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20 Incredible Photoshop Tools To Make Life Easier

20 Incredible Photoshop Tools To Make Life Easier

Photoshop is the standard for image editing. Photographers use it, hobbyists use it, and even we bloggers use it to re-size and create images for articles. Every image in every article I’ve ever written has been made in Photoshop. Designers design things like awesome backgrounds and logos. In short, Photoshop is awesome. Here are 20 Photoshop tools to make an awesome app even more awesome!

1. Blendme.in plugin

BlendMe Photoshop tools

    First up is a fun plugin called Blendme.in. With this plugin you’ll have access to thousands of logos, icons, and other assets. This is great for web designers and people who do work on logos. It’s also fun to have around if you like to add little things to your photos or just want to have a bunch of assets around just in case.

    2. CSS3Ps plugin

    This nifty plugin is amazing for web designers. What it does is convert your Photoshop layers to CSS3 so you can put them onto your website. It installs a single button that you press and make it all happen. It’s a great shortcut and it’s absolutely free.

    3. Cut&Slice Me

    Cut&Slice Me Photoshop tools

      This nifty plugin is a little difficult to work with sometimes but once you get used to it, it can be very powerful. This is predominately for people who design interfaces like you’d see on an iOS or an Android device. It allows you to cut and slide various assets automatically just by changing the name and clicking a button. It’s also totally free!

      4. GuideGuide

      GuideGuide photoshop tools

        This is another plugin that’s aimed at web designers but can still be useful for pretty much anyone. GuideGuide creates guides in Photoshop so you can design your website pages or app pages within specified margins. It’s simple to configure and use. It’s also great if you just need some grids.

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        5. Pixel Dropr

        Pixel Dropr is a unique little tool that lets you save various objects and elements separate from the whole project so that you can create a library of assets. This is great for pretty much anyone from web designers to regular designers and even UI designers. This one does cost money and it’ll set you back $19, $29, or $99 depending on how many features need.

        6. SpecKing

        SpecKing is a tool that will measure your various designs and create annotations so that you can see the measurements of your designs. This is useful for those who need to distance and design things to precise measurements and it’s also pretty nifty to see how far your various resources are from one another. It’s $19 but it can be fairly useful for you professionals out there.

        7. Perspective Mockups

        photoshop tools

          This slightly brash plugin takes your designs and turns them into a presentation that you can show clients. It doesn’t add to the functionality of Photoshop all that much but a well presented idea can get you the sale just as much as the design itself. It costs $19 but it can be totally worth it if your presentations need some spice. The website’s language is a tad strong but they get the point across really well.

          8. Subtle Patterns

          photoshop tools

            Subtle Patterns is a huge collection of patterns that you can use in your designs. The site has a total of nearly 400 patterns that you can buy for a total of $11.99. It may seem a little expensive for patterns but these are professionally made and they actually look pretty good. Anyone who designs regularly knows the need for some good patterns.

            9. Layer Style Jailbreak

            photoshop tools

              This is a very fun trick that requires no additional downloads. If you follow the link you’ll find a video of Luke Holder as he teaches you how to turn layer effects into their own layers. When they become their own layers it allows you to edit and customize them even more than you can when they’re only layers. This is useful for things like drop shadows which you can continue to change using tools like Free Transform.

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              10. Improve Photoshop speed

              photoshop tools

                The best experiences of Photoshop are ones where Photoshop works well and with these two tricks you can do just that. If you follow the links you’ll be sent to a site that’ll walk you through optimizing your cache and image preview settings to make your Photoshop run faster and better. Say goodbye to long wait times and laggy performance!

                11. Photoshoptimizer

                photoshop tools

                  This little website walks you through a few more Photoshop optimizing tricks that include optimizations of font previews and history states. Like we said a moment ago, the best Photoshop experience are ones where Photoshop is running quickly and without issues. With this website you can get that.

                  12. Sprite Generator

                  Sprite Generator photoshop tools

                    Web designers using Photoshop are faced with challenges. While designing website stuff may not be the most difficult work on the planet, it is extremely tedious. An app like AtlasCSS Sprite Generator can help with that. You can use the free script to create buttons and a little bit of website coding to make the buttons work. It’s quick, simple, and free.

                    13. Punchcut

                    Punchout photoshop tools

                      Punchcut is a powerful plugin that helps you design for a myriad of screen sizes and aspect ratios. It has support for popular aspect ratios like 4:3 and 16:9 along with popular resolutions like 1080p, 720p, 960p. Designing for multiple screen sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios can be a serious pain and tools like Punchcut can make it easier.

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                      14. Photoshop Secret Shortcuts

                      photoshop tools

                        We could easily finish out this list with little-known shortcuts within Photoshop itself but we’d rather tell you about more awesome plugins and let this website do the work for us. Using Photoshop Secret Shortcuts you can find 30 awesome shortcuts to help you increase productivity. A lot of it simple stuff that even the semi pros already know about but for those who are learning, this is a great list to read. Do keep in mind that this is written for Macs so Windows users will have to figure out the keyboard translations.

                        15. ColoRotate

                        photoshop tools

                          ColoRotate is a plugin that helps you deal better with color. It’s managed by a community which is nice. That means there are multiple people working on it. It also has a 3D presentation that lets you customize and create your own color palettes. It’s $9.99 which is less expensive than many of these other ones.

                          16. Layer Vault

                          photoshop tools

                            There is one sentence that sold this plugin for me. You have on-demand access to every edit you make on a project. As we all know, Photoshop can only take a step backwards so many times before it cuts you off and with something like Layer Vault, those limitations are gone. It saves your work and syncs it to places like Dropbox. You can try it before you buy it and that’s always a good thing.

                            17. HSL Picker

                            photoshop tools

                              HSL Picker is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is a Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity picker that also converts the color you create to hex so that you can put it in Photoshop and use it there. It’s incredibly simple to use and it’s free so that already makes it a great website to keep in the bookmarks. The URL also updates with whatever color you create so if you want to share, just copy and paste the URL and your friends will see the color you made.

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                              18. Social Kit

                              social kit

                                If you’re not designing stuff with social media in mind these days, you’re simply doing it wrong. Plugins like Social Kit can help! It includes a number of templates for the four biggest social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube) so you can create awesome buttons and social media graphics for websites. It’s simple but powerful and free to boot! You just need to create an account to download it.

                                19. Layrs

                                photoshop tools

                                  The last plugin on our list is called Layrs. This handy plugin takes a lot of the tedious jobs in Photoshop and allows you to automate them. It removes unused effects, lets you batch rename layers, delete empty layers, rasterize smart objects, and more. It’s free to use and it’s simple but if you’ve ever had to rename all the layers in a project and there are about 85 layers, then you know why a tool like this is useful.

                                  20. The top 15 features all photographers should know

                                  We hope you have a couple of hours on your hands. In the YouTube video embedded above, there is a two hour lecture on 15 of the best Photoshop tools for photographers. It goes over things like cloning, retouching, 3D effects, and a lot more. Again, it is two hours long so make sure you grab the laptop with Photoshop on it and a bag of popcorn.

                                   

                                  There are hundreds of Photoshop plugins but there are few that provide more real world functionality than these plugins and tools. Even though other image editors are gaining steam, we don’t see Photoshop losing its place at the top of the mountain anytime soon.

                                  Featured photo credit: Wallpaper Stock via img.wallpaperstock.net

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                                  Joseph Hindy

                                  A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                                  Published on November 19, 2020

                                  15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

                                  15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

                                  When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

                                  But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

                                  While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

                                  Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

                                  What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

                                  Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

                                  • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
                                  • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
                                  • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

                                  A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

                                    While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

                                    The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

                                    Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

                                    Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

                                      Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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                                      In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

                                      Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

                                      Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

                                        One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

                                        In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

                                        Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

                                        A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

                                        The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

                                        Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

                                        Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

                                        Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

                                        The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

                                        Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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                                        Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

                                          If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

                                          This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

                                          Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

                                          Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

                                          For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

                                          One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

                                          Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

                                          Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                                            For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                                            It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                                            Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                                            USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                                            If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                                            Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                                            A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                                            A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                                            Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                                            Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                                              If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                                              Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                                              A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                                              We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                                              Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                                              Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                                                Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                                                Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                                                Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                                                Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                                                  Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                                                  In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                                                  Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                                                  A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                                                  The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                                                  The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                                                  Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                                                  Bottom Line

                                                  There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                                                  Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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