iStockphoto Releases Photoshop Plugin

Yesterday, in the iStockphoto forums, iStock announced release of a new plugin for Photoshop that allows searching and licensing of imagery, directly in Photoshop and several other applicatins.

We’ve partnered with Adobe to create the iStock Plug-in for their Creative Suite. Adobe CS users can use the plug-in to browse and download iStock directly from Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Download of the plugin is simple.  Just visit this page: .  Download the plugin here: This will give you a .zip file with a .zxp file in it – the format of Adobe plugins.

The iStock instructions seem to mention “Creative Suite” quite often to be able to use the plugin, but it worked fine for me with just Photoshop.  The instructions also say:

Open the downloaded file using the most up-to-date version of Adobe Extension Manager

However, only having Photoshop CS5 installed, I had no easy link to the Extension Manager and could not find it in Photoshop anywhere (my Creative Suite is from CS3, which I may upgrade to CS6 soon).  However, upon opening the .zip file, and double clicking the .zxp file, Windows 7 was smart enough to open the extension manager for me.

Following the prompts to install is easy.  Then, after a restart of Photoshop, I found the plugin listed under windows->extensions->iStockphoto :

When clicked on, the option opened a mini window that allows you to search the IS database, either Photos, Illustrations or both.  There is no choice for sorting – I assume it’s just the basic Best Match sort.  To license images, you need to already have an iStockphoto account, so I logged in.  Then, I tried to find one of my files using the keywords ‘woman grass “from above”‘ (notice the double quotes around part of that).  With a little scrolling and clicking to “load more images”, I found the one I was looking for.

Now, having found what I am looking for, I can easily drag and drop that image into my layout.


It also saves your drag and drops under the “Recent Comps” option, so you don’t lose track of what you are using.  Ok, so I love that image and I want to license it.  Using the small drop down from the arrow at the bottom left, I choose “Download with Credits” which brings up the size and pricing chart.  Nice.

When I push the “Download Image” button, the plugin goes to check my credit balance to see if I have enough credits to purchase (this may take a while).  If I do, it brings up the license agreement (which no one will ever read, unfortunately), and then downloads the image to the location in my plugin preferences, as well as opening it in the plugin so that I can easily drag and drop it into my layout.

Well, what could be easier than that, I ask you?  You can also access your iStockphoto lightboxes through the interface.

This is a great little “app”, both for buyers, and for contributors.  This is one of those win-win things that iStock should be doing more of.  I applaud the developers on this one.  It is easy to use, simple and gets the job done.

Note to contributors: This was also a test to make sure that the download from the plugin was recorded correctly in my history, and I can report that it was, and was paid at the correct rate.  So, double applause.

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