Free Photoshop Filters and Plugins

Customize Photoshop with these free filters and plugins

Using the computer to design in Photoshop
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You can change the look and feel of your Adobe Photoshop images with these free Photoshop filters, and improve your working environment with free Photoshop plugins. They're a great way to easily and quickly customize your Photoshop experience.

The Photoshop filters are image effects or settings used to change the way a picture looks, and the plugins are extended features like rulers or guide lines, that aren't included with Photoshop by default.

You can also use free Photoshop actions, templates, shapes, brushes, and textures to change your Photoshop images.

How to Install and Use Photoshop Filters

Once you've downloaded a Photoshop filter, you'll want to copy the 8BF file into Photoshop's Filters folder to install it. This is usually C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop (version)\Plug-ins\Filters\.

Installed filters can be accessed from Photoshop's Filter menu.

However, some Photoshop filters are installed through an EXE file so that it installs like a regular program. In those instances, you don't need to copy any files into any program folder; just open the EXE file like you would any application.

How to Install and Use Photoshop Plugins

Photoshop plugins are ZXP files that must be installed using Adobe Extension Manager (unless it downloads as an EXE program file). Just choose Install to browse for the ZXP file.

Installed plugins can be accessed from Photoshop's Window > Extensions menu.

Note: Some of the websites below will explain that they are offering plugins when really they're installed under the Filter menu in Photoshop, and vice versa. 

Screenshot of Adobe's free extensions
Adobe's Free Photoshop Extensions.

What better place to get free Photoshop plugins than Adobe's own website? You can sort the resources by title or rating as well as by newest added or most popular.

Not only plugins and filters are on this page. You'll find extensions, actions, and other things as well.

Adobe's Photoshop plugins are installed a bit differently than the others in this list. You must have a free Adobe account and the Creative Cloud program installed to use the plugins.

To find just the free Photoshop plugins at Adobe's website, be sure to choose Photoshop from the filtering area on the left, and then on the right, sort the results by Price (Low to High).

Screenshot of the Mehdi Plugins website
Mehdi's Free Photoshop Filters.

Mehdi has dozens of free Photoshop filters. Each download page has a thorough explanation of the filter as well as screenshots. 

Kaleidoscope, Projection, Sorting Tiles, Blots, Weaver, and Contrast Balance are just some of the free filters you can download here.

Screenshot of the Auto FX Software website's free Photoshop filters
Auto FX Software's Free Photoshop Filters.

A bit different than the other websites in this list, Auto FX Software lets you download 10 free filters in one single file.

Just run through setup like you would with any program installation, and when finished, a Focal Zoom, Photo Border, Light Brush, Mood Lighting, Vitality, Lighten & Sharpen, Dreamy Photo, Abstract Edges, Sharpen Details, and Mosaic effect will get installed.

To use these filters, open the image in Photoshop that you want edited. Then access the appropriate item in the Filter menu, after which the image you're editing will automatically open in the Auto FX software.

Choose one of the above effects from the Select Effect button. When you're done using the software, just click OK to transfer the edited picture back into Photoshop.

This download is around 1 GB. Be sure to select either the 32-bit or 64-bit download - whichever one corresponds to the version of Windows you have installed. There's also a download for Macs.

Screenshot of Harry's Filters on The Plugin Site
The Plugin Site's Free Photoshop Filters.

Harry's Filters (formerly VideoRave) is a download at The Plugin Site that lets you get around 70 image effects for Photoshop in one download.

The Plugin Site has other downloads as well, such as Photoshop actions.

On the download page, scroll past the commercial downloads to find the free options. When you're ready to download something from this website, you'll need to fill out the download form, where you'll get the download link in your email.

Screenshot of the 3D Shadow Photoshop Filter
3D Shadow Photoshop Filter.

Lokas Software has only one free Photoshop filter, and it's called 3D Shadow. I include it in this list because while Photoshop has its own text shadowing feature, I find this one to be much more useful.

You can adjust the blur, axis and offset angle, perspective, and color, as well as select a preset shadow effect, such as Cast in Front, Flat Faint, and Rear shadow.

Screenshot of Photo-Plugins.com
Photo-Plugins.com.

If you're looking for more Photoshop plugins that you didn't find in any of the above sites, try Photo-Plugins. While there are only a handful of them here, they may provide just the thing you're missing.

B/W Conversion, Contrast Mask, Selective Saturation, Gradient Blur, and Soft Focus are some of the options.

It takes a few clicks to reach the final download page, but each plugin has a sample image and short description to show you what you can get with it.

Screenshot of free Photoshop plugins at RichardRosenman.com
RichardRosenman.com.

RichardRosenman.com has one page of free Photoshop plugins. Some of them include ones called Diffuse Glow, Box Fitting, Pinch, 3D Sphere, Pixelate, and Solid Border.

The plugins you'll find at RichardRosenman.com have a short description and sample picture to show you what the plugin does.

All downloads are direct links to ZIP files.