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Photoshop CS4: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider

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Chapter 19. Beyond Photoshop: Plug-Ins

With enough patience, practice, and keyboard shortcuts burned into your brain, you can get smokin’ fast in Photoshop. But you’ll never be as fast as a computer. As you’ve learned, some things—like creating complex selections, correcting colors, extensive skin retouching, and so on—are darned difficult, so they’re going to take you a long time no matter how fast you get.

That’s where plug-ins come in handy. Think of them as helper programs that run inside Photoshop (though a few run outside Photoshop, too) and let you do the hard stuff faster. You can get plug-ins from all kinds of Web sites, and they range from free to pricey. The really good ones give you amazing results in seconds, rather than the hours it would take to do the same thing yourself (if you can do it at all). Plus, the newer ones do their thing on a separate layer and can run as Smart Filters (The Joy of Smart Filters), so you don’t even have to duplicate your original layer first. Nice.

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to add and remove these little jewels, as well as how to store them somewhere other than your Photoshop CS4 folder (it’s safer that way). You’ll also be introduced to some of the most amazing plug-ins on the market today that will run on your Mac or PC.

Adding and Removing Plug-Ins

To install a plug-in on a Mac, download it or copy it from the installer disc it shipped with and then drag it from wherever it’s saved on your computer into the Plug-ins folder (see ...

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