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  2. Glitch
Design

How to Create a Set of Glitches in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
This post is part of a series called How to Make Glitch Art.
How to Create an Easy Digital Glitch Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a Glitch Effect Poster in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Experimental glitches are not only used to depict the 80s—nowadays they're also used to convey a robotic, trendy feel. Here is a quick and easy way to create this trend in Adobe Photoshop! 

Looking for amazing fonts and Photoshop addons? Head on over to GraphicRiver.

What You'll Need to Create Your Poster

You will need the following resource in order to complete this tutorial:

1. How to Create the Base of the Glitch

Step 1

In Photoshop, go to File > New. Name the document Glitch_Set. Set the Width to 1270 px and Height to 1600 px. Set the Resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch. Click OK.

Create a new Photoshop file

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (U), create a stripe at the top of the page. Head over to the Options bar and change the fill color to #ff0000. On the Layers panel, duplicate the Rectangle 1 layer by pressing Command-J. Change the color again, but this time to #00ff00. Place the rectangle under the first red rectangle. Duplicate the rectangle once more and set the color to #0000ff.

With the Rectangle Tool create horizontal lines in green blue and red colors

Step 3

Now we need to fill the page with the rectangles we created. Select the rectangle layers and, on the page, click on the elements and press Option-Shift and drag to duplicate. Do this until you’ve covered the whole page. 

Select all the Rectangle layers and Right-click > Rasterize Layers. Now we can merge the layers—while selecting all the layers, Right-click > Merge Layers. Let’s rename the layer as Main. Now we have the basis to create our set of glitches.

Fill the all of the page with the lines

2. Glitch A

Step 1

On the Layers panel, duplicate the Main layer by selecting the layer and pressing Command-J. Hide the original Main layer. While selecting the newly duplicated layer, head over to Filter > Distort > Wave. The Wave options window will pop up, and now we can experiment! 

Let’s start by setting the Type: of wave to Sine. We will be able to see how the artwork changes through the small view window. I am setting the Number of Generators to 999, Wavelength to Min. 1 and Max. 21, Amplitude to Min. 1 and Max. 2, and Scale to 100%.

Rasterize the horizontal lines and apply the Wave filter

Step 2

Head over to Filter > Distort > Shear. To make the glitch look like a disrupted VHS tape, we need to create waves. Under Undefined Areas, select Wrap Around and add points on the grip—this is to create waves on the composition. I added various points, and I find it works better when the points are random and have sharp turns. 

On the same layer use the Shear filter

Step 3

We can leave this as is or change the color by adding a solid color or a Gradient layer over it. We can also create a black and white look by going to Adjustment Layer > Black & White on the Layers panel and tweaking the color separately. I will do the latter as it will come in handy to create Glitch C. 

Let’s organize the first glitch by dragging the duplicated layer and the black and white layer into a folder at the bottom of the Layers panel. Let’s hide the visibility and move on to Glitch B. 

Add a black and white adjustment layer

3. Glitch B

Step 1

Duplicate the Main layer with the stripe by pressing Command-J when selecting it. Move the layer to the very top of the layers. 

Duplicate the stripes

Step 2

Head over to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. I am using the following settings: Max. Radius: 20, Channel 1: 108, Channel 2: 162, Channel 3: 90, and Channel 4: 45. Click OK. The reason we are doing this step is so that when we apply the Wave effect, the divisions will look rougher compared to Glitch A. 

Apply a color halftone filter

Step 3

Go to Filter > Distort > Wave. Let’s set the Type: of wave to Square. We will be able to see how the artwork changes through the small view window. I am setting the Number of Generators to 720, Wavelength to Min. 270 and Max. 365, Amplitude to Min. 1 and Max. 2, and Scale to 100%. Click OK. 

Now we have our second glitch. As with Glitch A, go ahead and organize it in a folder.

Apply the wave filter

4. Glitch C

Step 1

Duplicate the Main layer twice with the stripe by pressing Command-J when selecting it. Move the layer to the very top of the layers.

Duplicate the horizontal lines

Step 2

Select one of them and go to Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer  > Black & White. Right click on the new layer and select Create Clipping Mask. This is to apply this new Adjustment layer only to the one after it.

Create a black and white clipping mask over the horizontal lines

Step 3

Select the layer after it and go to Filter > Distort > Wave. The Wave options window will pop up. Set the Type: of wave to Sine, and under Undefined Areas select Wrap Around. We will be able to see how the artwork changes through the small view window. I am setting the Number of Generators to 999, Wavelength to Min. 1 and Max. 999, Amplitude to Min. 999 and Max. 999, and Scale to 100%. Click OK. Apply this effect twice to get an even finer scratchy look.

Apply the wave effect twice to create a scratchy look

Step 4

Click on the Black & White Adjustment layer and tweak the colors on the Properties panel. If you don’t have the panel, double click on the layer thumbnail. I changed the color Red to 300 and lowered the Green to -120.

You can adjust the settings of the black and white clipping mask to add contrast to the layer

Step 5

Let’s do the same with the second layer we duplicated in Step 1. We can repeat Step 3, but this time in color, without the Black & White Adjustment Layer.

On the toolbar, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). With this tool, we can select the parts that we want to delete to reveal the black and white layer behind it. Don’t be afraid to duplicate layers and experiment. You can get the best result by just playing with the layers and settings to create something that is yours! 

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool you can delete certain parts of the layer to reveal the back

Step 6

Don’t forget that this effect also works with text. Using the Text Tool (T), add any kind of text. I added the word TEST in Bw Nista International Black and color #0000ff. Try to fill the whole page. On the Layers panel, select the text layer and Right click > Rasterize Type. Once you have the text set, repeat the Wave effect by going to Filter > Distort > Wave. Feel free to play with the settings! 

You can also apply the Wave effect on text

Awesome Work—You're Done!

Congratulations! In this tutorial, you've learned to:

  • Use the Wave effect to create a unique glitch set from scratch.
  • Use the Color Halftone effect to your advantage. 
  • Experiment! Scratchy and techno designs can be difficult to create because of the randomness, and experimenting with colors and various methods is the only way to achieve it!  

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