I am looking for a way to recreate the below effect from a photo in Photoshop. The place where I found this print has multiple similar examples, which leads me to believe that it was not made by re-drawing the artwork, but created by manipulating a source photo.

Image showing portrait of Mary rendered in black and white lines

I am pretty sure it starts by posterizing the original photo, but I am kinda stumped after that. It might a texture that goes over it, or maybe some combination of filters allows to achieve the effect?

I would be very grateful for anything that will let me get close to this, or any of the other 3 examples linked above.

1 Answer 1


Here's one method

  1. Open an image in Photoshop - preferably one that is high in contrast with a dark background and dramatic lighting, then convert it to greyscale mode

  2. Reduce the image size to approx 300px in height

  3. Create a 1px line pattern, and fill a new layer above with the pattern

  4. Find a glitchy texture on google images, something like this one

  5. Paste the glitch texture, and squish it so each line of the glitch corresponds roughly with one line of pixels, change the layer blending mode to Vivid Light

  6. Duplicate the glitch texture layer, and move it down so that the entire image is covered with the glitches

  7. Apply a Threshold adjustment layer, and adjust the threshold until you get the effect you want.

Here's an example showing the layers and final Threshold Adjustment layer

enter image description here

Finally if you need a larger version Scale the Image using "Nearest Neighbour" to preserve the hard pixel edges.

Here's an example of the finished image. Click to see full size

enter image description here

  • Wow! That is exactly what I was looking for. I bet by playing with the size of glitch texture (as well as maybe toying with the scan lines being other value than 1px) I can achieve exactly what I am looking for! Thank you! Feb 2, 2020 at 19:26
  • Oh, one quick question - do you turn the glitch texture greyscale as well (it seems so in your gif)? Is it essential (I am not sure if Threshold cares about hue)? Feb 2, 2020 at 19:28
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    @FredBednarski When you paste a colour image into a greyscale image, it will lose the colour anyway. Threshold works just fine in a greyscale or colour images - it makes no difference, the result is always black and white anyway.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 2, 2020 at 19:36
  • Oh, I see - you change the image mode to Greyscale, not only the current layer. Got it, thanks! Feb 2, 2020 at 19:44
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    @FredBednarski Well you don't have to change anything to greyscale mode, but I did it so I could visualize everything in B&W as I was working on it. The Threshold filter makes everything B&W at the end anyway.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 2, 2020 at 19:45

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