3D panel settings

3D panel overview

When you select a 3D layer, the 3D panel shows the components of the associated 3D file. The top section of the panel lists the meshes, materials, and lights in the file. The bottom section of the panel shows settings and options for the 3D component selected in the top section.

Photoshop 3D panel with Scene options
3D panel displaying Scene options

A. Display Scene, Meshes, Materials, or Lights options B. Render presets menu C. Customize render settings D. Select texture to paint on E. Cross section settings F. Toggle overlays G. Add new light H. Delete light 

The buttons at the top of the 3D panel filter the components that appear in the top section. Click the Scene button to show all components, click Materials to see just materials, and so on.

Display the 3D panel

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Window > 3D.

    • Double-click the 3D layer icon  in the Layers panel.

    • Choose Window > Workspace > Advanced 3D.

Filter the 3D options displayed

  1. Click the Scene, Mesh, Materials, or Lights button at the top of the 3D panel.

Show or hide a 3D mesh or light

  1. Click the eye icon next to the mesh or light entry in the top section of the 3D panel.


    You cannot turn material display on or off from the 3D panel. To show or hide materials, change the visibility settings for their associated textures in the Layers panel. See 3D Materials settings.

Access settings for the 3D scene

  1. Click the Scene button.

  2. If not already selected, click the Scene entry at the top of the component list.

Access settings for a mesh, material, or light

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Scene button to show all scene components. Then select a mesh, material, or light in the top section.

    • Click the Meshes, Materials, or Lights button to temporarily display just those components. Then select a single mesh, material, or light.

Expand or collapse materials for a mesh

  1. Click the Scene button.

  2. Click the triangle to the left of a mesh icon.

View the ground plane

The ground plane is a grid that reflects the position of the ground relative to the 3D model.

  • To view the ground plane, click the Toggle icon  at the bottom of the 3D panel, and select 3D Ground Plane.


The Toggle icon is enabled only if OpenGL is available on your system.

Show or hide light guides

  1. At the bottom of the 3D panel, click the Toggle icon , and select 3D Light

Outline the selected material or mesh in the document window

  1. At the bottom of the 3D panel, click the Toggle icon , and select 3D Selection.

When you select materials or meshes in the panel, a colored outline appears in the document window, helping you identify the current item.


To change the color of 3D overlays like material and mesh outlines, customize options in the 3D section of the Preferences dialog box.

Photoshop Outlining selected items
Outlining selected items in the document window

A. Materials are surrounded by a colored line B. Meshes by a bounding box 

3D Scene settings

Use 3D Scene settings to change render modes, select a texture to paint on, or create cross sections. To access scene settings, click the Scene button  in the 3D panel, then select the Scene entry in the top section of the panel.

Render Settings

Specifies the render preset for the model. To customize options, click Edit.


Choose a setting which provides the best display quality while maintaining good performance:

Interactive (Painting)

Renders with OpenGL using the GPU on the video card, producing high-quality results, but lacking detailed reflections and shadows. For most systems, this option is best for editing.

Ray Traced Draft

Renders using the CPU on the computer motherboard, with draft-quality reflections and shadows. If your system has a powerful video card, the Interactive option may produce faster results.

Ray Traced Final

Best reserved for final output, this option fully renders reflections and shadows.


Tiles are temporarily drawn across the image during Ray Traced rendering. To interrupt the rendering process, click the mouse or spacebar. To change the number of tiling passes, trading processing speed for quality, change the High Quality Threshold in the 3D preferences.

Photoshop Tiles temporarily drawn across image
Tiles are temporarily drawn across the image during Ray Traced rendering.

Paint On

When painting directly on the 3D model, use this menu to choose which texture map to paint on. See 3D painting.


You can also choose the target texture from the 3D > 3D Paint Mode menu.

Global Ambient Color

Sets the color for global ambient light visible on reflective surfaces. This color interacts with the ambient color for specific materials. See 3D Materials settings.

Cross Section

Select to create a planar cross section that can intersect the model at an angle you choose. Allows you to slice through a model and view interior content. See View cross sections.

View cross sections

You can view a cross section of a 3D model by intersecting it with an invisible plane that slices through the model at any angle and displays content only on one side of the plane.

  1. Select Cross Section in the bottom section of the Scenes tab.

  2. Choose options for alignment, position, and orientation:


    Select to display the intersecting plane that creates the cross section. You can choose plane color and opacity.


    Select to highlight the areas of the model that the cross section plane intersects. Click the color swatch to select the highlight color.

    Flip Cross Section

    Changes the displayed area of the model to the opposite side of the intersecting plane.

    Offset and Tilt

    Use Offset to shift the plane along its axis, without changing its tilt. At a default offset of 0, the plane intersects the 3D model at its midpoint. At maximum positive or negative offsets, the plane moves beyond any intersection with the model. Use Tilt settings to rotate the plane up to 3600 in either of its possible tilt directions. For a particular axis, the tilt settings rotate the plane along the other two axes. For example, a plane aligned to the y‑axis can be rotated around the x‑axis (Tilt 1) or the z‑axis (Tilt 2).


    Select an axis (x, y, or z) for the intersecting plane. The plane is perpendicular to the selected axis.

Apply different render modes to each cross section

You can vary the render settings for each side of a cross section to combine different views of the same 3D model, such as Wireframe with Solid.

  1. Select Cross Section, and choose options in the bottom section of the Scenes tab. Your current render settings are applied to the visible cross section.

  2. Click Render Settings, or choose 3D > Render Settings.

  3. At the top of the dialog box, click the currently unselected Cross Section button .

    By default all render settings are turned off for the alternate cross section, making it appear invisible.

  4. Choose render options for the alternate cross section, and click OK.

  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.


In Photoshop CS6, 3D functionality was part of Photoshop Extended. All features in Photoshop Extended are part of Photoshop. Photoshop does not have a separate Extended offering.

3D Mesh settings

Each mesh in the 3D model appears on a separate line in the top section of the 3D panel. Select a mesh to access mesh settings and information in the lower section of the 3D panel.

Information includes the number of materials and textures applied to the mesh, as well as the number of vertices and faces it contains. You can also set the following mesh display options:


To see shadows, set the lights and select Ray Traced for render quality. See 3D Scene settings.

Catch Shadows

Controls whether the selected mesh displays shadows on its surface from other meshes.


To catch shadows from the ground plane on meshes, select 3D > Ground Plane Shadow Catcher. To align these shadows with objects, select 3D > Snap Object To Ground Plane

Cast Shadows

Controls whether the selected mesh casts shadows on other mesh surfaces.


Hides the mesh, but displays any shadows on its surface.

Shadow Opacity

Controls the softness of shadows cast by the selected mesh. The setting is helpful when blending 3D objects with layers below.

Show or hide a mesh

  1. Click the eye icon next to a mesh name in the top section of the 3D panel.

Manipulate individual meshes

Use the mesh position tools to move, rotate, or scale a selected mesh without moving the model as a whole. The position tools operate in the same way as the main 3D position tools in the Tools panel. For information on each tool, see Move, rotate, or scale a 3D model.

  1. Select a mesh in the top section of the 3D panel. The selected mesh is highlighted with a red box in the lower section of the panel.

  2. Select and use a mesh position tool in the lower section of the panel to move the mesh.


To manipulate the entire model while an individual mesh is selected, use the 3D tools in the Tools panel.

3D Materials settings

The top part of the 3D panel lists the materials used in the 3D file. One or multiple materials may be used to create the overall appearance of the model. If a model contains several meshes, there may be a specific material associated with each mesh. Or a model can be built from one mesh but use different materials in different areas.

Photoshop Selected material and its associated texture maps
A selected material and its associated texture maps.

A. Displays Materials options B. Selected material C. Materials picker D. Material Drop and Select tools E. Texture map menu icon F. Texture map types 

For a selected material in the top section of the 3D panel, the lower section shows the particular texture maps used by that material. Some texture types, such as Diffuse and Bump, commonly rely on 2D files to supply a particular color or pattern that creates the texture. For other texture types, you may not need a separate 2D file. For example, you can directly adjust Gloss, Shine, Opacity, or Reflection by entering values.

The texture maps used by a material appear as Textures in the Layers panel, grouped by the texture map category.


To see a thumbnail of a texture map image, hover the mouse over the texture name (for example, Reflection or Illumination).


The color of the material. The diffuse map can be a solid color or any 2D content. The Diffuse color swatch value sets the diffuse color if you choose to remove the diffuse texture map. You can also create a diffuse map by painting directly on the model. See 3D painting.


Increases or decreases opacity of the material (0-100%). You can use a texture map or the scrubby slider to control opacity. The grayscale values of the texture map control the opacity of the material. White values create complete opacity and black values create complete transparency.


Creates bumps in the material surface, without altering the underlying mesh. A bump map is a grayscale image in which lighter values create raised surface areas and darker values create flatter surface areas. You can create or load a bump map file, or begin painting on the model to automatically create a bump map file. See 3D painting.

The Bump field increases or reduces bumpiness. It is only active if a bump map exists. Enter a number in the field or use the scrubby slider to increase or decrease bump strength.


Bumpiness is most pronounced when a surface is viewed head on, rather than at an angle.


Like a bump map texture, a normal map increases surface detail. Unlike a bump texture map, which is based on a single-channel grayscale image, a normal map is based on a multi-channel (RGB) image. The values of each color channel represent the x, y, and z components of a normal on the model surface. A normal map can be used to smooth the surfaces of low polygon meshes.


Photoshop uses World-space normal maps, which offer the fastest processing.


Stores the image of the environment surrounding the 3D model. Environment maps are applied as spherical panoramas. The contents of the environment map can be seen in the reflective areas of the model.


To prevent an environment map from reflecting on a given material, change Reflectivity to 0%, add a reflectivity map that masks the material area, or remove the environment map for that material.


Increases the reflection of other objects in the 3D scene, and the environment map, on the material surface.


Defines a color that doesn't rely on lighting to display. Creates the effect that the 3D object is lit from within.


Defines the amount of light from a source that reflects off the surface and back to the viewer. You can adjust glossiness by entering a value in the field or using the scrubby slider. If you create a separate glossiness map, the intensity of colors in the map controls glossiness in the material. Black areas create full glossiness, white areas remove all glossiness, and middle values reduce the size of a highlight.


Defines the dispersion of the reflected light generated by the Gloss setting. Low shininess (high dispersion) produces more apparent light, with less focus. High shininess (low dispersion) produces less apparent light and brighter, crisper highlights.

Photoshop Examples of different percentages of gloss and shine
Adjusting Gloss (left number) and Shine (right number)


If a 3D object has more than the nine texture types Photoshop supports, additional textures appear in the Layers panel and the 3D Paint Mode list. (To display the latter, choose 3D > 3D Paint Mode, or use the Paint On menu in the Scene section of the 3D panel


The color displayed for specular properties (for example, highlight glossiness and shininess).


Sets the color for ambient light visible on reflective surfaces. This color interacts with the Global Ambient Color for the entire scene. See 3D Scene settings.


Sets the refractive index when scene Quality is set to Ray Traced and the Refractions option is selected in the 3D > Render Settings dialog box. Refraction is the change in light direction that occurs at the intersection of two media (such as air and water) with different refractive indexes. The default value for new materials is 1.0 (the approximate value for air).

Sample and apply materials directly on objects

The 3D Material Drop tool works much like the traditional Paint Bucket tool, letting you sample and apply materials directly on 3D objects.

  1.  In 3D panel, select the 3D Material Drop tool  .

  2.  Move the pointer over the 3D object in the document window. When the material you want to sample is outlined, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS).

  3.  Move the pointer to outline the material you want to change, and click.


For a visual example of an outlined material, see Outline the selected material or mesh in the document window.

Select materials directly on objects

  1.  In 3D panel, hold down the 3D Material Drop tool , and select the 3D Select Material tool .

  2.  Move the pointer over the 3D object in the document window. When the material you want to select is outlined, click.

Apply, save, or load material presets

Material presets let you quickly apply groups of texture settings. The default presets provide various materials like steel, fabric, and wood.

Photoshop apply save or load material presets
Click the material preview to display the preset pop-up panel.

  1. In the 3D panel, click the material preview.

  2. In the preset pop-up panel, do any of the following:

    • To apply a preset, double-click a thumbnail preview.

    • To create a preset from the current texture settings, click the pop-up menu icon , and choose New Material.

    • To rename or delete selected presets, click the pop-up menu icon, and choose Rename or Delete Material.

    • To save the current group of presets, click the pop-up menu icon, and choose Save Materials.

    • To change the displayed group, click the pop-up menu icon. Then choose Reset Materials to restore a saved group, Load Materials to append a saved group, or Replace Materials.

Create a texture map

  1. Click the folder icon  next to the texture map type.

  2. Choose New Texture.

  3. Enter the name, dimensions, resolution, and color mode for the new map, then click OK.


    To match the aspect ratio of an existing texture map, view its dimensions by hovering the mouse pointer over the map name in the Layers panel.

    The name of the new texture map is displayed next to the texture map type in the Materials panel. It is also added to the texture list under the 3D layer in the Layers panel. The default name is the texture map type appended to the material name.

Load a texture map

You can load an existing 2D texture file for any of the nine available texture map types.

  1. Click the folder icon next to the texture type.

  2. Choose Load Texture, then select and open the 2D texture file.

Create a bump texture map

A bump texture map filled with a neutral grayscale value provides more range when painting on the map.

  1. In the Tools panel, click the Set Background Color swatch.

  2. In the Color Picker, set brightness to 50%, and set R, G, and B values to equal values. Click OK.

  3. In the 3D panel, click the folder icon  next to Bump.

  4. Choose New Texture.

  5. Choose the following settings in the New dialog box:

    • For Color Mode, choose Grayscale

    • For Background Contents, choose Background Color.

    • (Optional) Set Width and Height to match the dimensions of the diffuse texture map for the material.

  6. Click OK.

The bump texture map is created and added to the texture map files listed in the Materials panel. It also appears as a texture in the Layers panel.

Open a texture map for editing

  1. Click the image icon , and choose Open Texture.

    The texture map opens as a Smart Object in its own document window. After editing the texture, make the 3D model document window active to see updates to the model. See 3D texture editing.

Delete a texture map

  1. Click the image icon next to the texture type.

  2. Choose Remove Texture.


If the deleted texture is an external file, you can reload it using the Load Texture command from the texture map menu. For textures that are internally referenced by the 3D file, choose Undo or Step Backward to restore a deleted texture.

Edit texture properties

A texture map is applied to a particular surface area of the model, depending on its UV mapping parameters. You can adjust UV scale and offset if necessary to improve how the texture maps to the model.

  1. Click the image icon next to the texture type.

  2. Choose Edit Properties.

  3. Choose a target layer and set UV Scale and Offset values. You can enter values directly or use the scrubby sliders.


    Determines whether settings apply to a specific layer or the composite image.

    U and V Scale

    Resize mapped textures. To create a repeating pattern, decrease the value.

    U and V Offset

    Reposition mapped textures.

3D Lights settings

3D lights illuminate models from different angles, adding realistic depth and shadows.

Add or delete individual lights

  1. In the 3D panel, do either of the following:

    • To add a light, click the Create A New Light button , and choose the light type:

      • Point lights shine in all directions, like light bulbs.

      • Spot lights shine in a cone shape, which you can adjust.

      • Infinite lights shine from one directional plane, like sunlight.

      • Image-based lights map an illuminated image around the 3D scene.

    • To delete a light, select it from the list at the top of the Lights section . Then click the Delete button  at the bottom of the panel.

Adjust light properties

  1. In the Lights section  of the 3D panel, select a light from the list.

  2. In the lower half of the panel, set the following options:


    applies a saved group of lights and settings. (See Save, replace, or add groups of lights.)

    Light Type

    Choose from the options described in Add or delete individual lights.


    Adjusts brightness.


    Defines the color of the light. Click the box to access the Color Picker.


    For image-based lights, specifies a bitmap or 3D file. (For dramatic effects, try 32-bit HDR images.)

    Create Shadows

    Casts shadows from foreground surfaces onto background surfaces, from a single mesh onto itself or from one mesh onto another. Disabling this option improves performance slightly.


    Blurs the edge of shadows, producing a gradual falloff.

  3. For point or spot lights, set these additional options:


    (Spot lights only) Sets the width of the bright center of the light.


    (Spot lights only) Sets the outer width of the light.

    Use Attenuation

    Inner and Outer options determine the cone of attenuation and how fast light intensity decreases as distance from objects increases. When an object is closer than Inner limit, light is full strength. When an object is further than Outer limit, light is at zero strength. At intermediate distances, light attenuates linearly from full strength to zero.


    Hover the pointer over the Hotspot, Falloff, and Inner and Outer attenuation options. Red outlines in the icon to the right indicate the affected light element.

Position lights

  1. In the Lights section  of the 3D panel, select any of the following:

    Rotate tool 

    (Spot, infinite, and image-based lights) Rotates light while maintaining its position in 3D space.


    To quickly aim a light at a specific area, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) in the document window.

    Pan tool 

    (Spot and point lights only) Moves the light to a different position in the same 3D plane.

    Slide tool 

    (Spot and point lights only) Moves the light to a different 3D plane.

    Point Light at Origin 

    (Spot light only) Directs light at the center of the model.

    Move to Current View 

    Places light in the same position as the camera.


To precisely position image-based lights, use the 3D Axis, which wraps the image around a sphere. (See 3D Axis.)

Add light guides

Light guides provide spatial reference points for your adjustments. These guides reflect the type, angle, and attenuation of each light. Point lights appear as a ball, spot lights as a cone, and infinite lights as a line.

  1. At the bottom of the 3D panel, click the Toggle icon , and select 3D Light.


You can change the guide color in the 3D section of the Preferences dialog box.

Photoshop Different light guides
Light Guides:

A. Point light B. Spot light C. Infinite light 

Save, replace, or add groups of lights

To store groups of lights for later use, save them as a preset. To include the preset in other projects, either add to or replace the existing lights.

  1. From the 3D panel menu , select any of the following:

    Save Lights Preset

    Saves the current group of lights as a preset that you can reload with the following commands.

    Add Lights

    To the existing lights, adds a lights preset that you select.

    Replace Lights

    Replaces the existing lights with a preset that you select.

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