Intel® Texture Works Plugin for Photoshop*

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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.

BC1RGB4BPPaka DXT1Useful for color maps or normal maps if memory is tight. Contains RGB types of data
BC1sRGB4BPPaka DXT1Same as above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
BC3RGBA8BPPaka DXT5Useful for color maps with full alpha, packing color and mono maps together. Contains RGBA types of data.
BC3sRGBA8BPPaka DXT5Same as above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
BC4R4BPPGrayscaleUseful 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
BC6HRGB8BPPFast CompressionUseful for HDR 16 images only on DX11+ level hardware
BC6HRGB8BPPFine CompressionSame as above with longer optimized compression time for a finer result
BC7RGBA8BPPFast CompressionUseful for high quality color maps, color maps with full alpha.  It provides the best quality compression only on DX11+ level hardware
BC7RGBA8BPPFine CompressionSame as above with longer optimized compression time for a finer result
BC7sRGBA8BPPFast CompressionSame as BC7 Fast above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware
BC7sRGBA8BPPFine CompressionSame as BC7 Fine above with sRGB extended header only on DX10 + level hardware


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


Feedback is Welcome

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More Comparisons

Preview BC7 Fast Comparison

Preview BC7 Fine Comparison

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For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.


gulfair's picture

Hi! I need to get DDS texture in Mips 9 format BC7,

But by default Intel saves in Mips 11.

How do I configure the plugin to save DDS to Mips 9 BC7?

First off, this is a great tool!  Jeffery, you put me on the beta tester list at Siggraph last year and I have been using it ever since.  I have been using it for some time now to make 16 bit dds cubemaps from hdr images.  However I was wondering if there are any plans to allow for the gaussian blur script to work on 16bit dds files?  Currently when I run the script on a 16 bit dds I get the error "The command "Dust & Scratches" is not currently available".  I assume this is occuring because the script is calling a filter command that doesn't work with 16 bit images.  But everything else seems to work great.  Thanks again!

MAD\jawilli3's picture

Thank you dark_sylinc,

We're tracking issues and feature request on this GitHub repository, Please repost this request there if you don't mind.




I haven't checked out the tool, but it looks great.

One major addition I would like to request is BC5_SNORM support (BC5S). Right now the tool only supports exporting to BC5_UNORM only.

Would it be possible to implement this simple feature?


This is a beautiful thing! Super useful and well executed. I discovered one possible flaw in how the plugin opens DDS files, please see this post.

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