Right now I'm creating copies of all layers, flatten them all (the copies) to a single layer, and apply blur to this layer.

But can it be done without having to create copies of the layers I want to blur? Adjustment layers can be used for this sort of stuff, but I can't find any that is able to apply blur. Is it possible?

5 Answers 5


To the best of my knowledge, you can't do it exactly the way you are asking.

The quick and dirty way, without duplicating the actual layers and then flattening them, would be to Copy Merged (Ctrl+Shift+C) and paste to a new layer.

Another potential workaround is to group all the layers you want to blur and convert them to a smart object. You can then apply a non-destructive smart-filter blur to the smart object. The drawback is that you now have to edit the smart object as a separate document which may introduce too much friction into your workflow.


Simply highlighting one of Farray's methods. This seems to work best for me.

Highlight all the layers in the Layers Panel.

Right-click (Win) or Control-Click (Mac) and choose "Make Smart Object" / "Convert to Smart Object" (CC 2014).

Now, apply a blur to the Smart Object.

This will leave the original layers in tact. If you need to access the original layers, just double-click the Smart Object thumbnail in the Layers Panel.

  • This is the best solution.
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 14:10
  • 1
    You can just right-click on a mac as well ;)
    – Summer
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 10:31

I found out something very useful, but you still have to copy merged:

  1. copy merged layers
  2. add a layer mask with a gradient (radial or linear, as you like it)
  3. think of black will be blurred 100% and white will be blurred 0% (or vice versa)
  4. start filter -> blur -> lens blur

In the lens blur dialog box you can choose either transparency oder the layer mask as the source (depth map) for your lens blur filter.

Play around a little with the options.

Great, huh?


The fastest way, even better than the Copy Merged method is creating a new layer above all, and press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E

But beware with transparencies... :(

  • 1
    What exactly does this do, please? Is your shortcut for Mac or Windows? Can this also be accomplished through the menubar, through palette buttons, or through the contextual menu? Thank you.
    – 2540625
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 2:07

yes it's possible ,,, make your object in " convert smart object " than every effect in below of layer which u'll give :) right click on object > covert to smart object :)

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