I wanted to create a photoshop filters guide for both photographers and manipulators and here it is!
I will make this into two parts, the first one for freeware, the second one for shareware.
These are all plugins that I am currently using or have used or at the very least tried out during a trial period. Before purchasing anything I will strongly recomend to download a trial of it first.
Without a doubt the best free photoshop plugin you can get your hands on. I still have a hard time believing it's free, I would actually pay for this one.
The amazing thing about this plugin is that you take your picture into it looking a certain way and it often comes out looking like a completely different picture, more dept, more personality, an overall more dramatic and professional feeling. If you are only going to download one free plugin, this is the one.
Tons of free and really good plugins for you to have fun with. Most of them won't cost you a thing and some of them are extremely impressive! I believe I tried all of them and my favs must be Clarity, Illustrator, porcelain and Nostalgia. When you go to download them you download them ten at a time in groups so you will be able to experiment and find your own favs:)
Autofx´s Dreamy photo:
This is a lovely little filter completely free of charge that I have used many many times. Some photos just look amazing with this dreamy romantic look, especially wedding and family pictures. Experiment with settings and pictures and get a look that's right for you.
Red paw media plugins:
http://www.redpawmedia.com/ (bottom of the page)
Here's four completely free and very useful plugins that I like very much.
The first one "technicolor-2" gives your pictures an old school film image. The effects can look very cool with the right kind of picture. The second one is called "beautifier" and can be used for so much more than portraits. It can take an average photo and make it into something a lot nicer.
Third one removes hot pixels from your photos, and the last one that's my favorite gives your art a bleach bypass effect. Can often lift an entire picture.
I also want to mention this site that offers many great free plugins. I got the pleasure to test some of them out and was pleasantly surprised. Make your black and white pictures pop or swap the colors to your hearts content creating a surreal retro image. I would also advice you to check out their "masterblaster" and remember that sometimes it looks better when used in a subtle way.
Autofx's mystical tint tone and color:
I'm a big fan of each and every one of their plugins, I think they have some of the best in the industry and you can tell with the price. That's one of the few cons about it. Each filter comes filled with different effects so in my opinion it's very much worth the money. With a little experimenting you can create amazing and unsual as well as highly personal effects. Of everything they have to offer I would recomend their "mystical tint tone and color" the most. The effects in it cover so many basis, you will be able to do everyhting from hand tinting your pictures to turning them into dreamy antique little masterpieces. There's something for everyone in here. Some of my favs are the "soft posterize" "tonal sharpen" and "mulitply darks". All very handy for your everyday kind of pictures. If you're looking for frame effects you need to check out their "graphic edges". The best frames and border effects any plugin can offer. Extremely fun to play with and the results look amazing. Their "mystical lightning" will also steal hours and hours of your time away. You can easily create surreal and fairy tale like lightning and effects, and if used in a subtle way it can take your everyday kind of picture to a whole new level.
Oh I can not say enough good things about this product. To sum it up, everything you will ever need you will probably find in here. The price is completely worth it and you will love all the options it will give you. You will find a film lab, gels, lens, light, photograhic effects, everything your heart desires. Each and every effect gives you tons of options to optimize it for your use. It's easy to use, leaves you saying wow and needing more and you will always return to it. It does every kind of enchancement you can ask for, subtle and powerful. Its effects range from realistic to highly surreal. You can create your own light, color, tones, tints, grads, balance, everything you can think of. It even comes with a ton of special effects such as night vision and pencil sketch converter. You can add your own fog, change day for night, expeirment with both color and black and white infrared. The gels and lens effects offer limitless alternatives, you will find yourself trying out and actually liking color mixes and effects you would never even try before.
These are just a very tiny fraction of all the plugins out there but these are my favs and the ones I can truly recomend. Then of course what one person likes the other person hates so you will have to try different ones and find something that suits you and your art:)