Accelerate your workflow and elevate your craft in Photoshop with helpful plugins

Eliminate tedious tasks and create professional-looking designs in Photoshop with these four plugins. Find them in the Creative Cloud desktop app.

Award-winning designer Paul Trani created the above with help from PixelSquid, one of many plugins available in the Marketplace in the Creative Cloud Desktop app.

By Rosa Merced

Posted on 05-04-2021

Six months ago, the Marketplace in the Creative Cloud Desktop app became your home for managing plugins and integrations, making them easier to find, install, and use than ever before. Since then, we’ve been floored by the creativity you’ve unleashed using the 300-plus plugins available. From digital to fine art, the work you’ve created challenges the boundaries of genre and imagination.

Equally exciting has been the innovation displayed by our partners. Developers across industries have contributed new plugins and features, many bordering on the “science fiction-esque,” in order to empower designers of every kind and skill level.

This ethos of making great design accessible to all is at the core of the four plugins we are highlighting to mark the six-month milestone. Created by developers all around the world, they are sure to elevate your craft and simplify your workflow — whether you are a newcomer to plugins or an expert hunting for a new favorite. Give these tools a spin by opening the Creative Cloud Desktop app, visiting the Marketplace tab, and entering their names in the Plugins Search box on the left. Those without an Adobe account can learn about them by visiting the Adobe Exchange website.

ClipDrop: Melt the boundaries between the physical and digital

Use your phone to “click and drag” items from your surroundings into your Photoshop canvas with help from the AR-powered plugin ClipDrop.

Before he worked as a resident for Google, Cyril Diagne spent two years at an ad agency painstakingly extracting objects in Photoshop. Those days are long gone, not just for Cyril but artists everywhere — all thanks to ClipDrop. The app he created with three friends uses advanced AI to cut away unwanted pixels with startling precision to liberate even the most complex objects from their backgrounds.

Best of all, these images don’t have to be two-dimensional and neither do their surroundings. That’s because the app works just as well isolating and lifting images that live outside your screen as those stored within it.

Say you’re starting an online shop and need a quick and easy way to upload professional-looking cutouts of your inventory. All you would have to do is download the ClipDrop app on your phone and take a picture of the item you want to sell. The app will instantly generate a high-resolution extraction that you can then “drop” into an open Photoshop canvas by pointing your phone at your screen. The same goes for text and even people. The way Cyril sees it, this app is just one example of how “machine learning is democratizing design” for creators across the world.

PixelSquid: 3D design for all

Each image in this sugary explosion is a PixelSquid exclusive and can be rotated any direction — directly in Photoshop.

Music videos, movie posters, concept art, mind-bending composites — these are just a few examples of the types of projects artists have created using PixelSquid’s sprawling library of 3D objects. “Our mission was to make designing in 3D as easy as 2D,” developer Mark Kurt says of the plugin’s creation.

Since its launch, the plugin amassed more than 65,000 pre-rendered items, from wind turbines to white chocolate bonbons — all of which can be downloaded directly into Photoshop. Once there, you can spin the object in any direction, turn shadows on and off, and increase its resolution up to 2K. “There’s no context-switching between Photoshop and PixelSquid,” Kurt explains.

The searchable library is constantly growing, with “a bunch” more images scheduled to drop this year. Says Kurt, “Our goal is to have every object you could ever consume available in 3D.”

To see PixelSquid in action, check out these recent live streams from Adobe featuring composite artist, Shaun Ryken. Over part one and part two, Ryken recreates Spongebob’s underwater home using 3D elements from the plugin.

Picture Instruments Toolbox: Pro visuals without a photo studio

Polish your portraits in no time with Picture Instruments’ Skin Purifier tool, applied here to an image taken by the photographer Jochen Kohl.

Speed up your Photoshop workflow and elevate your craft with Picture Instruments Toolbox. This plugin collection within a plugin, gives users the ability to perform common tasks — from luminosity masking to print prep — with a single click of a button. “Tasks that used to take 20 or 30 minutes now take 2 or 3, even as robust algorithms ensure a professional-looking result,” says developer Robin Ochs.

This image, taken by photographer Jochen Kohl, takes on the appearance of having been shot on film with help from Picture Instruments’ black-and-white developer tool.

Take the black-and-white developer tool, for example. An artist who loves film photography but only knows how to work in digital could use this plugin to quickly and convincingly edit their photos to look like they shot them on film. The skin purifier tool, meanwhile, gives even beginner photo editors the ability to produce natural yet polished portraits in minutes. Says Ochs, “We brought the tools and techniques together for amateurs and professionals looking to save time and produce great work.”

Color Designer: Streamline your color building process

Here is just a small sample of Color Designer’s extensive library of palettes, all of which are fully customizable.

The idea behind Color Designer is as simple as it is revolutionary: power the color selection process using robust algorithms. The result is an easy-to-use plugin that allows you to generate tints, shades, color harmonies, and even stepped gradients with a click of a button.

Aimara Rodriguez is the Ecosystem Partnerships manager for Creative Cloud and someone who has come to rely heavily on the plugin to accelerate her own work. “I personally love the preset color palettes you can choose from and incorporate directly into designs,” she says.

Equally time saving is the ability to search for Adobe Stock images using a selected color, eliminating the need for context-switching between apps and time-intensive scrolling through image after image. Better still, the plugin allows you to narrow your search beyond color alone to the type of image you are looking for, including backgrounds, patterns, or landscapes, among others.

As always, Adobe is on a mission to make great design available to all. These plugins are just a few examples of the tools that are powering this revolution of self-expression. We hope you’ll try them out and explore other game-changing plugins available in the Marketplace in the Creative Cloud Desktop app.

Topics: Creativity, Insights & Inspiration, 3D & AR, Creative Cloud, Design

Products: Creative Cloud, Photoshop, Stock,