Pixelate filter in Affinity Photo tutorial
By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2021
How to quantise an image or layer in Affinity Photo by using the pixelate filter. Create all kinds of amazing block / square effects using the pixelate filter (PF) and combine with other features of Affinity Photo and filters such as pinch punch and diffuse effect and others. You can use it with selections, layers, channels and more
1. Where ?
You can find the effect in the distort category in the filter menu (which is an odd location. The tool is not available for some reason as a live layer effect which is a pity.
The panel appears and has one option, it is not interactive either so is not changed by dragging across the document. Start with 1 and you can barely see the difference but as the number for the quantisation increases the image or layer will get increasingly filled with square blocks.
3. Using with an image.
Set the value to 100 and you will be filled with large blocks of color which is based on the averaging of the color of those pixels 'below'. You can change the color of those blocks by changing the color of the image before you use the PF effect or you can modify the color of the blocks / squares afterwards by using adjustments.
You can always apply an adjustment layer to modify the color of the generated square blocks. Go to the layer menu and then new adjustment layer and then add vibrance or HSL or a color LUT or perhaps go the view menu and studio and select the adjustments panel and select one of the presets to apply to the squares. you can then modify the color of the PF effect.
You don't have to apply the PF effect to the entire layer or image, you can apply it to a different smaller layer. You can also apply duplicate the image and apply different PF effect quantisations to each layer and then combine the layers using blending modes via the layers panel and create a far more complex design than a basic PF effect
You can use the various selection tools to select one of the blocks and then fill that with say an image or a gradient etc.
You can also use a selection to select part of the image and then apply the effect with one setting of quantisation and then select a different part of the image and apply another quantisation setting to create an unusual combination of blocks across the image and perhaps combine those selected areas with different adjustment layers to create unusual colorful block designs.
7. Combine with other effects
You don't have to apply the PF and quantisation settings on their own, you can also combine them with other effects such as applying the Gaussian blur before or perhaps applying the filter effect afterwards. You can also use the PF with procedure textures with the equations filter to transform it or perhaps the mirror filter for some unusual square mirrored designs. You can also save all the steps using these combination of effects into a macro via the macro panel and then saving it to the library for future use.
You can fade the PF effect, this does not alter the quantisation applied but you can blend the image and effect using blending modes and opacity and you can find this command via the layer menu.
You can also use the effect with channels. Find the channels panel in the view menu and studio and then select the red channel and apply the PF with a quantisation value of 10 and then go to the green channel and apply it with 20 and so on. The end result depends on the image. You can experiment with the quantisation settings as well as the combination of other filters to a particular channel. It should be noted that the merged channels RGB may bot be square any more as the alignments of all the squares will vary depending on the settings
10. Pattern layers
The PF effect works well with the pattern layers in the application. Select a layer and then go to the layer menu and new pattern layer from selection and set the mirror option on with the move tool selected. Apply the PF effect and then re-size the pattern layer.
The PF is super useful if you modify the size and angle of the pattern layer and then re-apply the PF effect and you can repeat this over and over to create all kinds of unique layer effects using the same settings as well as varying the level of quantisation.