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

How To Set Up the Glitch Effect

Glitch Effect Tutorial

Step 1

First, you’ll want to choose just the right photo. The glitch effect works best if your subject has clearly defined lines and edges.

It also helps to choose a photo with a plain background, in a solid color and without any distracting noise. If the photo has no background at all, that’s OK too.

Then simply double-click on the background and press Control-Shift-N to create a New Layer.

Glitch Effect In Photoshop

Step 2

Next, use the Paint bucket tool to Fill the layer with white.

Once you’ve done this, you are ready to extract the subject using the Magnetic Lasso Tool. When you’ve selected the desired area in the photo, just right-click and choose “Layer via Copy” to create a duplicate you can work with.

Photoshop Glitch Effect

Step 3

Then, use the Free Transform Tool to pull in the sides of the selected image, exposing some of your white background.

In the absence of a background, you can also use the Rectangle Tool to select the desired section of the image.

Glitch Effects

How To Desaturate a Photo

Step 1

To achieve the monochrome appearance of a glitch effect, click on the selected section of your photo and choose “Image.” Choose “Adjustments,” and then “Hue & Saturation.”

Move the slider for “Saturation” down to -95. This will remove most of the color, giving you a monochromatic palette to work with.

Glitch Effect Overlays

Step 2

If you want the monochromatic look to be even more dramatic, choose “Levels” from the Image Adjustments menu, and adjust the RGB Levels. Setting the Shadow Input Level to 0 can lighten your subject, enhancing the effect.

What you do next depends on what kind of glitch effect you want to achieve.

Glitch Effect Tutorial

How To Create a Linear Glitch Distortion

Step 1

Want that unique “jagged edge” look to your lines? Merge your two layers together, and then open the Rectangular Marquee Tool. 

glitch image

Step 2

Hold down the Shift key as you select two narrow sections at the top of your photo, and one section along the bottom.

photoshop glitch art

Press the V key to Move these sections to the Left.

glitch effect photoshop tutorial

Step 3

After creating a duplicate, go ahead and do the same things to other sections of the photo, experimenting with the Left and Right arrow keys to move the sections in different directions.

glitch tutorial photoshop

Step 4

Create even more Rectangular Selections, using the Move Tool (V) to move the different sections out of place.

glitch effect in photoshop

The final glitch effect will look something like this.

glitch photoshop

How To Create a Wavy Glitch Distortion

Step 1

First, merge your original layer with the layer to which you’ve added your effects. Then press Ctrl-J to create a duplicate.

how to do glitch effect in photoshop

Step 2

Next, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select several sections of your photo.

Photoshop Glitch Effect

Step 3

When you’ve done this, go to “Filter,” followed by “Distort” and “Wave.”

glitch effects photoshop

Step 4

Adjust the settings to create the wavy look you want.

When it’s done well, some sections of the photo will look like they’re swirling around in liquid form.

glitch effect For Photos

Step 5

Select the bottom of the image with the Rectangular Marquee Tool and apply the Wave Filter with the following settings.

glitch photo effect photoshop

Step 6

Repeat the same process for the top portion, this time changing the settings to the following ones.

distortion effect photoshop

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.

photoshop distortion effects
how to make glitches

It’s that easy to create a glitch effect like the one below. So follow all the steps mentioned above and create glitch effects on your photos.

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