Abstract Pixel Sorting Effect Photoshop Tutorial

How's it going everyone, this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Photoshop Today we're going to have some fun creating an abstract piece of artwork that features the Pixel Sorting effect, which is a type of glitch art that's usually generated by computer code, but we'll be replicating the appearance with Photoshop's built in filters

If you search for pixel sorting artwork on sites such as Pinterest you'll see some great surreal artworks where the effect is combined with a normal photograph, usually with these extended pixels drooping from a pair of sunglasses or in place of a subject's entire face That's exactly what we'll be producing in this tutorial, an abstract art piece that features a female face with long glitchy pixels that extend vertically from her sunglasses To begin, open your chosen base photo in Photoshop, you can find the images I used linked in the description This particular image has some extra white areas, so it needs quickly cropping to size This image looks like it has already been modified with some unusual graphics within the sunglasses area, but that will be hidden as we add the pixel sorting effect

We'll need a second photo to generate the glitchy pixels This can be any random image Once the effect is applied the original subject won't be recognisable If your image is a portrait layout, rotate it by 90 degrees to make it landscape, otherwise go to Image Size and reduce the size to the a smaller preset like 1024×768 We need the image to be quite a small resolution so we can see the pixels

Go to Filter > Stylize > Wind, then choose the Stagger option and From the Left Use the shortcut CMD+F to repeat the effect a few times to lengthen the pixels until the original subject is no longer recognisable Go to Select > All, followed by Copy, then paste the effect into the main document Since we scaled the image down, it's now too small for this document Rather than scale it back up and sacrifice the crisp pixels, instead delete the layer, scale down the image slightly, then paste it back in

Press CMD+T to Transform, then hold Shift while rotating the image to 90 degrees Position it over the sunglasses lenses Add a layer mask, then hide the visibility for now Use the elliptical marquee tool to draw a selection around the first sunglasses lens The selection doesn't have to match perfectly along the bottom edge

Go to Select > Inverse, then use the CMD+Backspace shortcut to fill this selection with black to hide everything but this circle Deselect with the CMD+D shortcut, then draw a new selection around the other lens Since the artwork is already hidden by the mask, use the ALT+Backspace shortcut to fill it with white to make this portion visible again Switch the selection tool over to the Rectangular Marquee tool and align a selection to the width of the first lens circle Right click and choose Transform Selection, then extend it right to the bottom of the canvas

Hit Enter to apply the transformation, then fill this area with white to reveal the rest of the glitchy pixels Do the same with the other side, to make the pixel sorting effect appear to flow out of the sunglasses and down the canvas The effect isn't large enough to reach all the way off the edge of the canvas, so disconnect the layer from its mask by clicking the little chainlink icon, then activate the artwork portion of the layer Press CMD+T to Transform, then stretch the image so it extends to the bottom of the canvas Colour adjustments can be made to finish off the effect

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, then hold the ALT key while clicking between the layers to make a clipping mask with the pixel sorting layer, so the effect will only apply to this layer and not the image as a whole Move the hue slider back and forth to alter the colours of the pixels to find colours that complement the base photo You can also add a Gradient Map to add some extra colour casts I'm using a preset from my free DuoTone gradients, with the blending mode changed to Lighten and the opacity dropped to 50% The final result is a cool surreal piece of abstract artwork that makes use of the popular Pixel Sorting effect

While the original glitch art is created randomly with computer code, replicating the effect with Photoshop gives you much more control to be able to produce fun creations like this If you enjoyed the tutorial be sure to stick around on the Spoon Graphics YouTube channel by subscribing Check out my free Pixel Sorting Action over on my Spoon Graphics website and bag yourself my free resources bundle while you're there, otherwise thank you very much for watching and I'll see you in the next one

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