In the previous Photoshop lessons, you had to
click your mouse (or tap your stylus) a few times
to create a desired effect. In this lesson, you will
see that with a single click or tap, you’ll be able to
create an artistic effect—if you have the appropri-
ate Photoshop plug-in.
A Photoshop plug-in (available via download or
CD) expands the creative potential of Photoshop
by combining a series of effects and/or enhance-
ments into a single effect. Therefore, the plug-in
does all the work for you!
This screen grab of Photoshop’s Action Palette
shows the various effects that, when combined,
created Photoshop’s Aged Photo Action. Even if
you (or I) knew how to create the Aged Photo
effect, it would take awhile to create it—step by
Photoshop’s built-in Actions (WindowActions)
work like plug-ins, again doing all the work for
you by combining several effects and/or enhance-
To illustrate the effects of a plug-in and Photo-
shop’s Actions, I’ll use the picture below (a picture
you saw earlier in this book of a young woman on
a motorcycle), as my example.
Tech talk: some plug-ins are automatically placed
in Photoshop’s Plug-in folder, whereas others you
need to drag and drop into the Photoshop Plug-
in folder. Also, most plug-ins you can access at
the bottom of Photoshop’s Filter menu (including
Color Efex Pro). Others show up in the Automate
(FileAutomate) menu (as is the case with Pho-
Here you see how I transformed my photograph
into a more creative image with the Aged Photo
Action, which, by the way, is one of dozens of
OK, let’s take a look at two of my favorite plug-
ins: PhotoTools from onOne Software (http://
www.ononesoftware.com) and Color Efex Pro 3
from Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com).
Check out those web sites for demos and trial ver-
sions. You’re in for some real photo fun!
Here’s a look at the PhotoTools window after
launch. Selecting an effect is fast and easy. What’s
more, you have creative options, including Fade,
for customized effects.
From the dozens of onOne effects
and endless custom options, here
are just three of my favorites.