Presets and plug-in make our job very easy in Photoshop and at times they also give us better results than expected. The reason is because whatever expertise a person may be in Photoshop at times he forgets to use the presets available and finish the job easily and keeps struggling with the job. But these presets must be used only when needed and must not get addicted to them. I say this because once I teach my students about these presets they are fascinated by these presets and start using them and stop practicing the tools which is much more important in mastering Photoshop.

1. Brushes:-
A preset brush is a saved brush tip with defined characteristics, such as size, shape, and hardness. You can save preset brushes with the characteristics you use often. You can click and drag the brush tool to create some abstract designs or else just click once to create a design in your document. You can also define the tip shape of the following tool also:-

  • Pencil tool
  • History Brush tool
  • Art History Brush tool
  • Clone Stamp tool
  • Pattern Stamp tool
  • Eraser tool
  • Blur tool
  • Sharpen tool
  • Smudge tool
  • Dodge tool
  • Sponge tool
  • Burn tool

Extension: .abr

2. Swatches:-

The Swatches palette stores colors that you use often. You can add or delete colors from the palette or display different libraries of colors for different projects. This is the way to create your own set of swatches.

Extension: .aco

3. Gradients:-
The Gradient tool creates a gradual blend between multiple colors. So using this gradient tool you would be making different kind of gradients for your work. If you have a particular gradient that you often use then you need not keep on choosing the colors often, instead you can save them as a preset and call them whenever required.

Extension: .grd

4. Styles:-
Photoshop provides a variety of effects—such as shadows, glows, and bevels—that change the appearance of a layer’s contents. A combination of these effects applied to a particular layer is known as layer styles. Even these styles can be saved as preset and called upon whenever required.

Extension: .asl

5. Patterns:-
A pattern is an image that is repeated, or tiled, when you use it to fill a layer or selection. Preset patterns are displayed in pop up palettes in the options bar for the following tools:-

• Paint Bucket
• Pattern Stamp
• Healing Brush
• Patch tools
• Layer Style dialog box.

Extension: .pat

6. Contours:-
Contours are curves that are used to control the highlights and shadows of Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, Outer Glow, Bevel and Emboss, and Satin effects over a given range.

Extension: .shc

7. Custom Shapes:-
Custom Shapes are predefined shape or path which you can just choose click and drag on the canvas to create.

Extension: .csh

8. Tools:-
As tools do not require any description we shall directly move into the subject.

Extension: .tpl

9. Actions:-
Actions are a set of instructions that execute automatically to produce a particular result. These actions are generally used when some batch work takes place. They are created with the use of Photoshop scripts, but still then even if you do not know Photoshop script you can create actions.

Extension: .atn

10. Workspaces:-
You might have to work in a particular size and resolution of document often which is not available as default in Photoshop. Then you can create your own default workspaces. To create custom workspaces go to File -> New. The “new” dialog box opens up. Give the specification and now click “Save Preset” and gives it a name. Then that workspace appears along with your default workspaces.

11. Backgrounds/Textures:-
Backgrounds and textures are readily available jpegs which are very helpful in reducing our work of creating them. They sometimes produce really very good outputs particularly in web designing. Loading them is not a problem and so lets move on to the next one.

12. Filters:-
Filters are the one and only plug-in available for Photoshop. They generally stand with the extension “.8bf”. To install a filter all that you have to do is copy the filter to the following location

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop \Plug-Ins\Filters

From now onwards they start appearing in your filters menu.

You can also create your own presets and plug-in. It is the same procedure for all presets and plug-in. Here it is.

Go to Edit->Preset Manager and the following dialog box opens up through which you can access all the presets available in that dialog box.

Loading, Saving, Renaming and deleting a preset.

By clicking on the buttons available in the dialog box you can load, save, rename and delete a preset.

To create a new preset or for other options click on the small arrow mark available on the top right side of the dialog box and select the options that you want.

So, with this the article comes to an end and I welcome all types of comments, responses and updates on this article.
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