One important recent trend in deposition technology is the continuous expansion of available processes towards higher ion assistance with the subsequent beneficial effects to film properties. Nowadays, a multitude of processes, including laser ablation and deposition, vacuum arc deposition, ion assisted deposition, high power impulse magnetron sputtering and plasma immersion ion implantation, are available. However, there are obstacles to overcome in all technologies, including line-of-sight processes, particle contaminations and low growth rates, which lead to ongoing process refinements and development of new methods. Concerning the deposited thin films, control of energetic ion bombardment leads to improved adhesion, reduced substrate temperatures, control of intrinsic stress within the films as well as adjustment of surface texture, phase formation and nanotopography. This review illustrates recent trends for both areas; plasma process and solid state surface processes.