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  2. Affinity Photo

How to Make Glitch Effects in Affinity Photo

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Read Time: 11 min
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you how to create a glitched effect on a photo and a glitch text effect in Affinity Photo. Glitch effects are a great way of creating a retro VHS look, and I'll show you how.

If you don't have the time to learn how to make a glitch effect, you can always try Envato Elements, where you will find a collection of fonts, graphics, photos, and add-ons. This detailed glitch style font is just one of the many examples.

System glitch font available on Envato ElementsSystem glitch font available on Envato ElementsSystem glitch font available on Envato Elements

What You'll Learn in This Affinity Photo Glitch Effect Tutorial

  • How to make a glitch effect on text
  • How to add a glitch effect to an image
  • How to move RGB channels in Affinity Photo
  • How to apply Live effects in Affinity Photo

Tutorial Assets

You'll need the following resources in order to complete this project:

1. How to Make a New Document in Affinity Photo

Launch Affinity Photo and go to File > New to open the New Document window. Type in the dimensions needed whilst keeping the resolution at 72 dpi, the Units to Pixels, and the Color format to RGB. Hit Create.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences and in the Tools section, set the Nudge Distance to 1 px. You are ready to start!

how to open a new document in affinity photohow to open a new document in affinity photohow to open a new document in affinity photo

2. How to Make a Glitch Effect on Text in Affinity Photo

Step 1

First, take the Rectangle Tool (U) and draw a shape that covers the entire artboard. Set the fill color to black and the stroke color to none. This will be the background for the glitch text effect.

how to make a black background in Affinity photohow to make a black background in Affinity photohow to make a black background in Affinity photo

Step 2

Now, take the Artistic Text Tool (T) and write "GLITCH" in the center of the background using the Frank Regular font, with a size of 300 pt. In the Character panel (View > Studio > Character), make sure to increase the Tracking from 0% to 150% so the letters have more space between them.

how to type the glitch text with Artistic type toolhow to type the glitch text with Artistic type toolhow to type the glitch text with Artistic type tool

Step 3

Take a look at the Layers panel. Keep the GLITCH text layer selected and go to Layer > Duplicate twice. As a result, you will have three text layers in total (1).

Select the GLITCH text layer at the bottom and go to the Effects panel (View > Studio > Effects). Check the Color Overlay effect to activate it, and then set the color to bright red. Keep the Opacity at 100%. Move this text layer a little to the left, around 5-8 px, by pressing the Left Arrow key on your keyboard eight times (2).

how to create red text with color overlay effecthow to create red text with color overlay effecthow to create red text with color overlay effect

Step 4

Now, select the second text layer and check the Color Overlay effect in the Effects panel. Set the color to cyan; then move the layer around 8 px to the right by pressing the Right Arrow key on your keyboard.

The red and cyan color glitch effect is starting to come together, right?

how to create cyan text with color overlay effecthow to create cyan text with color overlay effecthow to create cyan text with color overlay effect

Step 5

Before you continue, while the three text layers stay selected in the Layers panel, go to Arrange > Group (Control-G).

Take the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and use it to make a thin selection over the letter G. Continue to make more selections over the letter and also on the other letters, as shown in the image below. Keep the Add Mode active so that each new selection is added to the previous ones. Once done, click on the Mask Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel in order to mask the text group.

how to make selections on text and maskhow to make selections on text and maskhow to make selections on text and mask

Step 6

While the masked group stays selected in the Layers panel, go to Layer > Duplicate. Open the copy of the group, select only the mask, and go to Layer > Invert (Control-I). Now the GLITCH text appears whole again.

how to duplicate and invert maskhow to duplicate and invert maskhow to duplicate and invert mask

Step 7

Select the first text group in the Layers panel and move it a little to the left using the Move Tool (V). The glitch text effect is starting to come together now.

how to move layers to make a glitch effecthow to move layers to make a glitch effecthow to move layers to make a glitch effect

Step 8

Select the two text groups in the Layers panel but make sure to disable the black background. Go to Layer > Merge Visible and you will obtain a new layer at the top. Now, you can make the background visible again and disable the two text groups because you don't need them from this point onward.

how to merge two layer groupshow to merge two layer groupshow to merge two layer groups

Step 9

Keep the new Pixel layer selected in the Layers panel and go to Filters > Distort > Pixelate. Apply a Quantization of 5 to 8 and hit Apply. This action will create the pixelated look of the glitched effect.

how to apply pixelate effect how to apply pixelate effect how to apply pixelate effect

Step 10

While the Pixel layer is still selected in the Layers panel, go to Layer > Duplicate twice in order to get two other copies of it above. We will apply an effect to each one of them next.

Let's start with the first Pixel layer at the bottom. Make sure it is selected in the Layers panel, and go to Layer > New Live Filter Layer > Blur > Motion Blur. Apply a Radius of 25 px and set the Angle to the left or right, meaning 0 degrees or 180 degrees.

We are applying live effects because they can be edited later. You can reopen the Motion Blur window (or any other Live effect window) at any time by double-clicking on the effect in the Layers panel to change the settings, if needed. The Pixelate effect applied earlier is not available as a Live effect, unfortunately.
how to apply live motion blur effecthow to apply live motion blur effecthow to apply live motion blur effect

Step 11

Next, select the third Pixel layer, which is at the top of the Layers panel. Go again to Layer > New Live Filter Layer > Blur > Motion Blur and apply a Radius of about 12 px this time.

Set the Blending mode of the layer to Multiply.

how to apply live motion blur effect twicehow to apply live motion blur effect twicehow to apply live motion blur effect twice

Step 12

And finally, select the second Pixel layer, which is the middle of the two. Go to Layer > New Live Filter Layer > Noise > Add Noise and apply an Intensity of 25%. Keep the rest of the settings as they are. If you zoom in, you will see the noise added to the glitch text effect.

how to apply live noise effecthow to apply live noise effecthow to apply live noise effect

Step 13

This is the final look of the Affinity Photo glitch effect using text.

glitch text effect on black backgroundglitch text effect on black backgroundglitch text effect on black background

3. How to Make a Glitch Effect on a Photo in Affinity Photo

Step 1

Let's take the look of the final result to the next level by adding a glitch effect background. The process to add a glitch effect to an image is a bit different from what you've learned so far but has some things in common too. Let's see!

Start by opening the image in Affinity Photo by going to File > Open and locating the image on your computer. I will use the Deer in winter forest photo from Envato Elements. Duplicate the background layer and rename the copy deer.

how to open a photo in affinity photohow to open a photo in affinity photohow to open a photo in affinity photo

Step 2

While the deer layer stays selected, take a look at the Channels panel (View > Studio > Channels). The Channels panel displays the color channels and alpha channel for the whole image or the selected layer. By default, all color channels are visible and editable, and you can apply filters directly to the channels to obtain all kinds of cool photo effects, just like in this case for the glitch effect.

Select the Composite Red channel, and you will notice that the image turns black and white. This is okay. Go to Filter > Distort > Shear and move the end points of the vertical line just a little bit to the left. See the difference between the default (1) and the moved points (2).

You will also notice a gray edge appearing on the right side of your image. That is how much you are actually moving the channel. Hit Apply.

how to move the composite red channel with shear effecthow to move the composite red channel with shear effecthow to move the composite red channel with shear effect

Step 3

Now, go back to the Channels panel and hit the Reset arrow in the top-right corner. Just like that, the red and cyan color glitch effect is done.

By applying the Shear effect to the Composite Green or Composite Blue channels, you will obtain a different colored glitch effect. Try it out!
how to reset the RGB channels how to reset the RGB channels how to reset the RGB channels

Step 4

The next step is similar to the technique used for the glitch text effect. Grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and start to make thin selections of various lengths over the deer photo. You can make as many as you want. Make sure the Add Mode is active so that each new selection is added to the previous ones.

Once done, switch to the Move Tool (V) and move them a little to the left or to the right. Follow up with Select > Deselect.

how to make and move selections on photohow to make and move selections on photohow to make and move selections on photo

Step 5

Keep the deer layer selected in the Layers panel and go to Layer > Duplicate to make a copy of it above. We will apply the Halftone effect to the new layer to add texture and improve the overall glitch look of the photo. Go to Layer > New Live Filter Layer > Colors > Halftone and apply the settings shown. Feel free to play with the settings and test what works best for your image.

how to add a lines texture on photo with halftone effecthow to add a lines texture on photo with halftone effecthow to add a lines texture on photo with halftone effect

Step 6

With the line texture obtained by applying the Halftone effect, the glitched effect looks more realistic. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to about 30% but this depends on every photo.

Don't forget that you can reopen the Halftone effect at any time and change the settings at a later point, if needed. This is the beauty of a live effect.
how to set the blending mode of halftone texturehow to set the blending mode of halftone texturehow to set the blending mode of halftone texture

Step 7

An extra step that you can take is to crop the image and remove the gray edge on the right side that resulted from moving the Composite Red channel. Use the Crop Tool (C) to achieve this.

Go ahead and export the image as a JPEG by going to File > Export.

how to crop the image in affinity photohow to crop the image in affinity photohow to crop the image in affinity photo

Step 8

The glitch effect background is now ready to be used behind the glitch text effect made earlier or in another project. Place it inside your document by going to File > Place and locating the image on your computer.

how to import background image how to import background image how to import background image

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is our final Affinity Photo glitch effect. Feel free to adjust this glitched effect and make it your own by using other color overlays or moving another of the composite channels. You will get a different result. Try it out!

You can find a lot of sources of inspiration and resources ready to be used at Envato Elements, from glitch fonts to editable glitch graphics, glitch add-ons, and so much more.

affinity photo glitch effects final imageaffinity photo glitch effects final imageaffinity photo glitch effects final image

Envato Elements is an excellent resource for fonts, text effects, and graphics. Here's a short list of some of the most popular resources that you can find.

Uncracked Glitch Font (OTF, TTF, WOFF, WOFF2)

No time to waste? Grab this detailed glitch font that's already made and ready to use. It's perfect for gaming, music covers, posters, and other cool projects that you might have. 

Uncracked font available on Envato Elements Uncracked font available on Envato Elements Uncracked font available on Envato Elements

Mokoto Font (TTF, OTF, PSD)

Take your project to the next level and instantly give it a futuristic feel by using this glitch font. Use it successfully for headers, modern posters, motion graphics, gaming, music covers, posters, and so much more.

Mokoto font available on Envato Elements Mokoto font available on Envato Elements Mokoto font available on Envato Elements

Avalon Glitch Font (OTF, WOFF2)

This glitch font is a great option for all things sci-fi, tech, and futuristic. Try it for a cool and modern logo too!

Avalon font available on Envato Elements Avalon font available on Envato Elements Avalon font available on Envato Elements

Glitch Instagram (PSD, PDF)

Get your hands on 30 cool glitch and light effects posts specially made for social media. They have editable text, fonts, and colors, so you can customize them as you please and post, post, post!

Glitch instagram posts from Envato Elements Glitch instagram posts from Envato Elements Glitch instagram posts from Envato Elements

Glitch Text or Logo Effects (PSD, PDF)

Here's a unique collection of glitch text effects in different styles for you to choose from. They are easy to edit, so you can use whichever one works best in your project. You will surely find a winner here!

Glitch effects collection available on Envato Elements Glitch effects collection available on Envato Elements Glitch effects collection available on Envato Elements

Want to Learn More About Affinity Photo?

We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!

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