How to Convert an Image to Pixel Art With Photoshop

Written by chris anzalone
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In recent years, pixel art has become increasingly trendy in the world of computer animation. At one time, though, pixelation was just an inevitable quality of low-res computer images. Computers could not always render images at as high a resolution as they can now, and so they naturally had a block-like quality, with squared edges and grainy detail. With Adobe Photoshop, you can create this unique effect using any photo on your computer.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Adobe Photoshop

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  1. 1

    Load your image. Open the image using Photoshop. Make sure your layers are visible (if not, you can select the Layers Panel under the Window tab), and then duplicate your background layer. You can do this by selecting the "Layer" tab on the menu bar and then by selecting "Duplicate Layer" on the drop-down menu.

  2. 2

    With your duplicate layer highlighted, select "Filter" on the menu bar and scroll down to "Texture" on the drop-down menu. You will then see a list of options. Select "Patchwork," and set both the square size and relief to zero. Then press the "OK" button.

  3. 3

    Reduce the opacity on your duplicate layer. Your image should appear heavily pixelated at this point, so you will want to reduce the intensity of this effect to a desired level. In the Layers window, look for the box labelled Opacity and reduce the amount from 100 per cent to somewhere between 50 and 80 per cent. The amount will depend on the type of photo and how much pixelation you desire. Experiment with a few different percentages until you find the perfect balance.

  4. 4

    Save your work.

Tips and warnings

  • This effect works best with close-up images containing extensive detail. Animated images also work extremely well.
  • Sharpening your duplicate layer can also increase the detail of the pixelation. To do this, click "Filter" on your menu bar and select "Sharpen" from the drop-down menu.

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