I want to do more collab type stuff
PNG Glitching, requested by vjglitch
PNGs are tricky beasts to work with, as they break quite easily, even after minute changes. And I’ll just say right now, working with them the way I do can be extremely time consuming, tedious, and a matter of luck (but it works, and is the best way that I know of thus far).
Typically my setup looks something like this:
The main tools for this part of the process are Windows Photo Viewer (WPV) and XVI32(it’s freeware). Using Notepad is completely optional in this case, I sometimes just like to keep track of the changes I’ve made to the file. WPV is surprisingly useful for this process, as it will update the image every time you save the changes you make in the hex editor, and seems to have little problem correctly displaying glitched PNGs (JPEGs and GIFs seem to give it a lot more trouble). I keep XVI32’s display limited to 19 columns of hex values (which may or may not be the default, I don’t remember) so I can consistently find certain regions of images to modify by row name.
Smaller images tend to be easier to glitch, as individual hex values seem to affect more of the image. I dunno the exact reason behind it, It’s just what I’ve found. One trick I’ve learned for larger images is to first save it as a JPEG, then save the JPEG as a PNG.
Like most formats, PNGs have a header region at the beginning. Mess with that, and you’ll kill the image. Finding the exact end of this region is basically trial-and-error, though it seems to correlate with image dimensions and possibly file size. For instance, the editable region of the picture above begins at Row 3EF Column 15, while in another 640x400 image it begins three rows up at Row 3B6 Column 11. It’s not an exact science, but it at least can help give you a general area of where to start looking, and this is why I make sure the XVI32 display window is kept the same size.
Once you find the editable region it’s basically a case of “fiddle with it until something cool happens.” Often times this involves finding and modifying only a single hex value. Typically I start by making minor changes (such as A1 to A2), which helps in making a quick assessment of whether that value is a good glitching candidate, and is easy to remember the original value if you need to revert it (you must save the file in order to see changes, and XVI32 does not have an undo function to my knowledge). Once I find a good loci I usually try a wide range of hex values to see what I get. I usually look in the beginning of the editable region, as this usually makes the glitch affect most of the image.
The most common type of glitch you’ll get is what I call a negative, and they look something like this:
Most of the uncluttered space of the image will turn black or very dark gray, lines will be emphasized, and a variety of horizontal lines will form. Additionally, there is usually some degree of offset from the original. This type of glitch tends to look nicer with images with large regions of similar color, such as animation frames or old game CG. Photos with lots of detail or images with heavy compression tend to come out looking like tv static, which is a little too busy for my liking. Some examples:
The second and more elusive type of glitch you can get is what I like to call the chromatic glitch. These are highly variable, but generally look something like these:
These are easily my favorite type of PNG glitch, for reasons that should be fairly clear. They are significantly harder to manifest, and often only affect a small part of the image, so these often require editing multiple values.
Now, once you’ve got a glitch you like, you’ll face another hurdle. While Windows Photo Viewer should still display your image just fine, chances are you’ll run into errors like this one:
You’ll also probably have trouble uploading them anywhere. Luckily, there is a surprisingly simple solution to this issue. Simply right click your glitched PNG and:
Open the image with Paint! It seems to have no trouble opening these files. Once I have the file open, I save it as a new PNG, which will behave normally.
And that pretty much sums up my process for working with PNGs. I hope you find it helpful!
Q:I really enjoy your work, especially the effects you get when you edit PNG files. Whenever I try to work with a PNG it just seems to break the image (with or without a hex editor). Could you share some insight on how to work with them?
Absolutely! I started writing up a response to this, but it’s become rather lengthy and I can’t finish it right now, so I’m going to make a separate post about it later today!
Update + Welcome!
Just wanted to let everyone know that I’m not dead, just very busy. Also welcome new followers, I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!
S2Vpa0hleA0K Pt. 1 (keikkun's Shoujo-Glitch Remix)
About a week ago a friend of mine posted a little glitch experiment to her art blog, which made me want to play around with it as well. She has a wonderful style which I find absolutely charming, and this image has been a lot of fun to work with, and I’ll probably post a part 2 in the coming days. I fiddled with it in a hex editor, and also experimented with a variation on the transplantation sonification technique I described about a month ago. Please view these in their full size.
Art belongs to keikkun
Apologies for the lack of updates, I’ve been busy and also fighting my depression.