Six plugins to help you make the most of Photoshop

Despite all the hundreds of new website design products and software debuted each year, statistics show that Adobe Photoshop is still the go-to choice among website builders. And why shouldn’t it be. Twenty-four years after its initial rollout it still provides a versatile, powerful platform to produce beautiful work across the spectrum of Internet design.

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But even Photoshop has limitations, and often it’s necessary to add functions that simply don’t exist within the program natively. Hence the number of plugins that integrate easily into the Photoshop platform to boost capabilities, increase efficiency and workflow and give designers infinitely more creative freedom.

Check out these six premium plugins—all nicely priced well under $100—that can help you make the most of your Photoshop design projects.

1. SpecKing provides tools to generate design specs and annotations, letting a designer measure any sizes, margins and font properties instantly in a PSD file. Once installed, you can measure the width, height and spacing of any element or layer with one click. You can also get all font specifications and properties, also with one click.

2. Photoshop plugin Subtle Patterns gives access to an immense library of beautiful patterns. And it feeds directly into your Photoshop panel, meaning it’s always in sync with the latest releases from the website.

3. Whether your pixel collection is made up of icons, buttons, UI kits or photos, Pixel Dropr allows you to create, use and share your own 100-piece gallery of graphics and drop them instantly into any Photoshop document. The plugin also acts as a resource container for any UI elements you need, and as you work on a project you can drag buttons, icons or form elements onto your layer for more efficient workflow.

4. CSS Hat turns your Photoshop layer styles to CSS3 instantly, which you can then paste into your editor of choice, saving loads of development time. And with customizable output, you can toggle comments on and off, alter the width and height of an object, convert HEX to RGBA, use optional vendor prefixes and more.

5. For help in designing for the iPhone or iPad, DevRocket provides Apple iOS-specific tools and functionalities that can generate portrait, landscape and splash display canvases, including the native iOS status and navigation bars. There’s also an option to design for both Retina and non-Retina devices at the same time and save those designs with just one click.

6. Coolorus provides an advanced color wheel (similar to Corel Painter) for the Adobe suite of products, including Photoshop, Flash and After Effects. It improves color workflow, reducing mouse clicks and increasing the designer’s knowledge of color relationships.

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