Glitch Art Tutorial

Hello and welcome to my tutorial on glitch art! In this tutorial I will provide step-by-step instructions on how to generate glitch art like is featured in my very own Glitch Art Portfolio. This portfolio features an array of images that were created using two different types of glitch methods to create a finished project.

The first part of this tutorial will feature how to glitch an image through Pixel Sort, while the second will feature how to glitch an image using Audacity.

Method 1: Pixel Sort

I will provide a basic walkthrough on how to pixel sort an image using your computer’s Command Prompt (on Windows) or Terminal (on Mac). A more in-depth explanation of this process Satyarth Mishra Sharma’s Pixel Sorting program in Python 2 and Python 3

When you open the Command Prompt/Terminal, you have to invoke pixel sort by typing the following:

pip install pixelsort

This will produce a line of code that basically informs you whether or not your computer has Python 2 or Python 3 installed. If you do not have Python installed, simply install it and continue from there.

From here you will have to input the file path to the image you wish to pixel sort. The file path can be found in the top bar when navigating your files menu. You can copy and paste the file path, but will have to inlude a forward-slash and type the name of the image. Do not forget the file extension! This is the file type, so .JPG, .PNG, etc. You do this by typing the following:

python3 -m pixelsort [FilePathToImage]

Here is an example of this code in the Command Prompt. I have boxed the code you type in to invoke pixel sort in a yellow box.

pixel sort tutorial image

From here you will have to find the pixel sorted image after it is done. It is possible to name the file and tell it where to go, but it can be found in your users folder. It will save as a .PNG file with a random string of numbers. The following images will show you how to find it!




From there you can open your pixel sorted image! Take a look at the example I’ve provided below!

Portal 1
The original image.
The pixel sorted image.

And there you have it! You can create glitch art by using this method! You can check out more from Satyarth Mishra Sharma’s Pixel Sort explanation on GitHub to create different effects!

Method 2: Audacity

For this next part of the tutorial, I will explain how to create glitch art by using Audacity. Audacity is a free-to-use audio editing software that is easily accessible and user friendly. You can use Audacity to glitch photos, which means using an audio program to do something you aren’t supposed to do with it. To do this you need to do some file conversion.

To create glitch art you need to convert the image file to Bitmap file format, or .BMP. You can do this in various ways. You can use photo editing software like PhotoShop or GIMP to save the file as a .BMP. CloudConvert is also a viable option, allowing you to upload your image and then download it as a .BMP. For this tutorial, I will be using Microsoft Paint.

The following image shows the save as .BMP file option in MS Paint.


After you have converted the image to a .BMP, you are going to open Audacity and import the image as “Raw Data.” You need to select the image, and make sure it is the .BMP file type! Once you have selected the file, a window will open with with options for encoding, byte order, and channels. Encoding needs to be set to “U-Law,” Byte Order needs to be set to “Little Endian,” and Channels need to be set to “1 Channel (Mono).” The following images show each of these steps.

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From there the .BMP will be converted into a wavelength in Audacity. You can manipulate the wavelength by deleting parts, copying and pasting them, or applying audio effects. Just be careful not to mess too much with the very beginning of the wavelength, because that contains the header information for the image. If that is messed with, it will corrupt the file and you will not be able to view the image. You can apply as many or as little effects as you want, but just be sure to export the file every now and then to make sure the file has not been corrupted and to ensure you have achieved a glitch you like.

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To save and export your image, you need to export the file as audio. There is an option to “Export Audio” that needs to be selected. Once this is selected, you will need to make sure the Header and Encoding information is set to “RAW (header-less)” for Header and ” U-Law” for Encoding. Keep in mind that the more you change in a .BMP file means the file size will get larger and larger. The following images show this in more detail.

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And there you have it! That is how you create glitch art using Audacity! If all goes well and the file is not corrupted, you can view the .BMP file in a photo viewer. However, keep in mind the .BMP is not a user-friendly file type. If you wish to display any of your glitch art, consider converting it back to .PNG or .JPG, since those are the most common files types found online. Here is an example where I used the pixel sorted version from above.

The pixel sorted version.
Echo effects in Audacity.

Thank you for taking a look at my tutorial. These methods are the ones I used to create my own glitch art portfolio. Let me know in a comment down below what you think! And please comment if anything does not make sense! I will try and reply or update this page so it makes more sense!

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