Glitching stock photos

5 April 2018

An abstract glitched image of a picture of the ocean
When my productivity and creativity is feeling a little low I like to browse stock photos. Mostly I look for interesting textures but I'll mess around with pretty much any image. From photos of actual human beans to palm trees and ariel shots of beaches. If I like it I'll download it and tinker. Of course, I only use 100% free stock photos via the likes of Unsplash and Pexels. Really I should take my own photos but I'd actually have to leave the house and I lack brilliant equipment soo... 🤷 

Recently I found some amazing photos of water, or more precisely what looked like some lovely bits of an ocean. The purple image above started out life as this photo which I first edited to be purple in colour and then did a little bit of glitching magic. I ran it through Processing to pixel sort it (explained vaguely better in this post, but do ask if you have any questions) and then played around in Photoshop until I was happy with the result. I particularly like the bottom of the image, where it's lighter and looks more broken up and separated from the background.

An abstract glitched image of a picture of the ocean



I also used this image of what I believe it said was a swimming pool and started to work on it in the same way - changing the colours slightly etc but ended up with something different. I wanted to have a couple of colours in this piece, so I edited the colour channels in Photoshop to distort and layer the colours. That's how I got the pop of pink/magenta to appear without too much effort. Generally, when I do this type of glitch I select the colour channel I want to edit and use Filter > Distort > Shear. It's a technique I've talked about before in this post on channel glitching. I also ran the image through Processing to pixel sort it slightly, which you can see most at the bottom of the image.

An abstract glitched image of a photo of a swimming pool




As I had been searching for some botanical and plant based images for my previous experiment with the Colour Crush Creative palettes, I had a few downloaded that I'd not used. I didn't really 'glitch' these in any other way other than using the colour channels effect as I wasn't sure it would work. I like them mostly as they are as the palm tree leaves are amost x-ray like in some places.

An abstract glitched image of a palm tree An abstract glitched image of a palm tree

Do you use free stock photos/found images in your pieces? I'd love to see some other examples.

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