For an art project. I want to take a high-resolution digital image and digitally 'corrode' it.

My original intention was to subject an image to repeated jpg compression, and show the iterations, but after experimenting I realise that the compression method won't achieve any effect after the first pass (rookie mistake).

What methods are available to do this, if any? While I'd like to go for a progression, as in the compression example, I'm happy to hear about methods that would achieve random results as well (for instance imitative of digital static).

  • 2
    I found this article
    – Joonas
    Oct 28, 2018 at 15:32
  • An alternative method would be to do an 'Alvin Lucier' formulation on the natural decomposition of the video in repetitive play back. specifically - video the video on a monitor, tablet or other device. and continue this until the image is deconstructed to the base elements of the electronic used to view it. Look up, "I am sitting in a room..." He was seeking the resonant qualities of his speaking into the room and recording it. It also has the inherent resonance of both the microphone and tape machine he used to record it. Oct 28, 2018 at 15:48
  • @NormanEdward - Not exactly what I'm after, but I'm intrigued, I'll look Lucier up
    – shngrdnr
    Oct 28, 2018 at 19:44

5 Answers 5


There are many online tools where you can load an image, make those kinds of effects and save the results:

Photomosh : clicking the Mosh button, you get a random glitch effect and a side menu to change the options


Even with animations:


Image Glitch Tool : load the original image and move the bottom sliders options to get a glitch effect

Image Glitch

  • Thanks very much for this - I was hoping to find a method that would actually cause file corruption, but lacking other methods a facsimile approach may do nicely.
    – shngrdnr
    Oct 28, 2018 at 19:41

You can corrupt/glitch an image yourself. All you need is a text editor.

  1. Open the image in a text editor, such as Notepad++

  2. Scroll down the code a bit to get away from the header code, and copy a few lines of code.

enter image description here

  1. Scroll to a different location, highlight a few lines of code, and paste the code you copied, to replace it.

  2. Repeat step 3 several times.

This technique requires a bit of trial and error. Also note if you go too far the image might become so corrupted you can't open it, so always make sure you work on a copy of the file, not the original.

Here's one I made as an example:

enter image description here


I guess there are many ways to do this. The effects user120647 posted look like some kind of high compression artifacts, like when an MPG video lose the keyframes.

But I guess you can, for example, incremental noise to the image, incremental sharpness, posterizations, etc. So I think you need to explore different stuff.

Your option to corrupt as JPG file can work if you do it incrementally, not only repeated.

Use compression of 80, save. Now 70 and save, then 60 and save.

And another way is to actually corrupt an image, opening it on some kind of editor.


I'm guessing the project is over, but in the interest of adding to the discussion - open the image in a text editor, remove text, add mashed keyboard text, copy text from somewhere else.... save then open in an image editor. Australian photographer Mike Gray does this very well. http://mikegrayphoto.net/#cbp=ajax/post2.html

  • yup, a similar technique is mentioned in another answer.
    – Luciano
    Feb 3, 2020 at 10:34

There are many ways to "glitch" an image, but to achieve what you want (the jpeg artifacting / loss of quality) all you need is time (or a script!).

There are numerous examples online showing deterioration of jpg files by exporting it excessive amount of times. Exporting is the key factor here. This way you are not just saving a copy of the image, but applying the jpeg compression each time. This is very important! You can open and save a copy of a jpeg infinite amount of times without any loss of quality, as the image is not compressed at each save. Only if you apply the compression the image will "age." Here's a video showing an example of how this would work over 1000 iterations.

You can do what that video does easily in any raster graphics program (it would just take time, unless you can batch it somehow). I would recommend using an older program, because, chances are, that new software might have some anti-artifacting algorithms in place (it's a small chance, but better not risk it if you will open sand export 1k times by hand :P). Also, using a lower resolution image will yield better effects. Here's a step-by-step guide to jpeg glitching, using jpeg2000.

The benefit of such approach is that you have total control over how the image is processed and you can introduce other variables to the process (e.g rotating the image 90 degrees each time).

If you would rather have it done fast (and don't have the skills to write a script to do it for you), you can use some ready made web generators. They give you less control over outcome than doing it all by hand, but are definitely faster.

Here's some quick examples from generators I found (the original photo resolution is quite high, you will get more artifacting if you lower the resolution of your photo):

JPEG Artifact Generator

100 repetitions at 0.1 quality

enter image description here

Meme Deep Fryer

100 repetitions at 0.2 quality. Accidentally turned brightness to -10, other effects at 0 enter image description here

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