a mood board or inspiration panel. When the plugin is installed, it opens up a board for storing all the necessary reference assets used in creating a badass design.

It integrates seamlessly with Photoshop and can be navigated easily. Images as well as entire folders can be dropped on the panel and accessed when required. It also allows users to zoom in on content without having to apply them first.

Take your designs from boring to brilliant with these programs reeled out. They would not only make your designs look more realistic and professional, but they would also ease the work and design process for you which means more time and more money in the long run. This is definitely something you do not want to miss out on.

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30 BEST PHOTOSHOP PLUGINS FOR ARTISTS AND ANIMATORS
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30 BEST PHOTOSHOP PLUGINS FOR ARTISTS AND ANIMATORS
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MIXOOS: COLOR MIXER COOLORUS 2 CHAMELEON ADAPTIVE PALETTE BRUSH BOX RENAMY CC 2019 MAGICSQUIRE LAZY NEZUMI ADOBE PLUG-INS AND EXTENSION PRISMA PALETTE THE ANIMATOR’S TOOLBAR PRO POWTOON EXTENSION FOR PHOTOSHOP
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Improve Your Drawings
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Toni Justamante Jacobs

About the author: Hi, I’m Toni Justamante Jacobs. I´m a professional Concept Artist and Illustrator with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. Some of my clients are Gameloft, Fantasy Flight Games, Kunlun Games and Games Workshop. Currently, I´m working at Socialpoint as an in-house Senior Concept Artist.