this jagged effect enter image description here enter image description here

How do I go about getting this slightly pixelated look in the image below (the circles being little squares rather than smooth curves).

  • Its called aliasing. Usually its because you do not apply antialiasing.
    – joojaa
    Feb 8, 2022 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to get a jaggy edge is to leave anti-aliasing OFF when one makes a selection with magic wand , lasso or ellipse selection tool. and uses the selection to separate or fill a part. The stairs can be too small to be seen if the image has too high pixel dimensions , but zoom in the edge and there it is. Scale to bigger size a small item which has non-antialised jaggy edge. The jagginess stays if you have interpolation mode "Nearest neighbour" =ON. Other interpolation modes, for ex. "Bicubic" smooth the stairs . The edges you want are seen as faults when one removes backgrounds.

A pixel artist can use small image sizes, say only 50 x 50 pixels. He draws his artwork with the pencil tool and often one pixel at a time (=the pencil is 1px wide). Jaggy lines and edges are a part of his art. The whole artwork must be designed from the start, it's very difficult to convert a normal photo to pixel art so that the result looks other than bad Photoshopping.

Opinions: All of your examples have different qualities. The egg shapes in top left really look the result of a bad background removal because the fill patterns are smooth, but the edge isn't.

The red face below it has jaggy edge and dithered shading. It looks a solid piece of art(=made intentionally as it is). The style was common for ex. in videogames when computers had small color palettes, maybe only 16 colors on the screen at a time.

The top right version has very rich and complex set of offset paths with gradient colors - a thing which surely many of us would like to use if they knew how to control it easily. Jagginess is not there seen as stairs, but as a texture which resembles embroidery.

  • top left probably a 3d render that had no antialiasiong on. Not result of background removal. 3d shading is often smoothe ven if edges are not
    – joojaa
    Feb 10, 2022 at 10:49
  • That's possible. It only resembles my first background removal attempts. Instead of a colored ellipsoid there was a low resolution photo of a person. The edge pixels look like they have now a mixture of a dark background and the actual edge color. That doubles the failure in case it's a background removal attempt. The edge is right only against a new dark background
    – user82991
    Feb 10, 2022 at 11:44
  • +1 from me. I'd go even further. The first and third images look like errors to me, not some deliberate effect or pixel art - just bad quality GIFs enlarged/zoomed in, and certainly not something desirable, unless of course the OP wants to create a deliberate 1995 amateur web design look. This is one of those "but why would you even want to do that" questions.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 10, 2022 at 12:08

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