I have something like this:

Raster Layer 1
Raster Layer 2
Adjustment Layer
Raster Layer 3
Raster Layer 4

I want to apply the adjustment layer to the raster layers below it, "rasterizing" it basically, so that the pixels in layers 3 & 4 are changed based on the adjustment layer. I don't want to modify the layer stack in any way. That is, no creating or removing layers. Layer 3 and 4 must stay exactly as they are, just the pixels in them should be changed. I don't want to do this one layer at a time, is this possible in Photoshop CS4?

  • I don't believe you know what "rasterize" means, or how layers work. – Hasaan Chop May 5 '10 at 22:20

Adjustment layers already affect all of the layers below them, including other adjustment layers.

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As already stated your question doesn't make much sense.. your asking how to do something that has already been done for you but here are some other ways.


Select Layer 3 -> Click the Filter Menu -> Find the Filter Equivalent -> Apply the Filter -> Select Layer 4 -> Click the Filter Menu -> Click the first menu item it will repeat your last settings


Clip the adjustment layer to layer 3 and then clip layer 3 to layer 4 by holding Alt and clicking in between the layers on the line. (The adjustment layer will only affect those layers so you can put some below it)


Select Layers 3 & 4 -> Right Click on one -> Convert to Smart Object -> Apply a filter to that Smart Layer.... You can double click on the smart object to get access to the two layers untouched and edit them directly if needed for whatever reason. If you do edit them directly you need to save the document that is opened by double clicking to alter it in the main document.

Notes: If you rasterize the adjustment layer into layer 3 and 4 and keep the adjustment layer it will be applied again.

If you use filters you might want to convert layer 3 and 4 to smart objects so you can change/remove the filter.

Personally I would stick with what you have... and maybe clip the adjustment layer because it is non-destructive applying them directly unnecessarily destroys information.

More on Smart Objects http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnPrZZ1e0Zg (Didn't watch the video but looks like it covers the subject) http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Photoshop/11.0/WSCCBCA4AB-7821-4986-BC03-4D1045EF2A57a.html

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Group them and flatten the group.

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  • I can't do that. I need all layers to stay exactly as they are in the layer tree (maybe except the adjustment layer). – GhassanPL May 5 '10 at 17:18
  • Then your question makes absolutely no sense as layers already work that way on their own. – Hasaan Chop May 5 '10 at 22:20

If your adjustment layer is not affecting all the layers below it, make sure you haven't created a clipping mask.

Adjustment layer being clipped:

clipped adjustments

↑ Adjustment layer affects only the layer immediately beneath it, ie. the layer it clips to (in the example Layer 2).

Adjustment layer not clipped:

enter image description here

↑ Adjustment layer affects all the layers below it (in the example Layer 2 & Layer 1).

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Adjustment layers aren't actually changing the pixel data of the layers below it is only an overlay. Photoshop is very weak when it comes to doing permanent changes to multiple layers of data and it makes it really hard for animations and layers that all need to be globally changed at the data level.

I'm also trying to find out how to rasterize/merge the layer adjustments to the layer data itself and so far not much luck other than exporting layers with batch operations.

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