Disabled Graphics Processor

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Today’s Question: It might have changed, but I used to not be able to run the Oil Paint filter [in Photoshop] when my graphics card didn’t support OpenCL.  Once I replaced my graphics card with one that supported OpenCL, the Oil Paint filter was no longer grayed out.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The Oil Paint filter in Photoshop does indeed require specific capabilities from the display adapter (graphics card) in your computer. If you don’t have a supported display adapter (or if you have turned off the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox in the Preferences dialog), the Oil Paint filter will be disabled.

More Detail: This is a follow-up to yesterday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, and as you can see it isn’t actually a question. One of the things I appreciate most about my “Ask Tim Grey” community of photographers is that if I make a mistake (or leave out an important point) I will very likely hear about it from one or more readers.

This is a great example of this benefit. Yesterday I mentioned some of the conditions for using the Oil Paint filter in Photoshop, such as working with an RGB image and selecting an image layer (rather than adjustment layer, for example). However, the Oil Paint filter also requires certain capabilities from the display adapter.

If the display adapter in your computer is not supported, the Oil Paint filter will be disabled on the Filter > Stylize menu. Replacing your display adapter with a compatible model will cause the Oil Paint filter to once again be enabled.

In addition, if you have turned off the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox on the Performance page of the Preferences dialog in Photoshop, the Oil Paint filter will be disabled. Turning off the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox is a common troubleshooting step. If Photoshop seems to be acting odd or crashing somewhat frequently, turning off this checkbox may help. However, doing so will also disable the Oil Paint filter, along with some other features of Photoshop.

So, if you find that you’re not able to access the Oil Paint filter with an image that should support the use of this filter, you might confirm that your display adapter is supported, and that the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox is turned on in the Preferences dialog.