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When Adobe announced it was moving into the stock image market, the biggest benefit it brought to the table was tight integration with its Creative Cloud suite of applications—the ability to search for and license stock photography within the apps.

Now, Shutterstock, one of the largest and most popular stock providers has gone toe to toe with Adobe, by releasing a plugin for Photoshop that replicates that workflow.

The new Photoshop plugin from Shutterstock allows you to search for, trial, and license Shutterstock’s stock images, right from inside Photoshop.

Trial images

Like Adobe’s existing solution, Shutterstock’s new plugin allows you to drag stock images onto your canvas before you license them. The watermarked image can be manipulated just like any other bitmap. Once you’re happy, you can license the image via the plugin, and all changes you make will be applied.

The most notable benefit of this improved workflow is that you can try out artwork for free, and discard it if it isn’t working; you only pay for the imagery once you decide to license it.

This of course means that you can produce mockups for clients, and solicit their approval before purchasing the images.

We are bringing productivity, efficiency and inspiration to designers everywhere, through tighter integration of Shutterstock with their workflow — Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock

Easy search

Shutterstock has almost 100 million image assets, with 140,000 content providers submitting 100,000 images daily. Making it substantially larger than Adobe Stock. Much of that 100 million images are too low in quality to be of use professionally, but that is the case with almost all stock providers.

With this plugin we are providing creative professionals the convenience to search for and test more images than ever, directly from the editing tool they are using — Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock

If you use Shutterstock already, and have lightboxes set up, you’ll find them available in the plugin, so it’s possible to select images collectively online, and then access them from the plugin. It isn’t as streamlined as Adobe’s Shared Libraries however.

Seamless workflow

All of the best designer tools do one thing: minimise labor-intensive tasks to free up more time for creative investigation. There’s no question that the workflow pioneered by Adobe, and now adopted by Shutterstock, is vastly improved on the traditional browse-buy-download-open process used elsewhere.

Shutterstock’s new plugin replicates all of the major features of Adobe’s stock workflow. The only real difference is the licensing model. What will be really beneficial is if Shutterstock develop an equivalent plugin for other applications, Affinity Photo for example, and roll this workflow out industry wide.

The Shutterstock plugin works for Photoshop CC 2014 and CC 2015, on Mac and Windows. It’s currently only available in English.

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