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Carlos Antonio Piñón

artist, writer, performer

Glitch Art Tutorial

This is a glitch tutorial for glitching images using Audacity and TextEdit. This tutorial also uses Photoshop CS6, GIMP, and Preview for Mac (or Paint for Windows). Note: There are many other different ways to glitch an image using other software, most with tutorials available online.

Here is a video* on how to glitch using Audacity:

*Because this is a past live stream, it is very long. I will make a short version soon, but for now, if you need video, you can skip around in that version.

Databending Sonification

1) After opening your image in Photoshop, click FILE > SAVE AS

2) Change the format to "BMP" and click save.

3) You can just hit "OK" to the box that comes up.

4) In Audacity, go to FILE > IMPORT > RAW DATA

5) After selecting the .BMP file of your image, change the encoding to U-Law (A-Law may also work, but you just need to remember which one you chose.)

Once you are more comfortable with databending sonification, you can import as two channels (but you’ll want to split into mono tracks.) This is essentially like having a duplicate layer that you can manipulate individually.

6) Depending on your image, it may be obvious where the header and footer are. Just keep in mind not to alter these sections (the very beginning and the very end, a tenth of a second should be more than enough) because they may damage your file too much.

In reality, this is about how much you should be avoiding. On some files, it’s not so obvious (and you really should zoom in to get a more accurate selection), but if something goes wrong, the first step of problem solving is making sure you aren’t corrupting any of this data.

7) This is the fun part where you get to change the image. Just select as much as the image as you want to change, go to EFFECT > and then choose something. The ones I tend to use are ECHO, DELAY, REVERSE, INVERT, EQUALIZATION, WAHWAH, NORMALIZE, PHASER, NOTCH FILTER, and HIGH PASS FILTER, but it’s worth it to look into experimenting with all of the effects.

Some other things you can do: you can apply multiple effects at the same time (for example: NOTCH FILTER + ECHO.) You can also select a portion from the middle, cut it, and then paste it somewhere else. You can repeatedly cut and paste until your heart is content, and then add an effect for extra fun. Really, you should just keep experimenting as the possibilities are numerous.

8) After you have manipulated the image, you can head over to FILE > EXPORT

9) Change the format to "Other compressed files."

10) Under options, if not already, change the header to "Raw (header-less)" and make sure you choose either U-Law or A-Law (depending on what you chose earlier), then you can go ahead and click OK then save.

11) If you’re on a Mac, you can go ahead and open your .RAW file in Preview (Windows users can use Paint.) From here, you can export (or save) as a .TIFF or .JPG file, or any image file you please, and that’s it!

You can also open your .RAW file in Photoshop or Gimp, which may yield different results.



Rich Text Manipulation

1) Open your image by right-click > Open With > Other

2) Choose TextEdit. From here, you can cut and paste, delete, keysmash, even copy code from other images at will. Like with the other glitch, don’t mess with the header or the footer of the image.

3) A trick that I just figured out as making this tutorial: once you have saved your glitched image, open it up in Preview. From here, go to Tools > Rotate Left and then save. You can then open the image again in TextEdit to further glitch it out.

4) When you get an interesting image, you can rotate it back (or not,) and like the other glitch, make sure to screen cap your results so you don’t lose it. Saving as PNG in both Photoshop and Gimp is also recommended.




Another trick that might produce something cool is combining TextEdit glitches with Audacity glitches. For example:

Original image: Documentation of oil pastel painting

Amalgamated TextEdit glitches, selected and collaged on Photoshop

Audacity glitch via Gimp

Audacity glitch via Photoshop

» see more glitch art