by Amy Palermo
Photoshop's oil paint filter debuted in version CS5 as a Pixel Bender Plug-in, and in Photoshop CS6, Adobe incorporated this filter directly into the application. Sadly, it was discontinued not long after. Photoshop CC 2015 sees the re-release of this amazing painterly filter, which offers a quick way to take a digital photo, like the one shown in Figure A, and give it the look of an authentic oil painting, as shown in Figure B.
To access the Oil Paint filter, choose Filter > Stylize > Oil Paint. If you're one of the many users who can't access the filter, it will appear grayed out, as shown in Figure C. We'll show you how to troubleshoot this filter woe, and hopefully get the Oil Paint filter available for you once more.
Step #1: Check the color mode
The first thing you should check when the Oil Paint filter—or any filter for that matter—isn't available is your image's color mode. Many filters only work in RGB mode and the Oil Paint filter is no exception. To check the color mode choose Image > Mode, and make sure your image is RGB Color.
Step #2: Check the preferences
In order to use the Oil Paint filter, you need to make sure some graphics processor preferences are enabled. Choose File > Preferences > Performance (Photoshop > Preferences > Performance on the Mac). In the top right portion of the dialog box, make sure Use Graphics Processor is selected, as shown in Figure D. Then click the Advanced Settings button to open the Advanced Graphics Processor Settings dialog box. As shown in Figure E, make sure the Use OpenCL checkbox is selected. Click OK. Now you can try to access the filter again. As shown in Figure F, this did the trick and we can now access the Oil Paint filter.