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15 Useful Photoshop Plugins You Should Not Miss

15 Useful Photoshop Plugins You Should Not Miss

Anybody who is into image editing probably knows their way around Photoshop. Indeed, it is one of the most ubiquitous names in the design industry, especially for those who are graphic artists or otherwise in the business of creating fantastic pieces of art for one reason or another.

I myself have not been a heavy user of Photoshop since CS2. Still, I have kept up with it as it has evolved over the years, and thus am familiar with most of its capabilities. The current version is incredibly powerful, capable of doing more than I could ever imagine when I used it for graphic design purposes in 2006.

That said, there will still be times when the vanilla version of Photoshop won’t do exactly what you need it to do. This is where plugins come in. Plugins are, for those unacquainted, essentially small bits of additional software that add to Photoshop’s functionality.

Here are fifteen that should be particularly useful in almost any project.

1. CSS Hat ($34.99)

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    CSS Hat is, to put it succinctly, the web designer’s dream. What it allows you to do is take one of your layers, and transform it into CSS3 code. This basically means you can copy your designs from Photoshop and paste them into your website.

    2. Flaticon (free)

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      If you need to insert some sort of vector-based icon into your designs, Flaticon is for you. It is essentially a database of free-to-use icons, which you can access in Photoshop by downloading the plugin.

      3. Pixel Dropr ($19)

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        Pixel Dropr is great if you are working on a project that requires the use of many of the same assets. So, for instance, if you are working on five separate projects in Photoshop, you can use Pixel Dropr to transfer up to 100 “icons, buttons, UI kits, or photos” from one project to another. As you might imagine, this saves a lot of time in the long run.

        4. Silver EFEX Pro 2 (free trial)

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          Silver EFEX Pro 2 is great if you want a simple, non-time consuming way to create beautiful black and white images. It’s like an advanced version of a filter you might find on Instagram. As such, it comes packed with a number of advanced controls that experts can use to get the best black and white images possible.

          5. Fractlius ($39.90)

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            Fractalius is a plugin that allows you to easily create interesting works of art out of normal everyday images. What it does is extract the “hidden fractal texture” within a picture, allowing you to reveal certain eccentricities that weren’t visible before.

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            6. Exposure 7 (free trial)

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              Exposure 7 is a straightforward plugin with a single purpose: to make digital images appear as though they were originally captured in an analog manner. As such, you have several options to add film-esque effects, such as scratches, grain, and other finishes.

              7. Machine Wash Deluxe ($99)

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                Machine Wash Deluxe accomplishes a simple task: it takes your clean designs and applies a kind of weathering effect, giving it a more aged and worn-in look. It works best when used with basic typography, but can also be applied to more complicated works of art as well.

                8. Blow Up 3 (free trial)

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                  Ever find an image you want to use but discover that it’s too low of a resolution, causing weird graphical artifacts to show up when you try to enlarge it? Blow Up 3 tries to solve that problem by making it so that images maintain their graphical integrity as you enlarge them.

                  9. Noiseware ($79.95)

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                    Noiseware is a powerful tool used to clean images that are contaminated by an unusual amount of “noise,” which are basically elements within an image that reduce its clarity. This plugin lets you remove these, giving you a sharper final product.

                    10. Portraiture ($199.95)

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                      Portraiture is a plugin that’s targeted towards smoothing skin. What makes it special is that it is able to remove blemishes like acne scars without tampering with details like skin texture and hair. The end result is that you get a much more realistic image than if you tried to manually remove acne with something like the clone-stamp tool.

                      11. Cut & Slice Me (free)

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                        Despite its lighthearted name, Cut & Slice Me is quite useful for those of you who need a free and easy way to transfer your Photoshop designs to your website. As its name suggests, you can direct the plugin to cut out layers of your design, and export those assets to wherever you need them online.

                        12. GuideGuide (free)

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                          GuideGuide is a free plugin that allows you to create an Excel-like grid in Photoshop, making it easy to design web layouts. What it really does is ensure that your creations are mathematically proportional.

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                          13. CSS3PS (free)

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                            CSS3PS uses cloud computing to take your layers and turn them into segments of CSS3 code. This means you can easily transfer certain works, as well as any effects you may have applied to them (like drop-shadows), to your website. This tool is far easier to use than the export tool included in Photoshop, and, best of all, it is free.

                            14. Wire Worm (free)

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                              Wire Worm accomplishes the the incredibly useful task of removing distracting telephone cables from your pictures. Thus, it makes it much easier to appreciate whatever it is you captured on film without having to deal with a jungle of wires obscuring your vision.

                              15. SuperPNG (free)

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                                SuperPNG makes up for one of Photoshop’s deficiencies, which is that it has a hard time processing PNGs in a timely fashion. This plugin allows you to manage your PNG images in a more hands-on manner, allowing you to edit them so that they are rendered by Photoshop much more rapidly.

                                Are you a heavy Photoshop user? Did these plugins help you accomplish tasks in a more effective manner? Let me know in the comments!

                                Featured photo credit: Using Photoshop To Remove Acne/ Bark via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on June 17, 2019

                                40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

                                40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

                                Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

                                There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

                                Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

                                It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

                                For Getting Things Done

                                1. OmniFocus

                                This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

                                Download it here.

                                  2. Forest

                                  Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                                  Download it here.

                                    3. Things

                                    Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                                    Download it here.

                                      4. 30/30

                                      Recently covered here at Lifehack

                                      , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                                      Download it here.

                                        5. Any.Do

                                        A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                                        Download it here.

                                          6. PocketLife Calendar

                                          This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                                          Download it here.

                                            7. Asana

                                            We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                                            , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                                            Download it here.

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                                              8. ToDoist

                                              This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                                              Download it here.

                                                9. FlowTasks

                                                From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  10. Calendars 5

                                                  This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                                    A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      12. Due

                                                      A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        13. Checkmark 2

                                                        I use this app

                                                        for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          14. TeuxDeux

                                                          Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            15. Wunderlist 

                                                            Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                                            Download it here.

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                                                              16. Nirvana

                                                              For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                17. Priorities

                                                                An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  For Building Habits

                                                                  18. Productive

                                                                  With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                                    You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      20. Streaks

                                                                      This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        21. Remember The Milk

                                                                        Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          22. Day One Journal

                                                                          When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            For Files Organization

                                                                            23. Evernote

                                                                            Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              24. Pocket

                                                                              You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                                              Download it here.

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                                                                                25. Sync.Me

                                                                                This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  26. Droplr

                                                                                  One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    27. Dropbox

                                                                                    Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      28. iDolly 

                                                                                      In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                                      Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        29. Soulver

                                                                                        It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          For Working Smarter

                                                                                          30. Captio

                                                                                          A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            31. Drafts

                                                                                            A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                              32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                                              This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                                              Download it here.

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                                                                                                33. Doodle

                                                                                                This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                                  34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                                  I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                                    35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                                    A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                                      36. GoodReader

                                                                                                      This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                                        37. LogMeIn

                                                                                                        Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                                          For Improving Security

                                                                                                          38. 1Password

                                                                                                          There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                                            39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                                            You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                                            All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                                              40. Truecallers

                                                                                                              Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                                                There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                                                More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                                                Reference

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