It is well know that most designers daily Photoshop duties include the creation of an aqua or chrome beveled text, retouching a face, color correcting a photograph or, at best, the design of a nice background pattern to mention just a few. So, I’m pretty sure that you have managed to build a nice collection of Photoshop plugins for digital photography or special effects.

But what if I ask you which plugin to use to create some 3d paper objects or perhaps a supernova explosion? Maybe I can go nuts and ask you a way to create a procedural texture filter without programming or a 3D foliage without using an external 3D program. And I’m positively sure that if I ask you to create a prototype of an interface with Photoshop you will laugh your pants off. Well, don’t laugh. You have to be prepared to the most strange request from your clients.

The following list is a selection (in no particular order) of the five most uncommon and unique Photoshop plugins available that you probably never heard of. So, lets start with the list and let those strange requests keep on comming!

Altia PhotoProto

PhotoProto is a new, and as far as I know, never done before Photoshop plugin. It’s an unique concept that eliminates the pain of creating user-driven interfaces prototypes. From Altia’s web site: “…PhotoProto is a new Photoshop add-on that automatically transforms your Photoshop graphics into a working, interactive, user-driven prototype. Simply arrange and name your Photoshop graphics layers for buttons, screens and other user interface objects. Click on the PhotoProto menu and out pops a working prototype that you can instantly try or send to colleagues, users and executives. No complex scripting languages to wrestle. No new authoring environments to learn…”

The following video will show you how to use this Adobe Photoshop Plugin to create a prototype.

>> Read more about Altia PhotoProto



Filter Forge

Filter Forge is also a newcomer and a truly winner. Imagine to be able to create your own filters without programming a single line of code. To good to be true. But it is.

Filter Forge is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop allowing computer artists to build their own filters – seamless textures, visual effects, distortions, patterns, backgrounds, and more. The key features of Filter Forge include a visual filter editor and a free online library of user-created filters to which anyone can contribute. You can read How to create a wet and muddy rocks texture with FilterForge to know how to use this incredible Adobe Photoshop Plugin. Check some sample filters submitted by beta testers:

Filter Forge is now in a rock solid and incredibly stable beta phase. You can apply as a beta tester, and if you submit enough good, popular and unique filters to their filter library, you may be able to gain access to a free copy of the product when it becomes commercially available.


>>> Read more about FilterForge



AVBros. PageCurl Pro

PageCurl Pro is an new version of an extremely popular Photoshop plugin that has been around for a long time. The name can be a bit misleading and make you think that this plugin can only make page curls, which is an easy effect to do with Photoshop. Wrong! This plugin can do wonders with your images. It can fold anything, any way you want in a 3D space. It has a clear, easy to use and very responsive interface and the results are much more than outstanding. Let the images speak for themselves:

>>> Read more about AVBros. PageCurl Pro



Knoll Light Factory

Another Plugin that has been around for many years and has managed to reamain the best in its area. Created by Photoshop co-creater and Star Wars effects guru John Knoll, Knoll Light Factory is one of the worlds most used graphics tools, used by 1,000’s to digitally simulate light effects called flares. Flares simulate reflections from a very bright light source as seen in a camera’s lens. You see them most often used in nature to simulate the sun, on text or logos to enhance their appearance or in special effects explosions. Take a look at these examples:


>>> Read more about Knoll Light Factory for Photoshop



Digital Element Verdant

Verdant is a revolutionary Photoshop plug-in that allows users to randomize, rotate, scale, and place plants and trees in Photoshop. From Digital Element’s web site: “…The Verdant Plant Mechanic lets you build procedural 3D plants. This means that when you build one flower, Verdant can generate an entire bouquet! The Verdant Plant Mechanic employs simple primitives and gives you the freedom to make whatever plant you want…”

The following images will give you a more precise idea of how powerful is this plugin.

>>> Read more about Verdant


Do you agree with this list?

I’m sure that after making such an statement as I did here about the uniqueness (in my point of view) of these plugins, readers, developers and vendors would like to point a plugin that is unique in their point of view. Please, feel free to do so by leaving a message in the comments form below this article. I’m always willing to publish information that is valuable for my readers.