If like us you’re a fan of glitch art, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a super easy way you can glitch your own images.
All you need is Microsoft Paint and a text editing programme like WordPad or Notepad (and for Mac users the process is even simpler).
Give this a go:
- Pick your source image (generally speaking, the lower resolution the better).
- If you’re on a PC, open the image in Paint, then save as a Bitmap (BMP) file. There are a few BMP types available (monochrome, 16 colour, 256 colour and 24-bit) and they all tend to glitch differently, so try saving a version of each. For Mac users, simply change the file extension to .bmp
- Open the new BMP file with a text editor: WordPad or Notepad for PC users; TextEdit on a Mac.
- After a few seconds, the programme will rewrite the image code into text, and you should be faced with a wall of garbled symbols and letters. This process alone usually creates enough corruptions in the code to glitch the image, and all you need to do is hit ‘Save’, close the file, and re-open it in Paint or Preview to see your beautiful scrambled glitch art.
- While you’re in the text version though, you can also have a bit of fun by typing words or symbols directly into the code. This can create some really bizarre distortions, but beware: if you go too far the file will just nope out on you and you won’t be able to re-open it.
It’s as simple as that!
This is just one of a host of different ways to glitch an image. If you want to find out more, we recommend checking out the Glitch Artists Collective: Tool Time page on Facebook for tonnes of tutorials and how-tos.
Post your results in the comments section below, or on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #twentypegsglitch, and we’ll post the best submissions here on the blog.
Here’s a couple of our experiments:
This innocent, free stock image was glitched by typing “I slept with your sister” over and over again into the source code. Oh the irony!
This woman is obviously channelling the spirit of The Cure’s masterpiece of an album, “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me”. By adding the album title to the image’s source code we gave it a pink-and-black cyber-goth make-over that Robert Smith himself would approve of.
One of the the last ones we did and, to be honest, we were running out of ideas. But in the spirit of glitch we incorporated this imaginative failure into the art by typing “We don’t know what we’re doing” in the code about twenty times.