Published Mon Jan 30 2023

How to Pixelate an Image in Easy and Useful Ways

It does not matter what size or quality your picture has. You can easily create pixel art by learning how to pixelate an image with some useful photo editing tools.

pixelated fire icons

There is a large range of photo effects available on the internet nowadays, and many of their features you can use without the installation of sophisticated software. The Pixelate effect is one of the most common features available to anyone.

Some people prefer the high-resolution result of a sharp image, yet pixelated effects have many applications in image editing. The pixelated effect allows creators to split down digital images into visible pixels that can be altered as needed.

What is Pixelation?

Understanding pixelation requires an understanding of how pixels interact to generate digital images. Most image files, such as PNG, JPG, and GIF, are bitmap. In other terms, they are bitmaps or grids of pixels that blend together to make images.

A pixel is the smallest component of a digital picture or graphic that may be shown and represented on a digital display device.

In digital graphics, a pixel is the fundamental logical unit. Pixels are used to create text, images, videos, or any other visible things on a computer monitor. These are a fundamental part of elements and principles of design so it's essential to learn about pixelation as a professional.

A pixel can also be referred to as a picture element (pix = picture, el = element).

Pixelation occurs when pixels become apparent to the human eye rather than being perceived as flawlessly merged. When you scale an image to dimensions that are too large for its resolution, you can get unintentional pixelation – but you can also produce beautiful effects by purposely pixelating an image. Indeed, a new genre of pixel art has sprung out as a result of nostalgia for and appreciation of early video games.

It does not matter what size or quality your picture has. You can easily create pixel art by learning how to pixelate an image with some useful photo editing tools.

Why Use Pixelated Images?

A pixelated image, also known as a pixel effect, is a result of creating individual pixels large enough to form a blurry image. This technique is employed for different purposes.

  • Protect sensitive information Pixelation serves as a censoring device for some people. This is known as pixelization. Usually, if some parts of an image are pixelated, but the rest of the picture has a normal resolution, the image has been pixelated on purpose.

If you want to protect sensitive information, you can use pixelation. For instance, you can utilize pixelation to protect people's privacy in images. You may even use it to conceal the identity of those whose faces are visible on the video. Another reason to use a pixelated effect is to obscure anything in your image without fully deleting it.

A pixelated area won’t be as noticeable as if it were covered with something else, which would draw attention away from other parts of the image and make it seem like something was missing.

  • Pixel Art

As we have already discussed, pixel art is a visual art style that involves creating images out of pixels. It is a subgenre of digital art that involves the process of arranging electronic pixels to generate visuals on a computer screen. It is also known as pixel graphics.

Pixel art is when a person purposely makes pixelated graphics despite the availability of more refined solutions. These photos are created because a person appreciates the aesthetic of the pictures, maybe for nostalgia or as an intentional reaction to more detailed art. Some artists imitate the look of pixels in real-life surroundings by using sticky notes or other regular square items. It is even feasible to utilize pixels from other photos with one dominant color to construct a larger image.

A Short Guide On How to Pixelate an Image in Easy Ways

If you want to pixelate an image but don’t know where to start, you are in the right place. In today’s article, you will learn to add the pixelate effect with Adobe Photoshop and Fotor photo editing tools.

How to Pixelate an Image in Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most famous image editing, digital art, and graphic design software used by over 90% of the world’s creative professionals. So, below you will find the steps you should take if you want to pixelate an image.

  1. Open Your Photo

First, you need to open your image on Adobe Photoshop.

The logo sign of Adobe Photoshop on a blue background

To do so.

  • Choose File → Open.
  • Choose the file you want to open.
  • Tap Open.

  1. Convert Your Photo Into a Smart Object

Next, create a smart filter.

Choose Filter from the top menu and press Convert for Smart Filters. You can add, adjust, remove, or hide smart filters. So, no worries in case you accidentally change something, as any edits you make are not critical.

  1. Pixelate the Image

After converting your photo into a smart object, it is high time to pixelate your image.

In the top menu, choose Filter → Pixelate → Mosaic.

The Mosaic filter redraws pixels as colored blocks. You may also experiment with various pixelate filters, such as Pointillize, which converts the layer into randomly distributed dots, similar to a pointillist painting.

  1. Choose the Level of Pixelation

You can also decide the level of pixelation with Adobe Photoshop.

To adjust the pixel size of your photo, drag the slider in the preview box to the right or left. You can zoom in and out of the preview window's thumbnail image to see how the pixelation will appear.

How to Pixelate Selected Areas in Adobe Photoshop

As we have already discussed, pixelation can be used to hide someone's face, a logo, an address, or other sensitive information in a photo. Create a mask and apply the filter selectively to pixelate only a small part of your image.

  1. Do the Above 3 Steps and Click OK

After opening your image, converting your photo into Smart Object, applying the Pixelate effect, and altering the level of pixelation, click OK.

  1. Choose Smart Filter

Then, choose the Smart Filters rectangle, which you can see in the Layers panel.

  1. Use the Eraser Tool

To erase small parts of pixelation, use the Eraser tool. To remove bigger portions of pixelation, use the Marquee or Lasso tools.

  1. Remove the Pixelation

Whether you choose the Eraser for small parts or Marquee, or Lasso tools for large sections, hit Delete to remove the effect from that particular area.

How to Pixelate an Image in Fotor

  1. Open Fotor’s Photo Editor

With Fotor, pixelating photographs online has never been easier. So, open the Fotor editing tool to get started.

  1. Upload Your Image

Upload the image you are willing to pixelate by tapping "Open Image." There are two methods to open an image in Fotor.

  • Method 1: Press the "+" sign or drag files to upload your own images
  • Method 2: Tap on the "+ open image" button in the upper left corner to upload your image. You can select the location of the image before uploading it.

  1. Click ‘Mosaic’

Click "Mosaic" to choose the pixelated style. You can find three various styles for you.

  1. Add Pixel Effect

Drag your mouse to apply a pixel effect to your image.

pixelated fireplace

  1. Change Pixel and Brush Size

You are able to alter the size of a pixel and brush by sliding the slider in the toolbar on the left.

  1. Use the Eraser Tool

Next, you should utilize the erase pencil to adjust the pixelated area.

  1. Download and Share

Once you are done and happy with the look of your image, you are free to download your pixelated image in JPG and PNG file format or share it online.


Art evolves day by day. It is fascinating how a low-resolution photograph is seen as a valuable thing from various people's perspectives. The pixelate effect has numerous applications, and when used correctly, it is a fun way to make your images more interesting and eye-catchy. It also allows you to conceal sensitive information such as faces or names.

There is no longer any need to invest in highly sophisticated and pricey software that may or may not work on your device. Editing has never been more efficient than now, with web applications and smartphone apps available to everyone. You can surely learn how to pixelate an image online quickly and efficiently in just a few minutes.

Mery Content Manger

Meri Minasyan

Content Manager

Get started

Get free access to creative tools, unlimited templates, and cool features with Vertex editor.