Pixel Stretch Effect | Photoshop Tutorial

Today’s Photoshop tutorial will teach you two different ways of creating the Pixel Stretch Effect. We will also create a Circular Pixel Stretch Effect in this Photoshop Tutorial. It is one of the fun photo effects to create in Photoshop.

For creating Pixel Stretch Effect and Circular Pixel Stretch Effect, select the images that can match these effects. We can not select any random image to create this effect.

Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop
Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop

Follow the below steps to create this Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop:

Step 1

Open an image in Photoshop as a new document. With the help of the Quick Selection Tool, select the main subject from the image.

Select the Subject from the Image

Tip: By clicking on Select and Mask in the Options Bar, you can refine the selection and check the preview.

Step 2

Now press Ctrl + J to create a copy of the selection in a new layer. Then turn off the Background Layer.

Create Copy of the Selection
Step 3

Now select the Crop Tool and increase the size of the background.

Increase the background size

Now with the help of the Move Tool, you can move the subject.

Move the subject with the help of the Move Tool
Step 4

Now we will fill color in the background. Click on Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers Panel. Then select Gradient from the list of options.

Select Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer

A Gradient Fill dialogue box will appear in the document area. In that dialogue box, click on the Gradient Swatch to open Gradient Editor. Now you can edit and create a new gradient.

Select Gradient to change color
Edit colors in Gradient Editor

After creating the Gradient Fill, reorder the layers by placing the Gradient Fill layer below the Layer 1(the subject layer)

Change position of the layer
Reorder the layers
Step 5

To create the Pixel Stretch Effect, we will select some pixels from the subject. We will use the Rectangular Marquee Tool for the selection. Make sure that the subject layer (Layer 1) is selected in the Layers Panel. After that, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and then select some area from the subject.

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool

Press Ctrl + J to create a new copied layer of the selection (Layer 2) and then press Ctrl + T to transform the selection. After pressing Ctrl + T, drag the selection to stretch it. (See the below images)

Pixel stretch effect
Pixel Stretch Effect
Pixel Stretch Effect
Step 6

This step is completely optional. If you want you can skip this step. But, if you want to add more color pixels to your effect then do follow it.

Again select the subject layer (Layer 1) and then select the Rectangular Marquee Tool. Now I will select some more parts from the subject to add more color pixels to the effect.

Pixel Stretch Effect

Press Ctrl + J to create a new copied layer (Layer 3) of the selection and then press Ctrl + T to transform the selection. Stretch the selection as done in Step 5.

Pixel stretch Effect in Photoshop

Bring both the stretched layers close to each other with the help of the Move Tool.

Pixel Stretch Effect

Select both the top layers (Layer 2 and Layer 3) in the Layers Panel and then press Ctrl + E to merge the layers. Layer 3 will get merged into Layer 2, and you will see only one layer with stretched pixels.

Merge the Layers
Step 7

Reorder the layers by placing the subject layer (Layer 1) above the stretched pixel layer (Layer 2).

Reorder the layers
Reorder the layers
Step 8

Select Layer 2 in the Layers Panel and press Ctrl + T to transform the layer. Adjust the height of the stretched pixels as per the height of the subject. (See the below image)

Pixel stretch effect
Step 9

Now we will wrap the stretched pixels to create a nice Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop.

Let the Layer 2 be selected and click on Edit in the Menu Bar. Place the cursor on Transform and then select Wrap.

Select Wrap

Now move the anchor points of the selection to create an effect.

Wrap the pixels
Pixel stretch effect
Pixel Stretch Effect
Step 10

Now click on the Layer Mask icon to create a Layer Mask layer for Layer 2. Then select the Brush Tool and Black as the Foreground Color. With the help of the Layer Mask and Brush Tool, we will hide the extra part of the stretched pixels. Move the cursor on the part which you want to hide.

Select Layer Mask Icon

So, this is how you can create the Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop. To make the effect visually more attractive, you can add some shadow and glow effects.

Pixel Stretch Effect
Circular Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop

After learning the Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop, learn to create Circular Pixel Stretch Effect in Photoshop.

Circular Pixel Stretch Effect

The steps of creating the Circular Pixel Stretch Effect are similar to the process of creating the Pixel Stretch Effect, till selecting and stretching the color pixels of the subject. Therefore, I will explain the similar steps in brief.

Step 1

Open an image in the Photoshop. Then, with the help of any Selection Tool, select the subject from the image.

Use Selection Tool to select the subject
Step 2

Press Ctrl + J to copy the selection in the new layer (Layer 1). Turn off the background layer to see your selection. Then, using the Crop Tool, increase the size of the background.

Create a copy of the selection
Increase the background size
Step 3

After increasing the background size, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer and select Gradient. Then create a Radial Gradient.

Select Gradient
Create Gradient Fill Layer

Now select and drag the Gradient Fill layer below the subject layer (Layer 1).

Reorder the Layers
Step 4

Select the subject layer (Layer 1) from the Layers Panel. Then select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Tool Panel.

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, make a thin rectangular selection of some part of the subject.

Select Rectangular Marquee Tool

Press Ctrl + J to copy the selection (Layer 2). Then press Ctrl + T and transform the selection by stretching it.

Circular Pixel Stretch Effect
Step 5

Select the stretched pixel layer (Layer 2) and click on Filter in the Menu Bar. Then hover cursor on Distort and select Polar Coordinates.

Select Polar Coordinates

In Polar Coordinates dialogue box, select Rectangular to Polar and click OK.

Circular Pixel Stretch Effect
Circular Pixel Stretch Effect
Step 6

Select the circular pixel layer (Layer 2) and drag it below the subject layer (Layer 1) in the Layers Panel.

Reorder the layers

You can adjust the circular stretched layer as per the subject layer.

Circular Pixel Stretch Effect
Step 7

Let the stretched pixel layer (Layer 2) be selected and click on the Layer Mask icon in the Layers Panel. Then select the Brush Tool from the Tool Panel. Select Black as the Foreground Color.

Now set the brush size and move the cursor on the part of the stretched pixel layer which you want to hide.

Circular Pixel Stretch Effect
Circular Pixel Stretch Effect

You have learned to create Pixel Stretch Effect and Circular Pixel Stretch Effect in this Photoshop Tutorial. Now practice this tutorial and share your views in the comment section. If you have a query or suggestion, feel free to contact us.

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