The Glitch Art Workshop | David Miller | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Glitch Apps for Smartphones

    • 3. Over Compression For Glitches

    • 4. In Process Screen Capture

    • 5. Chemical Alteration

    • 6. Hardware Manipulation

    • 7. Layering

    • 8. Data Manipulation

    • 9. Misalignment

    • 10. Wrap Up

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Glitch art is one of the fastest growing trends in digital design, embodying all our concerns about the fallibility of technology.  In this class we take advantage of various methods for introducing errors into our artwork to create imaginative, surprising pieces that bridge the gap between our data-driven world and surrealism.


In this course, you'll learn all about:

  • Glitch apps

  • Fidelity reduction; Over compression, resolution and "A copy of a copy of a..."

  • Screen recording and screen capture

  • Hardware manipulation

  • Misalignment

  • Chemical Alteration

  • Data Alteration

  • Random Decisions

...and more!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Clou... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: Hello friends, welcome to this course on the glitch art. I am a Phoenix based multimedia artists. My name is David Miller. This is my studio Primordial Creative. Glitch art is anything visual, audio, so on and so forth, that has some flaw that is inherent to the peace and that flaw is a major component of the art. We just talked about glitching in electronics. This is like a temporary malfunction. You're playing a video game and all of a sudden it gets scrambled and screwed up. This is the same thought process, but applied to art. It definitely is not perfectionist art. It is something that celebrates the mistake. A lot of the tools I use to make my own personal glitch art are largely based within my phone and applications. I'm using an iPhone, but I'm sure there's a lot of these applications that are available to you on the Android platform, just letting you know from the beginning that I'll be working mostly with an iPhone or an iPad. Before we dive into the applications and how to make glitch art, I want to talk about the aesthetic of it and where it comes from and why people are even interested in glitch art. The terminology glitch art is obviously based on a glitch, which is a mistake in programming or a mistake in application of some media. It doesn't have to be digital media. But we in the modern era, expect glitch art to be related to digital media. The term glitch is relatively new coming out of the 1960s. But I would argue that the concept behind a glitch goes back many decades. It doesn't always have to do with technology. There's a glitch in thought. For example, the work of comedians like Tim and Eric, websites like Click-to-Call, I'll take advantage of unusual word play in a way that leaves a gap in your brain that makes you think, wait a minute, and then that spark is part of what engages you with something as simple as missing phrases. The work of artists Man Ray and Lee Miller during the Surrealist period was especially glitchy to me because it involved the misuse of the technology they had at the time to create some really interesting artwork and visual effects. I would wager that the majority of collage art is a form of glitch art in that it disposes with the notions of proper perspective that your brain has to unify through its own leaps of logic to create this gestalt piece that really doesn't make any logical sense. 2. Glitch Apps for Smartphones: The most direct way of creating glitch art in this day and age, 2020 when I'm recording this, would be through the use of apps on your smartphone. I work with iOS devices, iPhones and iPads, I'm using stuff that I can get from that App Store. Hopefully, if you're working with Android, there will be something in here that is in that store as well. The number one app that I utilize is called Glitche. It's Glitche with an e and then a little French mark right over the e. This one works with both photos and videos. It has a large array of tools that you can utilize to scramble your imagery, something called sort creates this aligned differential. There's ways to separate the color schemes in there, very similar to something we would do naturally to our old televisions, which I'll get to in that particular section. There are ways to convert your images or videos to essentially dots or some three-dimensional planes that come apart. It can depend on how you manipulate the phone with your fingers. You can see it's from different perspectives, you can see it straight on. There's varying levels that you can set all of this Glitches at. It's a really fun app. I use it quite frequently personally, when I'm on a long car ride, or a plane and I'm bored, and I want to do different things with my photographs than just look at them the way they were taken straight on. I've seen some of this stuff used by much larger artists than myself. There was a Radio-head video longtime ago that utilized very similar aesthetic to this. I bring that up first because in my mind, it's a one-stop shop for what people are looking for in their glitch art, and you're able to apply multiple effects onto one image, one video, not just settle for things that you would do with a regular filter. If you wanted to make something look like an old VHS tape, have it sorted, and have the colors become almost the nauseous pop art color format, you could do that all to one single image with Glitche. 3. Over Compression For Glitches: Now that we've covered some of that glitch apps, we going to talk about other ways that you can introduce glitches into your artwork. One of the simplest ways to introduce glitching into whatever you make is to overlay, compress it. Now, compression simply means that you're crushing digital data down to its smallest possible packet, and in photography, the compressed file that we mostly use is the JPEG file format. JPEG throws away data every time you save it, over save it. I worked with a guy cameras store who informed me that if you were to open, and resave a JPEG file 200 times, you would end up with a white screen. Now I've never taken the time to open, and close a JPEG file 200 times. Feel free to do that, drop me a line if that is a 100 percent accurate. What I do know is that the files that I have opened in Photoshop worked on stages, JPEG, opened again, worked on opening, and worked on absolutely do have artifacts introduced to them. Those artifacts are usually where there's gradients. Gradients are on our skin tones, and on things like sunsets, the sky, things that transition from a light to a dark or from one color to another, that's where you find your gradients in your photos. That's where you noticed these unusual artifacts the most. An image that is very small in pixel dimensions that you print out on a larger piece of paper, that has glitching because you have an overly compressed file or you have a small file that you are stretching and you're seeing the pixelation, you're seeing the rough edges, you are seeing mismanaged colors on that final product. Most of the time people see these things, they say yuck, that's too blocky, that's too compressed, that's too lowless, I don't like it, throw it in the trash, do batter. What glitch art is saying is that that compression actually is a beautiful thing. It reminds me of the photography teacher I had in college who weren't discussing film because that's what we were working with at the time, said that, "Grain is beautiful." Film grain is something that the more sensitive your film is too light, the larger the granules on the film. Old film photographs of sporting events or indoors, basketball games, and so forth. They had to be shot with this very light sensitive film, something that was greater than ISO 3200. Very, very grainy stuff. They needed that because those molecules in the film had to be large enough to gather the amount of light that was available within a dark basketball arena. Grain is beautiful, he said, and I've taken that to heart because that wash over the entire image of grain often holds all the little individual elements together. People who would like filters on their photos today, whether or not they know it, their intention is to cover the entire picture, and make all the elements feel like they're unified. Even if there's random stuff like cars in the background, trees intersecting people's heads, so on, and so forth. That low-resolution, that over compression of an image holds it together, it unifies it. All you have to do to create an overlay compressed image is open your music file, open your photograph, whatever it is you're working with. Save it again at the lowest quality you can, the most compressed file. In the case of music, that would be an mp3 and under the mp3 settings, you can choose 20 kilobytes per second. It's going to contain within it. The highest quality mp3s are 320 K. The lowest quality mp3 is could be 60, 48, so on and so forth. When you re-save that file, it's going to lose a lot of its fidelity, it is going to lose a lot of the extraneous sounds on its spectrum. Now this course isn't really here to tell you how you should be drawing. It's going to sound like garbage but, glitch art, this is intentional. Same with a photograph. You're going to save it at the lowest quality JPEG. Quality one, quality two, you're going to do it over, and over, and over. It's going to lose its fidelity, but it's also going to hang together in its creaminess. 4. In Process Screen Capture: One of my personal favorite ways of doing great chart is what I call the in-process capture. This is where you are making adjustments in whatever editing program you utilize. Traditionally like Photoshop and After Effects, so on and so forth. Instead of the final product being the final edit, the final product is when you're halfway through the editing process, you use a screen capturing device, screen capturing method to get a little snapshot of the process in action. This particular photograph of a model, I was utilizing puppet warp, seeing what I could do, pushing your face around. I noticed the beauty of the web that was all around her face. I work on a MacBook Pro, shift Command four, is the screen capture method, and I created a little box around the photograph while it's still have Puppet Warp active, tick the photo, that's my final piece. Not the actual warp I did to her. Not when I turned off that intricate web. To me a piece like this speaks to how we manipulate beauty. Hate sound all pretentious to you guys, but you know, to talk about the themes of your artwork. I feel like that's what this one was about. Similarly, I was doing some overlay drawings of some of my model shoots stuff in Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator has really beautiful paths when you are using the drawing tool around it. It occurred to me that the web of paths that I had drawn around the person, they looked really cool side-by-side. The flattened vector art that I was getting, or what you normally have as your finalize graphic design work in Adobe Illustrator. I'm not a good enough Adobe Illustrator guy to create something that looks a truly amazing. But it was that hybrid of photograph and vector liner that I thought made for the better finalized piece. So once again, utilize the screen capture on MacBook Pro. Got my image, utilize that in Xen that I ultimately created. That was mostly graphing, design-related stuff. This isn't revolutionary stuff by any means. The aesthetic of art that I've always appreciated. Oftentimes involve the line were being left in. There's a great Disney short from 2000 John Henry that left a lot of the sketch line work in. I thought that was just such a beautiful aesthetic to it. The marks that people do in the process of making the finalized piece to my mind are beautiful. They're organic. They contain the raw thought that people are putting into their artworks. I don't always want to see the finalized piece. Oftentimes when I compare something that's from a sketchbook, that's a thumbnail sketch for a comic or something to the one that they labored over and corrected all the flaws and just squish the elemental life out of. I'd prefer the sketchy version and that's my own personal preference. I think that when we use digital tools, even though we're pushing a mouse or pushing a stylist, we're using touchscreens. There's still an organic process that happens form the artist. And you can showcase that you're using screen capture. Not just on your laptop screen, but certainly screen capture is super easy to do on your tablet, your smartphone. Take advantage of the weirdness that happens while you're trying to figure things out. Capture the screen called App finalized piece. 5. Chemical Alteration: One way that's very common in creating glitch art in the photographic world is through chemical alteration. This is something that I do on a regular basis in my own work. I am an artist who shoots a lot of polaroid and polaroid's have a little chemical packet at the bottom of the polaroid that the rollers spread across the entire image when it develops. If you quickly and rapidly bend that polaroid, you're going to change where the chemistry falls and so you're going to create randomized glitches that you can't really predict onto the final print. I love using this technique not only because I'm in love with glitch art, in general. But a lot of the images that are shot on polaroid would be quite boring, if they did not have some little extra touch to them. That is something that really speaks to the uniqueness of polaroid, because if I was shooting this digitally and taking the prints out of the printer and bending them and trying to get some effect that make each print unique, it's unlikely to work. Now, chemical alteration on photographic prints that aren't polaroid is common. Certainly wasn't the darkroom days, when you could play with the chemistry. Like the acid baths, you could flip that on your print before you put it in the developer so then those sections would not even develop. You would have randomized spots or, if you used a paintbrush, you could make sure that certain areas of your print never developed fully. Man Ray and Lee Miller in the 1920s and 1930s, created a particular look in photography called the Sabattier effect. I'm not sure if they were the originators of it, but they certainly were the people who popularized it. This involved flicking lights on and off onto the film, while it was middle of it's development process and those created randomized glitches that you couldn't predict. What essentially happens in the Sabattier effect is, you are blowing out areas that should turn black because you are introducing light into those areas. Those are the ones that wouldn't normally develop last, when you're developing film in chemistry. Some of the alternative processes in photography involve using old chemistry, cyanotype, vandyke, this is stuff that you paint onto your regular watercolor paper, printmaking papers, so forth. It makes it light sensitive, you place your objects out in the sun and the sun basically prints the image for you. This kind of chemistry you can alter through toning processes, this is where you dip a print into something else to change the color. Tannic T is something that we used to use to alter our prints. Now, this would turn something that was blue into something that was brown or tan and you can imagine you don't have to put the entire print into that tannic T or that tone or whatever it is that you're doing. You can randomly toss that stuff on there, you can judiciously place it around to create glitching effects. But all of these fall under the banner of chemical alteration, certainly you can do similar things to anything that's visual through the use of acids, through the use of introducing heat, through the use of simply leaving something out in the natural weather for a long period of time. I have works of art that I've actually submerged in water for weeks, literal weeks and pulled them out and gotten some really interesting glitch effects to them. 6. Hardware Manipulation: Now, we're going to get into some of the very traditional ways of creating glitch art. By traditional, I mean pre-Photoshop, pre-digital arts ways of altering your media. Hardware manipulation is something that I did as a kid and did not know I was creating glitch art when I did it. Hardware manipulation as the most basic core, involves wrecking technology to fun effect. When I was a kid, we had cathode-ray tubes in our television sets. You had a screen that had RGB pixels all the way across it. You could take a magnet and create this really cool, psychedelic, wavy atmosphere just by moving the magnet around on your television set. Sometimes, it was permanent. Sometimes, you really did something bad, but most of the time, if I recall, it was only temporary. The television would ultimately heal itself when you remove the magnet. There is a whole culture built around this concept of circuit bending and whole genres of music involved in it where you open up your technology, you open up a keyboard, for example, and you basically break the speaker. You change where things are connected through the use of soldering kits, through cutting wires, through literally bending the circuits and creating new cool sounds that come out of them. A musician that I highly respect, name of Richard James, Aphex Twin. Supposedly, this is how he created a lot of his own albums. He would dream up the instruments and the sounds he wanted to make in lucid dreaming. Then, in real life, he would dig into the keyboards and break them and create sounds that are so unique to his particular aesthetic of music. You can get into a printer. You can mess around with the inks in there. You can inject the wrong inks. Of course, this actually breaks your printer. If you're taking this class and you're doing this and you write me and say, "Hey, I broke my materials, you owe me a printer. " Please don't do that. What I'm letting you know is that there are creative, artistic things we can do when we break our technology. That doesn't always work out for the best for everybody involved. If you have old printers, if you have old scanners, these are the things that I think are worthy of being messed with, broken, circuit bent, so on and so forth. 7. Layering: A form of glitch art that involves taking in large amounts of information and creating new results is one that I simply referred to as layering. You see layering in some art pieces where an artist has taken a year's worth of Vogue magazine covers, layered them in Photoshop as a stack, changed the opacity. We're able to see what similarities and contrasts there are in something as culturally relevant as Vogue magazine. Honestly, there is a great concept in there. What does culture see when taken on a macro scale. We look at the macro of everything by layering similar things. You can do this with human faces. If you have a series of people who are all shot at the same exact location, height, distance. Their eyes correspond to each other. What happens when you blend layer after layer after layer of human faces? You're going to end up with some sort of medium average that tells you a lot about maybe who's in your social circle because those are the people you had access to. When people have done this about standards of beauty, they've taken pictures, a variety of women from particular countries to see what the average of that country looks like. It also creates this impressionistic effect. When you layer tons and tons of visual arts imagery or tons and tons of different sounds. You're creating like an atmosphere and a soup, and it becomes more ambient, more ethereal. Of course, the main method I will use for layering would be something like Photoshop. You have the option under the File menu to stack images as layers. If you were working with, say 20 distinct images, and you wanted them all in one layer set. Of course you can open copy-paste one at a time, or you could go File, Scripts, Load Files into stack and you'll get a whole bunch of them all within one Photoshop file as layers that you can change the opacities too. There's some really cool glitch art out there done in this format. 8. Data Manipulation: Data alteration as a method of glitch art program expects a certain kind of code to be input into it, so it can translate it into some form of output. What if you put the wrong kind of code into your program? That is the fundamental principle behind data alteration. I'm a photographer and I usually work with nicer cameras than my phone, but I have found that, if I put the wrong kind of data into my phone, when I'm using a special camera like the panoramic function, for example, if I don't do what the camera is asking me to do, which is smoothly swipe the camera to the side, I can end up with some really interesting glitches and there's even memes of glitch dogs going around the internet because of dogs who just moved really randomly in the lens while the camera's on panoramic function. I've done this myself with my own dog, but I've also done this with some of the art models I've worked with and I've been able to ask them to move their head side to side in the middle of a panorama, end up with a two-headed person and there's a whole bunch of things you can do. It's all going to be a surprise to you though, because each time the person's movements are out of your control, the data that you're inputting is not what the camera is asking for. You get something really strange out of it. Your printer, when you tell it that you're going to print on glossy photo paper and then you have something different go through it, such as wax paper, that is a way of inputting the incorrect information into a program. In a way, this is very similar to the circuit bending that we mentioned in one of our other tutorials, but we're really manipulating software. We're using it incorrectly to achieve some unique results. 9. Misalignment: The concept behind misalignment is incredibly simple. You're printing something and, you print out one side, flip it over, put it back in the printer, have it print out on top of each other. Misaligned imagery. You are doing some sort of printmaking event where you're supposed to have registration marks. You're placing one color on, then you're placing another color on, but you need to make sure those colors fall in the same place. Don't use the registration marks. Print incorrectly. You're creating visual art piece with stamps. Stamp it twice, stamp it kind of randomly. So, there's something a little bit off, and that creates your natural glitches. You can certainly do this artificially in something like Photoshop. Very frequently, if I want to make something look just a little bit off and strange, I will take an image in Photoshop. I will duplicate that image so that I have two of them on separate layers. I will make the top layer's opacity lower, something like 50 percent or use a Blending Mode such as Lighten. Then I will slightly shift it, so there's just a little bit something off there. I actually grew up loving misalignment in art because I used to read old comics that were not digitally produced. Oftentimes when they went through the printer, they had the colors outside of the black line a little bit because there was just a mistake in the printing process. That kind of thing was not intentional as an art style. But those of us who grew up looking at that work recognize things like the half tone, the misaligned colors, the fact that they had a limited color palette. Certainly, the pop artists of the 60s made strong use of that. Artists today who work in comics, such as Mike Allred, make use of that in their graphic design choices as well. 10. Wrap Up: Finally we come to you as the factor in glitch art. Now, all the other methodologies we've talked about generally involve some conscious choice on your part. But glitching in a natural world, our technological world, happens randomly and you can be that random factor in your own glitch art. You can close your eyes and you can move all the Lightroom sliders around. You can invite your two-year-old child to play with your art a little bit. Whether it's digital or physical. Leave it with them say, do what you like, see what happens. You can record your music on devices that randomly fail. Things that you pick up at goodwill. Trust in the Universe, that whatever minor damage it does to your piece is going to somehow benefit it and give it a little more soul, and a little more reality than the artwork that you as the Creator made every single choice on. Even the ones that look strange and even the ones that have a funky aesthetic. It's okay to let the world on our creations and let the world, let the universe makes some of the decisions for us. I hope you have enjoyed this course on glitch art.. I hope you have got some ideas for what you can do with your very own artworks. It's a very strange world. But once you start to let some control go in what you create. I think you're going to find you can be very surprised by your own artwork. Thanks for sticking with the course. If you make anything as a result of what you've seen here, I would love to see it. You can email me at or send me a link to your work through this very website. Feel free to check out the rest of my courses. There's a lot on graphic design the Adobe programs, multimedia arts, photography. I know you'll find something out there and that will appeal to you. Thanks for your time, best of luck in your creative endeavors.