To understand pixelation, it helps to know how pixels combine to form digital images. Most image files, like JPG, PNG, and GIF, are bitmaps. In other words, they’re maps of bits — essentially grids of pixels that blend seamlessly to form images. A pixel is the smallest square of hue, saturation, and light (HSL) that makes up the grid in a digital image.
Pixelation occurs when pixels become visible to the naked eye instead of being seen as seamlessly blended. Pixelation can happen accidentally — for example, when you resize an image to dimensions too large for its resolution — but you can also create cool effects by intentionally pixelating an image. In fact, a whole genre of pixel art has grown out of the nostalgia for early video games.
Whatever image size or quality you start with, you can quickly create your own pixel art by pixelating an image.
You can also use pixelation effects over just a portion of an image in order to obscure someone’s face, a brand logo, an address, or other sensitive information.