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How to pixelate an image in Photoshop

Need to quickly blur an entire image or a part of it? Learn how to pixelate an image in Photoshop in several minutes. Quick and easy pixelate image tutorial.

pixelated image photoshop

This Photoshop tutorial covers one of the trendy photo manipulation ideas, namely photo pixelating. Such an effect is applicable both to a whole photo or its part.

As a rule, pixilation helps users hide a person’s face, logos, or personal information. Besides, the effect can serve for artistic purposes, thus highlighting certain parts of an image. If you can’t do it on your own, you can turn to the image manipulation services where professionals will help you realize any idea you have.

Way 1. Pixelating the Entire Image


There are many ways to pixelate image, but the best way is to use a mosaic filter which will easily turn any image into a cluster of square tiles. If you want to learn how to pixelate your entire photo, check out the instructions below. 

Step 1. Open Your Image and Duplicate the Layer


Start with running Photoshop. Go to the “File” and click “Open” to get access to the files on your PC and upload the desired image to Photoshop. Alternatively, use the Ctrl + O (Cmd + O) combination.

Next, right-click the background layer and choose “Duplicate layer” from the list that appears. You can also enter the shortcut Ctrl + J (Cmd + J) for much quicker results. 

Step 2. Open the Mosaic Filter


Next, open the Filter menu. You’ll see an entire category dedicated to pixelation. Choose “Mosaic”.

Step 3. Choose the Desired Cell Size


You will see the “Mosaic” filter dialog box. You need to click on Preview to see the changes applied to the picture in real time. To increase the pixelation simply drag the slider at the bottom to the right. Pixels will get larger but their number is reduced. Left-side movement causes the opposite effect.

 There is no standard parameter for these values. That’s why, while learning how to pixelate an image, it makes sense to experiment with the value to see what works better for your picture.

Step 4. Enjoy Your Pixelated Photo


Done! Now all you have to do is save the image. Go to File – Save As. or use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + S (Cmd + Shift + S).

You can also change the opacity of the Duplicate Layer if you don’t like the way the effect looks. You can change this characteristic in the “Layers” window. There you will see the Opacity box and you can reduce the amount from 100% to 50-80%. The value depends only on the result you aspire to achieve.

If you are interested in adding more interesting effects to your photos, make sure to check out Pop Art Photoshop Actions.

Way 2. Pixelating Part of an Image 

In addition to the above-mentioned guide, you should also know how to pixelate a picture partially. These instructions are almost identical to the previous tutorials with only minor modifications. Resort to this method if you want to hide a person’s face, or any sensitive information, like a license plate, an address, card security code etc.

Step 1. Create a Duplicate Layer


As in the previous method, you need to create a duplicate layer. This will ensure that your changes are non-destructive. Use the Ctrl + J (Cmd + J) shortcut for quicker results.

Step 2. Open the Mosaic Filter


Open the “Filter” menu. Go to “Pixelate”, and choose the “Mosaic” filter.

Step 3. Choose the Desired Cell Size 


You can set the pixel parameters in the dialog box, where you select the desired cell size and number of cells. Don’t forget to check if the Preview function is active to see the outcome before the changes are applied. Once you’re done adjusting the parameter based on your needs, click OK.

 Step 4. Create a Layer Mask and Invert It


To make sure that the changes are applied only to a part of the photo, we need to add a layer mask. Find the New Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel. It’s third from the left. Once you click it, you’ll see a white thumbnail appear next to your layer.

Next, we’ll invert the layer mask by clicking Ctrl+I (Command+I). The thumbnail should now change the color from white to black.

 Step 5. Specify the Part You Want to Pixelate


Now, we’ll edit the mask to specify what part of an image we want to affect. In order to do this, we’ll work with the Brush Tool (B). Then, start painting on the area you want to affect.

To unpixelate the area from the mask, paint it with black. To add pixelation, paint the area with white. Use the [ or ] bracket keys, if you need to increase and decrease its size. Well done! You’ve successfully pixelated part of your image.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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