Photoshop 3D | Common questions around discontinued 3D features

Why are Photoshop’s 3D features being discontinued? 

For technical reasons, Photoshop’s 3D feature set will not reliably work in modern operating systems, and as of Photoshop 22.5, we are beginning the process of removing those features. The warning message will appear once a week if 3D features are used. You can reset Preferences to see the warning message again and follow the Learn More link to this article.

3D deprecation warning message

Over the course of the last 25 years, specialized, dedicated video hardware (Graphics Processing Units, or, GPUs) evolved from the novel, expensive gaming hardware in the mid to late 1990s to first-class elements in virtually all of today’s modern personal computers. The design of the GPU made it ideal for rendering certain kinds of graphics very fast, and gaming and 3D software quickly shifted ‘work’ from the CPU to the GPU to make use of this extra processing power. 

Photoshop’s embrace of the GPU was made practical only through the emergence of a common GPU software interface (called Open GL) that offered standard methods for using GPUs across both Macintosh and Windows systems. OpenGL was at the heart of Photoshop’s first 3D features introduced over 10 years ago, first as a special benefit of ‘Photoshop Extended’, then later incorporated into every Creative Cloud subscription for Photoshop.

Over time, increasing hardware capabilities and customizations have exceeded the limits of those original, cross-platform APIs, and now ‘native’ GPU APIs for Windows (Direct X) and Macintosh (Metal) offers better stability and performance than the older generation of APIs.

With this transition to newer native APIs, together with the recent reboot of 3D tooling at Adobe featuring the Substance line of 3D products, the time has come to retire Photoshop’s legacy 3D feature set, and look to the future of how Photoshop and the Substance products will work together to bring the best of modern 2D and 3D to life across Adobe’s products on the more stable native GPU APIs.

What if I absolutely have to use this latest version of Photoshop, and need to use 3D features that are being removed? 

For a short time, a Technology Preview preference can be used to emulate the last known working state for 3D features. Go to Photoshop > Preferences > Technology Previews and check the box “Deactivate Native Canvas”, and restart Photoshop. Note that this operating mode is increasingly unreliable in modern operating systems, and we recommend using Photoshop version 22.2 (from December 2020) if you need more stable performance with Photoshop’s 3D features. 

What will the future of 3D in Photoshop look like? 

Currently, we don't have any concrete plans to introduce advanced 3D features back in Photoshop.

What are the alternate options for 3D features at Adobe?

The Substance line of 3D products offer state-of-the-art 3D creation tools, and Photoshop’s image processing, compositing and layer-based documents and interface make it the ideal tool for compositing content from other Adobe applications.

We encourage anyone interested in 3D to check out Adobe's exciting line of Substance products:

What specific features will be affected as part of this transition? 

At the heart of this transition is the removal of the core 3D engine within Photoshop, which results in the removal of the following features:

  • All interactions in the 3D workspace

  • 3D printing

  • Normal Map and Bump Map filters (including smart objects with those filters applied)

  • Lighting Effects

  • Any/all extrusions, including text extrusions

  • Spherical Panorama editing and support

  • Import/Export of all 3D formats

Why doesn't my 3D text appear correctly when using the 3D Type button?

Rendering of all 3D content, including 3D Type, is not working and the feature will be discontinued in the near future. To continue to work with 3d Type feature:

  • Use the Tech Preview option for overriding Photoshop’s native canvas mode to continue to use the 3D features, as a workaround. Go to Preferences > Technology Previews, and check the item Deactivate Native Canvas, then restart Photoshop.
  • Use Photoshop 22.2.

What does that mean for my Photoshop documents that have 3D content in them? Can I continue to use my Photoshop files that contain 3D content? 

Photoshop files will continue to open in current and future versions of Photoshop, however direct interaction with 3D layers will force that layer to be rasterized, effectively ‘baking’ the layer pixels in place. The resolution of the rasterized layer will match the resolution of the document when it was saved from a version of Photoshop that includes the 3D renderer. 

What version of Photoshop can I use if I still want to use 3D features? 

We recommend using Photoshop 22.2 if you continue to need access to Photoshop 3D features. That version will remain accessible to you in the Creative Cloud Desktop application for installation for up to two years from August 2021 (however the operating system requirements for 22.2 will remain as they were in December of 2020 when it was originally released). 

Can I install two versions of Photoshop on my computer at the same time, in case I want to switch between using 22.2 and 22.5?

Only one version of Photoshop 22.x can be installed at any given time. When Photoshop 23.0 ships in the near future, it will be easier to install the current version (23.x or later) and 22.2 or whichever 22.x version you prefer, and toggle between versions.

Can I use Photoshop 22.5 or later to make some edits to files with 3D layers, but then go back to 22.2 to modify just the 3D layers? 

If you do not rasterize the 3D layer, it remains fully editable using Photoshop 22.2, even if the file was opened and non-3D layers were edited using a later version of Photoshop. 

Can I export my Photoshop 3D content into one of Adobe’s other tools? 

Stager, and Substance .obj files. Additionally, Stager supports .stl which can be exported from Photoshop 22.4 and earlier. 

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