Photoshop Glitch Text Effect Tutorial

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Glitch effects are a popular effect! You wouldn’t be here otherwise?

But what exactly is a glitch effect?

Well, it’s an art form that represents the presence of flaws in the original image. It’s reminiscent of days gone by, with analog TVs, that yielded errors in the form of a “glitch” when a channel was not clearly visible.

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you how to create this text effect. Are you ready to master the glitch effect? Awesome, let’s do it…

Table of Contents

Note: the (above) video tutorial was created with Photoshop beginners in mind. The following step-by-step instructions are for more experienced users.

Step 1: Create a New Document & Add Image

nw document style image

What shall we set our new document dimensions too? Glad you asked! Here you go;

We should add the image too. Here’s the one I’m using for this text effect design. Find the file on your computer, and drag/drop the file onto your Photoshop interface.

Style the Glitch Image

Once you add the image, it’s included as a new layer. Plus, the Free Transform Tool is auto-activated. Which is handy since you can resize the image immediately.

However, for this design, we don’t need to. So, click your Enter or Return key.

What I’d like to do, though, is add a vignette around the image! Here’s how;

Step 2: Add Text and Align

add text + align

For the font type, I recommend a big, bold type of font. My favorite for a glitch effect is a free one from Google Fonts, called Oswald.

Set the style of the font to Bold, with a size of 75pt, and set to white. In all caps, type out the word GLITCH. For this design, we need to increase the spacing between the letters. Which is known as Tracking in the design profession.

You’ll need access to the Character panel to increase the Tracking; Window > Character.

Double click on the word to select all the letters. Then, locate the icon with the label (it will be revealed when you hover over it); “Set the tracking for the selected characters” (found in the Character panel). Set it to 100.

Pro Tip:

In the design industry, we have two words that reference spacing text; Tracking + Kerning. Although both refer to spacing, each targets a different portion of your words.

Tracking refers to the loosening or tightening of a selected set of text. Kerning is the process of adding or subtracting space between specific pairs of letters.

Align the Text

Let’s align our text next. Hit your Escape key to deactivate the text tool and select your Move Tool with the letter “V.” Hold down your Command or Ctrl key and click on the background layer. This will select both layers.

Now, look above your tool options to find and activate; Align horizontal centers + Align vertical centers.

Triple Your Glitch Text

Part of the success of adding a glitch to your text is duplicating the text layer twice. First, click on your text layer and duplicate (twice) with Command or Ctrl + J. Rename each layer as follows; Glitch White, Glitch Pink, and Glitch Blue.

Click on the Glitch Pink layer, activate your Text Tool (T), and set the color to #f705c7. Select the Blue layer and change the color to #04c7f8.

Step 3: Create the Glitch Text Effect Part 1

create glitch effect part 1

Let the glitch text effect begin! Start by moving the Blue layer to the right around 10 – 15 px and the Pink to the left around 15 – 20px.

Pro Tip:

Hold down your Shift key as you move the layers. This way, they will be locked into the horizontal position!

Non-Destructive Editing

I’d advise working non-destructively as much as possible. This way, you can start over from a particular point vs. redoing from scratch.

Hold down your Command or Ctrl key and click on each of the (currently unselected) text layers. Now that you have all three layers selected right-click on one and choose “Convert to Smart Object.” Rename the layer to Text Original.

Duplicate this layer and name it Glitch effect and then, right-click and “Rasterize Layer.”

Step 4: Create the Glitch Text Effect Part 2

create glitch effect part 2

It’s not looking much like a glitch effect, is it? No, not really. Let’s fix that!

The secret to this effect is cutting and moving parts of the text in different (horizontal) directions. Let’s start by grabbing our Marquee Select tool (M).

Make a selection around your text that encompasses beyond each end. For the height of your first selection, set it to 20px. If needed, you can move your selection by clicking on the inside and dragging it to a new position.

Place your mouse cursor inside the selection, hold down your Command or Ctrl key, and click/drag to the left or right to move the contents. To lock the horizontal position, hold down your Shift key.

Now, deselect with Command or Ctrl + D. Guess what you need to do next. Yep, repeat those steps several more times to complete your glitch text effect!

Now What?

Did you complete the text effect project already? Awesome, bonus points for you! Now, it’s time to show off your new design skills and or get feedback on the glitch effect. 

Here’s how; join our private Facebook group. It’s a great place to share, learn, and grow as a Photoshop user.

Ready to up your Photoshop skills further? If so, check out my premium Photoshop tutorials and or my free Photoshop tutorials.

Looking for more Photoshop text tutorials? Check out this playlist that includes over 20 text effects you can master today!

Like this article? If so, please share!

A 30-year photography pro with a desire to help you achieve your creative vision! Facebook | Youtube

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