featured glitch effect image of a girl wearing round glasses

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.

Step 1 : 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 step 1 image showing photoshop interface with the original girl image imported

Step 2 - Convert The Image To Black & White

Use the “Desaturate” option in Adjustments or press Shift+ctrl+U to convert your image to black & white.

glitch effect step 2 adding desaturate effect to the imported girl image

Step 3: Duplicate The Layer

Duplicate the layer by dragging the layer into the new layer.

glitch effect step 3 duplicating the desaturated girl image

Step 4: Double Click To Make The Layer Pop

Double click on the new layer to see Layer style popup. Click on the red channel to uncheck.

glitch effect step 4 selecting layer style on the duplicated layer

Step 5: Create A Anaglyph Effect

Hold the Shift key and nudge or move the layer to left or right using cursor left & right keys. You will see an anaglyph effect.

glitch effect step 5 adding anaglyph effect on the duplicated layer

Step 6: Select The Marquee Tool

Select the Marquee tool(M) & draw a wide rectangle across a portion of the image

glitch effect step 6 using marquee tool on the duplicated layer

Step 7: Select The Move Tool

Select move tool (V) nudge or move the selection from left to right or right to left. 

Next go to Select > Deselect to remove the selection and repeat this process elsewhere.

glitch effect step 6 using marquee tool on the duplicated layer

Step 8: Remove The Selection

Continue with this process of selection and nudging to right & left directions haphazardly all over. You can use bigger & small selections for better results.

Stop this process when you are satisfied with the results.

glitch effect step 7 moving the selected marquee tool regions on the duplicated layer

Step 9: Add A New Layer

Add a new layer and fill it with white color.

Right click on the layer & convert it to Smart Object.

glitch effect step 8 adding a new solid white layer and converting it to a smart object

Step 10: Create A Line Pattern

Now goto filter > filter gallery. Under the Sketch category choose halftone effect. Next change the Pattern type to Line. Max out the Contrast level to full and reduce the size however required.

Because we converted the layer to a smart object, you can always edit the size till you reach the desired results.

glitch effect step 9 adding black lines to the white solid layer using patterns

Step 11: Change Blending Mode To Overlay

Change this layer’s blending mode to overlay. So that the layer becomes show through. You can reduce the fill layer so that lines are less prominent.

glitch effect step 10 change the blend mode of white solid layer to darken

Step 13: Import Any Image Of Your Choice

To add some color to the image. Import any gradient type or color background or textures.

glitch effect step 11 opening a new background image in a separate tab

Step 14: Cover The Image With Gradient

Select the entire image & copy it. Paste the image on the effect image. Select the image & transform it to cover the entire image. Using Ctrl+T.

You will see the entire canvas covered now with the new image.

glitch effect step 12 adding the new background image on top of the existing layers

Step 15: Cover The Image With Gradient

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to “Overlay”. 

glitch effect step 13 changing the blend mode of the image to overlay

Choose the fill value of this layer and reduce it.

glitch effect step 14 reduce the fill amount to 54%

Choose the fill value of this layer and reduce it.

glitch effect step 15 add a curves adjustment layer on top of the layers

Step 16: Adjust Shadows

Goto level adjustment layer. Adjust the Shadow levels into a darker gray. Your final glitch effect is ready.

final image of girl wearing round glasses with glitch effect applied

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