photoshop distortion effects

How To Create A Glitch Effect In Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop allows photographers to create all kinds of cool effects in their photos that they might never have imagined before. The glitch effect is one of them.

What is a glitch effect, you ask? You might remember the frozen images and wavy lines that resulted from watching an out-of-tune TV station.

A glitch effect recreates that same surreal look in your photography. When done well, a glitch effect can make the most ordinary photo look striking and unique.

It’s sure to grab attention when you post it on your website or social media. And best of all, it’s not as hard to do as you might think. Here’s everything you need to know about how to create a glitch effect in Photoshop.

glitch effect

Choose The Right Photo

Not every photo is a good candidate for the glitch effect. You’ll want a photo with clear, sharp edges to make the effect really pop.

Once you’ve found the perfect photo, go ahead and open it in Photoshop.

Glitch Effect Tutorial


Before you begin, make sure you’ve set “Square” for your Type, and toggled on “Repeat Edge Pixels” from the Undefined Area menu.

Then you can begin the process by creating a new layer or two. Choose “Wave” from the “Filter: Distort” menu. Adjust your wavelength and amplitude to what you want.

Click “Randomize” until the Wave effect looks just as you want it to.

Glitch Effect In Photoshop


Wavy lines are one of the hallmarks of a good glitch effect. To create the look, you will first need to create a new layer. Then fill the background with white fill to increase contrast.

Next, go to Filter, and then Filter Gallery. Select “Halftone Pattern” from the Sketch dropdown, and select “Lines” for the Pattern Type.

Want to make the effect even more striking? Create another effects layer and add the Watercolor effect from the Artistic dropdown.

You can experiment with the ordering of these layers, too. Try first with the Halftone Effect on top of the Watercolor effect, and then the other way around to see what works the best for your image.

Photoshop Glitch Effect


Another aspect of a good glitch effect is color distortion. You can achieve this by first creating three additional layers, and then turning off different color channels for each.

You can find these channels in your Advanced Blending menu.

Start by unchecking just G (Green). Then try unchecking only R (Red). In the third layer, uncheck them both.

Then use “Free Transform” (Ctrl + T) to move one layer slightly to the left, and the second layer slightly to the right.

Then play with the saturation to get the exact amount of contrast that you want.

Glitch Effects

The Rectangular Marquee Tool

Glitch Effect Overlays

This tool allows you to select long, thin sections of an image and then move them with the Move tool. This adds to the glitchy, techno feel of the photo.

To enhance this look, you can even add distortions to the selected sections. Afterwards, use the Randomize tool to mimic the chaotic look of an out-of-tune broadcast.

Glitch Effect Tutorial

How To Create a Linear Glitch Distortion

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How To Create a Wavy Glitch Distortion

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How To Create a Simple 3D Effect

Step 1

Once again, merge your layers and create a duplicate by pressing Ctrl-J.

how to make glitch effect

Step 2

Right-click the top layer, with the other layers hidden, and open the Blending Options menu.

glitch in photoshop

Step 3

Under Advanced Blending, uncheck the G for Green Channel.

glitch effect tutorial

Step 4  

Do the same for the other layers, but also uncheck the Red Channel.

how to make a glitch effect

Step 5

Next, you will use the Move tool (V) to select sections of the Merged Copy layer to move with the Left Arrow key.

glitch effect photoshop

Step 6

Then right-click to choose Blending Options again, and set a Pattern Overlay to give the whole image a compelling blue tint.

glitch tutorial photoshop

Step 7

Then right-click to choose Blending Options again, and set a Pattern Overlay to give the whole image a compelling blue tint.

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Glitch Effects Photoshop Actions and Overlays You Can Download For Free

For a limited time, you can get all the actions and overlays you need for glitch effects, and much more, with a free download.

It’s a great opportunity to begin experimenting with glitch effects. In fact, your photography will never be the same.

So go ahead. Grab this free download and begin trying out glitch effects today.

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