How to: Convert Images into Pixel Art in Photoshop

An easy to follow tutorial guide to convert images into Pixel Art or 8-bit graphics in Adobe Photoshop.

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to convert your images into cool looking pixel art or 8-bit graphics. If you ever played games like Mario, Contra and Mega man then you probably know how pixel art looks like.

This is the easy and quick way to achieve that kind of effect but you can work manually and dedicate some more time to make it look even better. Let’s get started.

Step 1

Setting up the Layers

Here I have two layers, top one is the image with its background removed and bottom one is working as background.

Step 2

Applying the Mosaic Filter

Let’s go to Filter > Pixelate and apply Mosaic filter from the list. Inside Mosaic dialog box, set the cell size to 8 and click OK to apply the effect.

Note: Values I am using in this tutorial may vary depending on the image so, feel free to use the values that work best for you.

Step 3

Applying the Posterize Adjustment

Now, go to Image > Adjustments and click on Posterize…. Set the Levels value to 12 and click OK to apply the adjustment.

Tip: You can also make use of Adjustment Layers so whenever you want to try a new value you don’t have to undo everything.

Step 4

Selecting the Pixels

Ctrl + Click on the layer thumbnail to select all the pixels and click on Refine Edge… button on the Options bar.

Make sure you have selected any of the selection tools otherwise Refine Edge button will not be available.

Step 5

Refining the Selection

Under the Refine Edge dialog, set the Contrast value 100 to and Shift Edge to -60. Set the Output To: option as Layer Mask and click OK.

Step 6

Using the Threshold Adjustment

Select the Layer 1 and press Ctrl + J to create a copy of it. Change it’s name from Layer 1 Copy to Threshold.

Now, go to Image > Adjustments and select Threshold from the list. Inside Threshold dialog box, set the Threshold Levels to 155 and hit OK to apply the adjustment.

Step 7

Adjusting the Opacity

Let’s remove the White pixels of the Threshold layer with the help of Magic Eraser tool and lower its Opacity down to 20%.

That’s it. Now, you have a nice looking pixel art. You can experiment with different Blending modes to get different and interesting effects.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Stay tuned for more tutorials. Thanks!