The 11 Photoshop plugins that made me a better designer in 2016


This article was first published on Toptal & has been re-published here with prior permission. 

By Michael Abehsera, Design Blog Editor @Toptal
 Sketch is the latest flavor in design, but Photoshop is still used by many of us, and with good reason. With the right plugins, Photoshop is an extremely versatile program that can make your design work stand out from the crowd.

This is a list of the best Photoshop plugins that I started using last year that greatly improved my workflow and made me a better designer. Some of these plugins will make you a more efficient designer, while others will help you create kick-ass 3D effects for awesome portfolios.

Let’s dive in.

Craft By Invision

Craft is a relatively new suite of plugins that lets you design with real data in mind. You can pull real data from websites, APIs, etc. and place that data into your designs, making your designs a lot more interesting and real. “Lorem ipsum” and stock images need to go – it’s time to make UIs more accurate.

Perspective Mockups

Perspective mockups won’t make you a better designer but will definitely make you a cooler one. Know how all these Dribbble designers create 3D screen laying? With this simple plugin, all that work is done for you to create this effect and many like it.

Slicy

This isn’t exactly a Photoshop plugin, but I wouldn’t be able to live without this app. All you have to do is drop Photoshop files into it, and it automatically creates PNGs for you to add to your CSS or to hand over to developers. Simply name layers “name.png,” save, and drop the file into Slicy.

Guide Guide

Supposedly one of the most installed Photoshop plugins ever, this plugin will save you lots of time by adding grid layouts to your designs. No more wasting precious design hours setting margins exactly the way you need them. Guide Guide does all of that work for you.

ColorKit

For all you color lovers out there, ColorKit is a must-have tool for tracking the colors that you use, collecting colors from different sources to use in your projects, and linking colors with a layer in just one click.

UberSpacer

I’ve been amazed at how often this tool comes in handy. This panel lets you set the same distance between different objects in your design. No more eyeballing the empty space between or trying to set rulers to mark spaces for you. UberSpacer makes laying out various layers simple.

Mockuuups

This drag-and-drop tool lets you create beautiful app previews and marketing materials. Insert your app design into an image of a manicured hand, holding an iPhone or tablet, to show exactly what your app would look like in use.

UberColumns

Divide your paragraph text into columns. This is usually an annoying hassle in Photoshop, but it’s easy with UberColumns. Just set the number of columns and the desired gap between them in pixels. The plugin does the rest.

SVG Layers

Improve your workflow with this tool by importing SVG files as editable vector layers. You can also use it to export clean SVGs directly from Photoshop, saving a lot of time and making Photoshop a more useful design medium.

Fontea

This free plugin adds 800 Google fonts to Photoshop. No more downloading the fonts you need one by one and importing them into Photoshop. This plugin gives you tons of beautiful, useful fonts in just a few clicks.

Font Hero

For all of the fonts you can’t find in Fontea, Font Hero helps you capture your library of fonts and import them into Photoshop. It also helps you categorize and organize your fonts into libraries so that you don’t have to scroll through every last font you have in order to find the one you were looking for.

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