The Art of Glitching

So, a friend of mine asked me for any piece of mac or windows software that would “glitch” images as he needs it for some artsy thing. I didn’t quite understand what he was after at first, but when the conversation continued and I put my Google Fu to work I realized people were glitching images as an art form. You know when sometimes there’s data corruption on your hard or usb drive? Images get all twisted and/or with a crapton of artifacts in it. Glitching is the art of doing it on purpose! It’s also hella fun to look at the result in some cases. Here’s a ‘glitched’ image so you can have a better perception of what I’m talking about. Non glitched on the left, glitched on the right. Click them to see a bigger picture.

Non Glitched Glitched

Looks great, doesn’t it? But how exactly does one do this? Well…read on, friend.

At first I started looking for a Photoshop plugin because if it exists, there’s a Photoshop plugin for it. Right? Wrong. The only plugin I found related in any way to this was an After Effects plugin, and that’s video. Apparently glitching is also used in video, they call it datamoshing. Cool name.

Following that and as I entered Zen State in my Google Fu, I discovered enlightenment. You only need Paint and Wordpad to do this. Two common Windows pieces of software no one would ever consider when doing serious business image editing. You open the image in Paint and save it in .bmp (bitmap) format as this format renders the file less ‘fragile’ to the procedure that follows. And yes, it’s important you use Paint for some reason. I tried saving it on Irfanview and it didn’t work. Next up you open Wordpad and drop the file in it, just click the file and drag it into Wordpad. Press ‘Save’ once and that’s it. Congrats, you glitched an image. For some god knows why reason (ehh, I’m sure some nerd can explain it) the file generated is a corrupt version of the previous image.

So, yeah. I guess the next step is to google for ALL the images (if you know what I mean) and glitch them? Fun, fun, fun!