Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Image courtesy of dolgachov, 123RF.

The glitch effect. When visualized, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic color television static that appeared when you lost a signal.

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Nostalgia, anyone? − Image courtesy of rusnickel, 123RF.

Or maybe you might think of having experienced a glitch on a website while browsing. Perhaps even during a very buggy gameplay, if you’re a gamer. For example, your character might appear on a different dimension or parallel plane in-game that shouldn’t be appearing on screen.

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

If you’re not a gamer, just channel your inner nerd. − Image courtesy of dolgachov, 123RF.

When we’re playing around with creative programs like Pixlr, Inkscape or Photoshop, we get to experiment with pretty interesting image effects. While the glitch effect may have been on the market for some time, it’s been appearing everywhere. If you’ve been exploring sites like Tumblr or Reddit, chances are this effect may have popped up on your feed. Many Tumblr users dabble in GIFs or graphics with the glitch effect for purely aesthetic or humorous reasons.

The Glitch Effect – A Little More Than Just Digital Aesthetic

The glitch effect might have a dark history to its origins. It’s an old art form that signifies the presence of flaws or errors in the original image. Intentional errors in an image or a GIF provides an added impact to the viewer. In the subject of film, glitches are also used as an additional twist in some horror movies. You know – a TV turning on with a flickering screen when the main character walks into the room. And in sci-fi themed shows that have a robot or AI awakening, or in thrillers – glitchy CCTV screens that signal an intruder within the house.

Likewise, in static imagery, the glitch effect has also risen to popularity with its intentionally flawed nature. According to the Periphery Mag, glitch art starts conversations that traditional art forms can’t really access, just by the nature of how it’s created. How much do we control our technology, and how much does it control us? Can technology ever transcend the imperfection inherent in its human creators? What does it mean if we can reclaim the “errors” in our computers, phones, and cameras and repurpose them as our tools? The essence of glitch art is pretty simple: humans subject themselves to technology and exert control over it to a greater or lesser extent to produce a piece of artwork that is a product of both the creator’s intention and the device’s whims.

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Image courtesy of the7dew, 123RF.

There are a few types of glitch effects you can make on your own, all of which involve the use of a creative program or two. For images with this effect, the technique is pretty basic. Simply grab an image of your preference and select specific parts of your image. Then begin by adjusting the size and placement of each of the selected parts that make up the glitches. The channel or VHS glitch, as it’s more prominently called, is the more famously known effect in both static and GIF or animation frames. Some designers also use several layers of different colors to produce the glitch effect, while others use a noise gradient. Glitch art can also be made using sound effects. Overall, most of these methods can create the desired distortion effect that glitch art is so famous for.

In the 3D world, the glitch effect slipped itself into the fashion industry, setting a wearable trend with vibrant colors. It appealed to art directors and fashion designers everywhere, whereupon they embraced this trend with open arms. Too often we find ourselves fascinated by the flickering presence of flaws and errors in the digital era.

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

A colorful glitch-inspired overcoat created by Japanese designers Nukeme & Ucnv. Image via Creators.

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Chad Wys via PICDIT

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

ADC Young Guns Identity Posters by Grand Army

Typography with Glitch Effects

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Font and numbers set with a glitch effect, on a futuristic retro background – Image courtesy of nrey, 123RF

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Vector distorted glitch typeface – Image courtesy of Igor Dresvyannikov, 123RF

Get Distorted: Delving Into The Digital Image Glitch Effect

Glitch effect on a psychedelic background – Image courtesy of Anna Zakharchenko, 123RF

Glitch art can be described in many ways. Some may interpret it as eerie. Others may describe it as abstract, while a large handful may call it bizarre. And while this art movement may lose traction with the ever-changing minds of trendsetters, it will never die out. Instead, think of the glitch effect as something that evolves with the pace of growing technology.

Discover more glitch art in our image library, or maybe work your way through a couple tutorials. If that doesn’t interest you, try exploring the ultraviolet color trend of 2018.