Blur filters


The Average filter finds the average color of an image or selection, and then fills the image or selection with the color to create a smooth look. For example, if you select an area of grass, the filter changes the area into a homogeneous patch of green.

Blur and Blur More

The Blur filters soften a selection or an image and are useful for retouching. They smooth transitions by averaging the color values of pixels next to the hard edges of defined lines and shaded areas.


Eliminates noise where significant color transitions occur in an image. Blur filters smooth transitions by averaging the color values of pixels next to the hard edges of defined lines and shaded areas.

Blur More

Produces an effect several times stronger than that of the Blur filter.


Before applying a Blur filter, deselect the Lock transparent pixels option in the Layers panel.

Blurring the background of a photo

Gaussian Blur

The Gaussian Blur filter quickly blurs a selection by an adjustable amount. Gaussian refers to the bell-shaped curve that Photoshop Elements generates when it applies a weighted average to the pixels. The Gaussian Blur filter adds low-frequency detail and can produce a hazy effect. You can set the blur radius in the filter options to determine how far the filter searches for dissimilar pixels to blur.

Lens Blur

Lens Blur can be used to give the effect of narrower depth of field so that some objects in the image stay in the focus and others are blurred. The portions of the image that are blurred and those that remain in focus depend on the layer mask, saved selection, or transparency settings applied. The way the blur appears depends on the iris shape you choose. Iris shapes are determined by the number of blades they contain. You can change blades of an iris by curving them (making them more circular) or rotating them. Use the preview options to see how changing the settings in the Lens Blur dialog affect your photograph.

Motion Blur

The Motion Blur filter blurs in a particular direction (from ‑360º to +360º) and at a specific distance (from 1 to 999). The filter’s effect is analogous to taking a picture of a moving object with a fixed exposure time. You can set the blur angle and distance.

Radial Blur

The Radial Blur filter simulates the blur of a zooming or rotating camera to produce a soft blur. The Amount option controls the blur amount. Spin blurs along concentric circular lines and lets you specify a degree of rotation. Zoom blurs along radial lines, as if zooming in on or out of the image and lets you specify an amount from 1 to 100. Blur quality ranges from Draft for fast but grainy, results to Good and Best for smoother results, which are indistinguishable except on a large selection. You can specify the origin of the blur by dragging the pattern in the Blur Center box.

Smart Blur

The Smart Blur filter precisely blurs an image. You can specify a radius to determine how far the filter searches for dissimilar pixels to blur, a threshold to determine how different the pixels’ values must be before they are eliminated, and a blur quality. You can also set a mode for the entire selection (Normal) or for the edges of color transitions (Edge Only and Overlay Edge). Where significant contrast occurs, Edge Only applies black-and-white edges and Overlay Edge applies white.

Surface Blur

The Surface Blur filter blurs an image while preserving edges. This filter is useful for creating special effects and for removing noise and graininess. The Radius option specifies the size of the area sampled for the blur. The Threshold option controls how much the tonal values of neighboring pixels must diverge from the center pixel value before becoming a part of the blur. Pixels with tonal value differences less than the Threshold value are excluded from the blur.

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