Intel® Texture Works Plugin for Photoshop*

Published: 07/31/2015, Last Updated: 03/11/2016

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Intel has extended Photoshop* to take advantage of the latest image compression methods (BCn/DXT) via plugin. The purpose of this plugin is to provide a tool for artists to access superior compression results at optimized compression speeds within Photoshop*.

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Before Compression 769k TGA

Test strip before compression

After BC7 Fine Compression 257k DDS

Test Strip After BC7 (Fine) Compression



Context Menu

  • Access to hardware supported superior compression results
  • Compression at optimized speeds
  • Previewing and convenience features to aid productivity
  • Runs within established content tool
  • Pluggable architecture for future compression schemes


Q: Why do We Still Need Texture Compression?
A: Demand for more realism in games via textures has increased with every new graphics hardware improvement. Effective texture memory management (compression), is still required to keep pace with this demand.

Q: How can I Minimize Artifacts/Errors?
A: Higher bit depths and/or finer (slower) compression formats (e.g. BC7 fine)

Q: Why Would I Use BCn over Lossless PNG?
A1: PNG, JPG, etc. saves disk space and transmission time over the internet but have no impact on optimizing textures for use in graphics hardware memory whatsoever
A2: BCn optimizes textures for real-time use in graphics memory and saves space on disk. However, not all applications can read/load the newer BCn compression formats - This free sample code will allow you to implement optimized BCn in your app.

Q: Once I have a .DDS with BCn What do I do With it?
A: You can assign the texture to your object in any app that supports the chosen BCn format

Q: What Game Engines Support DDS?
A1: Unreal offers BC7 as a texture compression option on build
A2: Maya 2015+ supports BC7 in Viewport2.0

Q: Is There Support for DX 11.3 and DX12?
A: Yes the newer BCn formats are supported in DX11.2 and DX12

Q: How do I Know What Compression is Best for What?
A:  See Export Formats table below

Q: What are the HW requirements for BCn
A1: Older graphics (< DX10) won't support newer BC6 and BC7
A2: Low power graphics like PowerVR don't support BC compression

Q: Is a Mac version available
A: No, not at this time

Key Features

  • Multiple image format support for BCn,
  • Save with DirectX10 extended header for sRGB
  • Read DirectX10 extended header DDS files into Photoshop*
  • Choice of Fast and Fine (more accurate) compression
  • Support for alpha maps, color maps, normal maps
  • Support for cube maps
    • BCn Compression
    • Gaussian Blur Script
    • Convert Horizontal Cube Cross To/From Layers Script
  • Load/Edit mipmaps levels as layers - Repack mipmaps upon save
  • Real-time preview to visualize quality trade-offs
  • Photoshop Batch/Action support
  • Save plugin settings as Presets
  • Extensible


Cube Map Tools



Gaussian Blur Script

Allows you to apply a gaussian blur value across all individual layers (sides) of the cube map. Layers can then be saved directly to a single DDS file in the BCn format of choice or converted to a horizontal cube cross using the Convert Cube Map script provided to evaluate if desired.







Convert Cube Map Script

Enables 2-way conversion from a horizontal cube cross to individual sides as layers for image processing and back again.



Export Formats

Formats Menu

Available formats change based on Texture Type chosen. Contextual guidance in simple terms is also provided. Color format list shown at left. Full list shown below.

BC1 RGB 4BPP aka DXT1 Useful for color maps or normal maps if memory is tight. Contains RGB types of data
BC1 sRGB 4BPP aka DXT1 Same as above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
BC3 RGBA 8BPP aka DXT5 Useful for color maps with full alpha, packing color and mono maps together. Contains RGBA types of data.
BC3 sRGBA 8BPP aka DXT5 Same as above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
BC4 R 4BPP Grayscale Useful for height maps, gloss maps, font atlases or any other grey-scale image

aka 3Dc

Useful for tangent space normal maps. A two Channel Tangent Map
BC6H RGB 8BPP Fast Compression Useful for HDR 16 images only on DX11+ level hardware
BC6H RGB 8BPP Fine Compression Same as above with longer optimized compression time for a finer result
BC7 RGBA 8BPP Fast Compression Useful for high quality color maps, color maps with full alpha.  It provides the best quality compression only on DX11+ level hardware
BC7 RGBA 8BPP Fine Compression Same as above with longer optimized compression time for a finer result
BC7 sRGBA 8BPP Fast Compression Same as BC7 Fast above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
BC7 sRGBA 8BPP Fine Compression Same as BC7 Fine above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
None RGBA 32BPP Uncompressed  


  • Windows* (32/64) versions 7, 8, 10
  • Photoshop* CS6 through CC2015


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More Comparisons

Preview BC7 Fast Comparison

Preview BC7 Fine Comparison

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Product and Performance Information


Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.

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