How to Create Pixelated Effects

Written by william carne
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How to Create Pixelated Effects
A pixel effect can make an image appear pixelated as a whole or in parts. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Pixels are the small, square, coloured dots that make up a digital image. Creating pixel effects can give an image an interesting stylistic design or "computerized" feel. Thanks to filters in many of today's common image editors, such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and Corel PaintShop Photo Pro, creating your own pixel effect is a fairly straightforward process that any image editor novice should be able to pull off quite well.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open your image editor and the file you want to work on.

  2. 2

    Open the "Layers" palette located in the "Windows" menu. Click on the small triangle at the top right of the palette and select "Duplicate Layer."

  3. 3

    Choose "Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic" to open a pixel effect dialogue box. Ensure the "Preview" box is checked and move the "Cell size" slider left or right until the pixels are the size you want. Click "OK."

  4. 4

    Create a "Layer Mask" from the Layers palette using the icon at the bottom. Click on the layer mask in the palette window. Select the colour white, and using the "Paint Bucket" tool, fill the entire layer in white.

  5. 5

    Choose black as your primary colour and select a large feathered brush. Paint black wherever you want the image to appear normal, and allow the white to stay wherever you want the image to appear pixelated. When finished, save your work.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't want your image to appear 100 per cent pixelated, try lowering the opacity of the duplicate layer you created.

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