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How to Create a Pixel Stretch in Photoshop

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

Do you want to learn how to pixel stretch in Photoshop? Today I will show you how to stretch pixels in Photoshop using standard Photoshop tools! Let’s go!

If you are looking for a pixel stretch plugin, take a look at StretchMatic on Envato Elements—it's a great tool with endless creative possibilities. Stretch your images, shapes, or text layers in a few simple clicks.

StretchMatic - Photoshop PluginStretchMatic - Photoshop PluginStretchMatic - Photoshop Plugin

What You Will Learn in This Pixel Stretch Effect Photoshop Tutorial

  • How to prepare an image to create a Photoshop stretch effect
  • How to create a pixel stretch Photoshop effect
  • How to add effects to your pixel stretch image

Tutorial Assets

The following image was used during the production of this pixel stretch Photoshop tutorial:

If you prefer to learn via video, watch how to stretch pixels in Photoshop on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube Channel:

1. How to Prepare an Image to Create a Photoshop Stretch Effect

Step 1

Let’s start by opening our image. Hit Control-O and select the image you want to use.

opening the imageopening the imageopening the image

Step 2

Go to Select > Subject to select the snowboarder.

selecting the subjectselecting the subjectselecting the subject

Step 3

Refine the selection using the Lasso Tool (L). Hold Shift to expand the selection or Alt to decrease the selection.

refining the selectionrefining the selectionrefining the selection

Step 4

Once you’ve finished making the selection, hit Control-J to create a duplicate of it.

cutting out the selectioncutting out the selectioncutting out the selection

Step 5

Now, we need to pick the Rectangular Marquee Tool and make a vertical selection, as shown in the image below:

cutting the part of the figurecutting the part of the figurecutting the part of the figure

Step 6

Cut out the selection using Control-J, and then Move this new layer to the left.

moving the part of the selectionmoving the part of the selectionmoving the part of the selection

Step 7

Hit Control-R to activate the Rulers, and then drag a line to the top of the layer.

creating a ruler linecreating a ruler linecreating a ruler line

Step 8

Make a selection and create another copy using Control-J, and move this new layer to the left. Then put it on top of the previous rectangle.

creating second selectioncreating second selectioncreating second selection

Step 9

And finally, select this layer in the Layers panel, and Right Click > Merge Down.

Merging layer downMerging layer downMerging layer down

2. How to Stretch in Photoshop

Step 1

In this section, we'll create a pixel stretch effect. You need to find the Single Column Marquee Tool in the Tools panel. Use it to make a selection in the center of your rectangle.

Using Single Column Marquee ToolUsing Single Column Marquee ToolUsing Single Column Marquee Tool

Step 2

Then hit Control-J and make the previous layer Invisible.

creating a small rectangle for pixel stretch effectcreating a small rectangle for pixel stretch effectcreating a small rectangle for pixel stretch effect

Step 3

To use the drag effect Photoshop tool, you need to press Control-T and then hold Shift and drag the frame horizontally.

creating a pixel stretch effectcreating a pixel stretch effectcreating a pixel stretch effect

Step 4

Put this new layer below the Snowboarder layer.

moving the pixel stretch layermoving the pixel stretch layermoving the pixel stretch layer

Step 5

Now you know how to stretch an image in Photoshop, but let’s make our effect even better. Press Control-T and then activate the Warp Tool.

Activating the warp toolActivating the warp toolActivating the warp tool

Step 6

Select the top-left point of the Warp Tool and drag it down.

creating a pixel stretch effect with warp toolcreating a pixel stretch effect with warp toolcreating a pixel stretch effect with warp tool

Step 7

After that, take the second point from the top and drag it up.

moving the second point of the warp toolmoving the second point of the warp toolmoving the second point of the warp tool

Step 8

Drag the bottom right point up and then move it to the right side.

moving the third point of the warp toolmoving the third point of the warp toolmoving the third point of the warp tool

Step 9

And finally, select the third bottom point and drag it down. Then press Enter.

moving the fourth pointmoving the fourth pointmoving the fourth point

3. How to Make Your Pixel Stretch Effect Photoshop Image Look Better

Step 1

Create a copy of your drag effect Photoshop layer using Control-J.

making a duplicate of the pixel stretch effectmaking a duplicate of the pixel stretch effectmaking a duplicate of the pixel stretch effect

Step 2

Change the Blend Mode of the first layer to Hard Light and the Opacity to 95%.

Change the blend mode and the opacity of the layerChange the blend mode and the opacity of the layerChange the blend mode and the opacity of the layer

Step 3

Double-click on the first layer and add an Outer Glow with the following settings:

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 38%
  • Color: White
  • Spread: 15%
  • Size: 50
adding outer glow effectadding outer glow effectadding outer glow effect

Step 4

Select the second layer and change its Blending Mode to Color.

changing the blend mode of the layerchanging the blend mode of the layerchanging the blend mode of the layer

Step 5

Let’s go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to 15.

creating hue saturation adjustment layercreating hue saturation adjustment layercreating hue saturation adjustment layer

Step 6

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and use the settings you can see below:

Creating a curves adjustments layerCreating a curves adjustments layerCreating a curves adjustments layer

Step 7

And for the last step, change the Opacity of the layer to 64%.

changing the opacity of the adjustment layerchanging the opacity of the adjustment layerchanging the opacity of the adjustment layer

Awesome Work, You’re Now Done!

Today you’ve learned how to pixel stretch in Photoshop using simple tools. Try the method we used in this pixel stretch Photoshop tutorial on other images to create more amazing artworks. Let us know if you're also interested in a circular pixel stretch effect Photoshop tutorial in the comments on YouTube!

How to Stretch in Photoshop With Actions or Add-ons From Envato Elements

If you are looking for pixel stretch effects and other creative actions, take a look at this collection of Photoshop products available on Envato Elements:

StretchMatic Photoshop Plugin (ZXP, ATN, HTML, PDF)

Wondering how to stretch an image in Photoshop? Use StretchMatic! This creative add-on will give you infinite possibilities for creating pixel stretch effects. Creating this kind of effect has never been so easy. Take a look at the demo video to see all the features!

StretchMatic - Photoshop PluginStretchMatic - Photoshop PluginStretchMatic - Photoshop Plugin

Artistic Pixel Sorter: Photoshop Actions (ATN, TXT)

This is another amazing action with really impressive results! Save your time and choose one of four different actions with a great variety of glitch effects. Besides that, you will find 20 color correction presets and a detailed video with instructions.

Artistic Pixel Sorter - Photoshop ActionsArtistic Pixel Sorter - Photoshop ActionsArtistic Pixel Sorter - Photoshop Actions

Chromatic Glitch Text Effect (PSD)

Do you like glitch aesthetics? Try these amazing effects to create distorted posters, flyers, and artworks. Try different color options to get the result you like more. This effect will work with any font, and the written guide will help you start creating masterpieces quickly.

Chromatic Glitch Text Effect Chromatic Glitch Text Effect Chromatic Glitch Text Effect

30 Digital Glitch Photoshop Stamp Brushes (ABR)

Once you've created your artwork by following our pixel stretch Photoshop tutorial, you might want to add more creative elements to your composition. Check out this amazing collection of glitch brushes! All the brushes are in high resolution (up to 2500 pixels) and work in any version of Photoshop. You can use them to create overlays, make visual elements for your digital artworks, or add decorative elements to your photos.

Chromatic Glitch Text Effect Chromatic Glitch Text Effect Chromatic Glitch Text Effect

Liquid Melting Text Effects v01 (PSD)

Liquid melting effects are still a big trend! This PSD effect is extremely easy to use and will create impressive results in a few simple clicks. The three different PSD files with beautiful effects will not disappoint you.

Liquid Melting Text Effects v01Liquid Melting Text Effects v01Liquid Melting Text Effects v01

Want to learn how to create more creative effects? Check out these other tutorials from our site:

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