There are a number of times where you need a specific special effect for a job, and you are on a deadline and on a tight budget (as usual). If you are lucky, a free Photoshop plugin that can create that special effect you need may be available, but chances are that it is not compatible with your Photoshop version or operating system.
Outsourcing the job or buying a commercial plugin could be the solution, but when you are out of time or money, those are not options.
Here’s a list of awesome commercial plugins, some of the best available, that offer fully functional demos usually for 30 days or so. Keep this list handy, you won’t regret it.
On the surface, Filter Forge is just a Photoshop plugin, a pack of filters that generate textures, create visual effects, enhance photos, process images. However, there are 3 things that make Filter Forge unique…
Deliver breathtakingly stunning and dynamic images with the uniquely powerful Topaz Adjust creative exposure Photoshop plug-in. “Creative exposure” takes on a whole new meaning with the new Topaz Adjust image manipulation plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. Deliver breathtakingly stunning and dynamic images with the uniquely powerful tool that is blitzing the photographic community.
Turn any regular photo into a masterpiece of art with the sophisticated Topaz Simplify plug-in tool for Photoshop. Blur the distinction between photographic realism and art to give your viewers something truly unique to look at: Topaz Simplified photo pieces are the beautiful result of the marriage between the vision of a digital photographer and the handiwork of a master painter.
Take control of the extensive smoothing capabilities of the new Topaz Clean 2 Photoshop plug-in to add gripping one-of-a-kind enhancements to any photo. Experience a wide range of effects from highly effective edge sharpening to graceful artistic effects that leave viewers breathless.
Topaz DeNoise is a new and highly effective way to remove digital image noise. It utilizes very recent developments in noise reduction technology that focuses on removing the most noise while preserving the most image detail. The extraordinary noise reduction and detail retention capabilities of Topaz DeNoise help photographers realize their artistic vision without worrying about technical details like image noise.
Topaz DeJPEG is the best way to enhance JPEG picture quality by eliminating JPEG artifacts, fuzziness, and image blur. The intuitive but powerful tools in Topaz DeJPEG ensures that each JPEG image looks as good as it can possibly be.
Topaz Vivacity is a set of Photoshop plugins capable of performing tasks such as repairing highly noised images, removing jpeg compression artifacts, enhancing image resolution and more…
Flaming Pear Super Blade Pro
Move to the next generation of BladePro, the plugin filter that combines textures with bevels and mirror like reflections. Quickly create tarnish, iridescence, and glassiness for appealingly ‘touchable’ 3-D looks. SuperBladePro’s features include water stains, moss, abrasion, spotlighting, dust, grit, embossing, fractal blotches, and smooth Gaussian bevels.
Flaming Pear Flood
Inundate the landscape and submerge your friends. Create realistic pseudo-3D watery reflections with control over waves, ripples, and perspective.
Flaming Pear Melancholytron
Make pictures moody, nostalgic, and somehow sad. Subdue hue and focus to direct the viewer’s gaze.Full-color, mid-color, and sepia-like effects.
Flaming Pear Glitterato
Stars and nebulas with lots of realism and little fuss. Create harsh or gentle nebulas, zillions of stars and use the randomizing controls to create new images with no effort.
Flaming Pear LunarCell
Instant planets. Fractal, reality-based, or just strange worlds are yours in seconds. Live downloadable clouds from weather satellites. LunarCell can export all texture maps at once to multi-layer files, makes hypsometric maps, and works in 16-bit color in Photoshop.
Flaming Pear Designer Sextet
Six transcendent plugin filters to warp, recolor, abuse and dreamify your images. Includes Aetherize, Twist, Swerve, Lacquer, Silver, and Glare.
Flaming Pear Flexify, PolyMerge, MrEmboss, Hue and Cry, SolarCell and India Ink Plugins.
Bend spherical panoramas into vertiginous new shapes with Flexify. Combine image gangs into bizarre composites with Polymerge. Add dramatic contrast to photos and hyper-emphasize detail with MrContrast. Create abstract regions of color: vivid or pallid, structured or diffuse, endless weird imagery is yours to use with Hue and Cry. Create suns in a fantasy style. Design your own sun with controls for every part of its appearance with SolarCell. Convert color images to unusual black-and-white halftones. Use its color modes to produce strange etched effects with IndiaInk.
Alien Skin Bokeh
Finally, you can manipulate focus just like fast expensive lenses with Bokeh, Alien Skin’s lens simulator Photoshop plug-in. Bokeh can draw attention to your subject by manipulating focus and depth of field after the shot has been taken. From changing the depth of field to placing a radial sweet spot and adding a vignette, Bokeh provides many techniques for realistic blurring and altering the mood of a scene.
Alien Skin Exposure
Exposure 2 is the new, even more feature-packed version of our award-winning Photoshop plug-in that gives digital photographs the look and feel of film. Whether you’re a fashion or wedding photographer, a designer or art director, with Exposure 2 you’ll have one-click access to the broadest range of film stocks and special effects settings available in any software package. That’s why Exposure 2 is the closest thing to film since film.
Alien Skin Snap Art
Snap Art 2 is a Photoshop plug-in that turns your photography into beautiful works of art with a single click. Detailed simulation of individual brush strokes and canvas texture gives results that are indistinguishable from handmade art. The finished piece begs to be hung in a gallery, especially when printed on canvas.
Alien Skin Image Doctor
Everyone loves the perfect photo. That’s also why everyone loves Image Doctor 2, the powerful Photoshop® plug-in from Alien Skin Software. Image Doctor’s unique software algorithms can save what would be the perfect photo from the trash bin while saving you hour upon hour of Photoshop work trying to fix it.
Alien Skin Eye Candy Nature
Eye Candy 5: Nature, is a collection of ten Photoshop filters, which create fire, smoke, rust, snow, ice and more. Nature offers beautifully rendered effects that any novice or professional designer will appreciate.
Nature includes four new filters and reincarnates six Eye Candy classics. The classic filters boast brand-new looks, greater realism, and improved ease-of-use. For example, select filters can create a new layer and render effects to it; this allows you to view, edit, or turn off these effects without modifying the original layer.
Alien Skin Eye Candy Impact
Eye Candy 5: Impact, is a collection of ten Photoshop filters which create chrome, brushed metal, glass, bevels, shadows, reflections and more. Impact offers beautifully rendered effects that any novice or professional designer will appreciate. Impact includes three all-new filters. Backlight projects dramatic light beam and spotlight effects. Brushed Metal simulates textured metal surfaces such as brushed aluminum and polished brass. Extrude gives 2D objects a classic 3-D look, adding thickness and perspective.
Alien Skin Eye Candy Textures
Eye Candy 5: Textures is a collection of ten seamless texture generators. Textures produces a wide variety of texture effects, including snake and lizard skin, fur, brick, stone and wood. Graphic designers, Web developers and 3D artists can quickly create backgrounds, skins, seamless tiles and more. Relying on the contents of a stock texture library limits creativity. Textures creates a limitless variety of photo-realistic surfaces for $99, the cost of a stock CD. And, because every filter has a seamless tile option, tiling is quick and easy.
Alien Skin Eye Candy Nature
Xenofex 2 delivers 14 more phenomenal effects for Web designers, graphic artists, digital photographers, and special effects enthusiasts. With Xenofex 2, simulate spectacular natural phenomena such as lightning and clouds. Create striking images and text using sophisticated distortions such as Flag, Television, and the brand new Rip Open. Transform your photos into jigsaw puzzles, constellations, and intricate mosaics with a single click. Plus, presets put hundreds of quick and easy effects at your fingertips.
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