Software Interoperability: Combining Maya and Photoshop

Software interoperability is one of the main benefits of the Maya animation and composite software. In particular, Maya can be used in and with Photoshop. These are 2 very different programs, but the features in each complement each other. The images of components can easily move back and forth between both programs. This makes it easy to get the best of both worlds and create images using the strongest program for that effect. Maya 6 and later versions can recognize and wire PSD or Photoshop files. This way, Photoshop is directly linked to Maya.


The benefits of using both systems include the:

  • use of any file from Photoshop as a texture in Maya
  • ability to instantly update files that are modified in Photoshop when they are within Maya
  • ability to convert layered PSD to layered textures in Maya
  • ability to construct PSD layered files from Maya
  • ability to use Maya for lipstick sketches
  • ability to paint in spaces using Photoshop


Maya allows for a model to be created in a few hours, whereas a clay version will take several days. Materials and textures can be easily applied rather than going through the painstaking process of applying gold leaf or other textures. The scale of the model also does not matter when using Maya, as it can be scaled from 6 inches into something that is several feet tall.

Green Screen

In particular, Maya can be used with Photoshop for green screen imaging. Take objects created in Maya and them insert them into photos. Maya can light the items so that it matches the photo that was created in Photoshop. Create different layers within Photoshop or input the photo as a background layer into Maya and then place the created objects. Maya has superior green screen effects, and Photoshop has superior image and photo editing tools.


Users can use whichever program they have the most experience with, and then use the 2nd program to supplement their creations. If you know all the ins and outs of Photoshop, then do as much as possible in this program before going to Maya. If you are very comfortable with Maya, then do as much as possible with Maya and utilize the bits and pieces needed from Photoshop. Eventually, you will come to determine which program has the best features for your editing needs.  In general, much of the editing is best done in Maya, though Photoshop is excellent at creating elements that can be used in Maya.

2D or 3D

What really occurs is that Photoshop specializes with 2 dimensional images and Maya specializes in 3 dimensional images. In this case, it is best to bring all 2D images form Photoshop into Maya. If you try to send 3D images into Photoshop, ensure that Photoshop has the 3D tools necessary to work with the Maya image. This will entirely depend on your version of Photoshop. However, if the image in Maya has been rendered, then it may entirely be possible to use it in Photoshop, as the image cannot be manipulated after the final render has occurred.