There are thousands of free plugins on the web. Some extremely useful, some relatively useful and while some are utterly useless as they embody effects that can be made with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Though these plugins might offer quicker ways of executing common filter and photo manipulations effects. In this round up, I’ll be highlighting some free plugins that are useful for your design projects or for your pleasure. After long time searching on the web, sieving all through the mediocrity, I dare say these free plugins will be worth your time.
We start off with the Ulead Particle plugin that’s accessible from the Filter menu. This plugin contains a range of effects such as Rain, Bubbles, Snow, Fire, Smoke, and Clouds.
In the image below, I used the customizable Bubble Effect to engulf the image in bubbles. It also comes complete with the image’s reflection on the bubbles themselves. The Density controls the number of Bubbles, the Variance sets different sizes for each Bubbles and the Reflection sets the visibility of the image reflected on the Bubbles. Also, each Bubbles can be positioned or edited individually from the preview window with the mouse.
The Rain Effect offers a quicker way to add rain to your images to varying degrees. Be it a light shower or a heavy storm.
A light drizzle:
Increasing the Density and Background Blur gives you the look of a heavy shower.
Ulead Fantasy Warp Plugin
This plugin offers a number of templates for patterns effects. By filling a shape with the Custom Pattern or any picture you choose.
By going to Filter>Ulead Effects>Fantasy Warp, you can select the Pattern type for the corresponding effect type.
The result below. Though there’s a similar process you use can use in photoshop to achieve just about the same effect by going to Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates.
More Pattern effects:
The Patterns plugin does have a pretty interesting extra feature and that is, it can create animated GIF files just by dragging each pattern you create to the Storyboard pane. When done, hit Animation and save the file to the folder destination of your choice. My created GIF ended up as a 1.6 mb file from a 500 by 500 document.
*Note: in the Animation options, the more frames you add, the animation gets slower.
Luce is a plugin created by Antonino Perricone and it can be downloaded from his website amicoperry.altervista.org/luce.
This nice plugin is about the use the rays of light for a ‘devastating’ illumination effect. A unique feature is that the rays of light can be set to radiate from a focal point and can also radiate from behind objects.
From Filter>L’amico Perry>Luce, select the Light type as Point and Algorithm type as Zero, then place your cursor on the object you wish the light rays to emanate from.
This is the cool resulting effect:
Changing the Algorithm type to “Light from,” gives the result of the light rays over the objects in the picture. The Luce effect also works for text and single objects with plain backgrounds.
Redfeid Set of Plugins
Though this is not an entirely free plugin as it is a demo. I just couldn’t leave it out of this plugins’ roundup because the artistic value it brings.The Redfield website does sports very few totally free plugins.
The effect below is the Umatrix. You can see that a demo watermark was embedded in the image. Download at www.redfieldplugins.com/downloads
From the Layer Visibility sub-menu, there’s a large gallery of effects that can be selected. This one’s Grid.
My amateur attempt in landscape photography.
The Fractalius effect result (this one’s called Shaggy).
Still under Fractalius option is the Crayon Wide:
This plugin comes with a range of options for editing dots:its size,border colour, fill colour, direction of dots and so on. A similar Photoshop Filter that comes close in nearly emulating the effects is the Pixilate Filter. But it doesnt offer much customization.
You can select the target object in the picture to match the colours of the dots.
You get this result when you set the Outside Properties to “Input image.”
This isn’t a plugin as such, but a Photoshop Action that transforms the layers of your images into a 3D box.. I added it to this roudup because it was worth mentioning I believe.
You can download it from www.turningturnip.co.uk/photoshop/photoshop-actions. To get started, just unzip the file to “C://Program Files/(username)/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop/Presets/Photoshop Actions.” With the image(s) you would like to transform opened in photoshop, go to Window>Actions to reveal the Actions Palette.
Click the small arrow on top right side of the palette and select Load Actions. Also note that your document must have a default background. This Action is great if you want to create something like a box package for a product.
By David Ella Ella