Photoshop GPU FAQ

Find answers to commonly asked questions about Photoshop and graphics processor (GPU) card usage.

  Discontinuation of 3D features in Photoshop

Photoshop’s 3D features will be removed in future updates. Users working with 3D are encouraged to explore Adobe’s new Substance 3D collection, which represents the next generation of 3D tools from Adobe. Additional details on the discontinuation of Photoshop’s 3D features can be found here: Photoshop 3D | Common questions on discontinued 3D features.

How does Photoshop use the graphics processor?

Photoshop leverages the graphics processor in your system to provide a seamlessly smooth Photoshop experience and increased performance with many features. 

How can I check the GPU compatibility report?

With the Photoshop 23.0 release, you can run the graphics processor compatibility check to ensure your GPU is compatible:

Go to Help > GPU Compatibility and see the report dialog that opens.

GPU compatibility check

GPU compatibility check

How can I check the GPU status while working on a document in Photoshop?

When you're trying to diagnose rendering issues, there was no intuitive way to tell whether a document was rendering in CPU or GPU mode. If the GPU stops working in Photoshop, several features could be impacted. If you notice changes to any of the visuals or performance for these tools, it's best to confirm what GPU mode Photoshop is in for your document.

With the October 2022 release of Photoshop 24.0, the new GPU Mode document status indicator will report the exact mode Photoshop's GPU state is in, allowing you to address further GPU troubleshooting steps.

To access the new GPU status indicator, do any of the following:

  • From the Document Status bar on the bottom left of the workspace, open the Document Status menu and select GPU Mode to display the GPU operating mode for your open document. 
  • Open the Info panel and select GPU Mode.
Use the new GPU Mode indicator for your active document when trying to diagnose rendering issues
Use the new GPU Mode indicator for your active document from the Document Status bar

Use the new GPU Mode indicator for your active document when trying to diagnose rendering issues
Use the new GPU Mode indicator for your active document from the Info panel

What are the various GPU modes in Photoshop?

Here's the list of available GPU modes in Photoshop:

  • CPU: CPU mode means that the GPU is NOT available to Photoshop for the current document, and all features that have CPU pipelines will continue to work, but the performance from GPU optimizations will not exist, so these features could be noticeably slower, such as - Neural Filters, Object Selection, Zoom/Magnify, etc. The visual interface for many features like crop, selections, and transform will drop color borders or become harder to see (thinner).
  • D3D12: This is the preferred mode for Windows and means you can take full advantage of the most modern GPU APIS on that platform.
  • Software: Software rendering is a Windows-only mode that returns to the Direct X 11 renderer. This happens if you explicitly set the Technology Preference, "Older GPU Mode Pre 2016)", or if Photoshop determines that the software renderer is required for better stability.
  • Metal: This is the preferred mode for macOS and means the user is taking full advantage of the most modern GPU APIs on that platform.
  • Legacy OpenGL: Legacy OpenGL means that Photoshop uses the previous generation of GPU technology. Ideally, users on macOS would see Metal, and Windows users would see D3.

Which features in Photoshop use the graphics processor?

Features that require a GPU for acceleration

  • Artboards
  • Blur Gallery - OpenCL accelerated
  • Camera Raw (more info)
  • Image Size – Preserve Details
  • Lens Blur (more info)
  • Neural Filters
  • Select Focus
  • Select and Mask - OpenCL accelerated
  • Smart Sharpen - OpenCL accelerated

Features that won't work without a GPU

If your graphics processor is unsupported or its driver is defective, the following Photoshop features won't work:

  • 3D
  • Birds Eye View
  • Flick Panning
  • Oil Paint
  • Perspective Warp (more info)
  • Render – Flame, Picture Frame, and Tree
  • Scrubby Zoom
  • Smooth Brush Resizing

If you encounter any issues working with the above features, see Graphics processor (GPU) troubleshooting.

What are the minimum graphics processor requirements?

  • On Windows, a GPU with DirectX 12 support and 1.5 GB of GPU memory
  • On macOS, a GPU with Metal Support and 1.5 GB of GPU memory

If you are using an older graphics card or driver, GPU functionality in Photoshop may be limited or not supported.

Generally, consider using GPUs with an Average Ops/Sec of 2000 or higher on PassMark's GPU Computer Benchmark Chart.

How do I enable Photoshop to use the graphics processor?

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Performance (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance (macOS).

  2. In the Performance panel, make sure that Use Graphics Processor is selected in the Graphics Processor Settings section.

  3. Click Advanced Settings and specify the following option:

    Use OpenCLEnable to accelerate the new Blur Gallery filters, Smart Sharpen, Select Focus Area, or Image Size with Preserve Details selected (Note: OpenCL is available only on newer graphics cards that support OpenCL v1.1 or later.)

Does Photoshop take advantage of more than one graphics processor or graphics card?

Photoshop does not take advantage of multiple graphics cards. Conflicting drivers may also cause crashes or other problems.

Can I use Photoshop's graphics processor features on a virtual machine?

Running Photoshop under virtual machines, or VMs, is not tested extensively nor officially supported. Running Photoshop with Use Graphics Processor enabled under virtual machines and remote desktop is not supported at all.

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