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Convert Image To 8 Bit Photoshop Action
Tutorials Photo Effects 41668 May 21st, 2018

Learn how to convert image to 8 bit in Photoshop. This tutorial will make use of a premium pixel art Photoshop action. You can easily create pixelate or sprite effect using this cool 1-click action. You can create pixel art using photos, shapes, clipart, etc; works great for everything. You can also check out our other Photoshop actions both free and premium.

Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of software, where images are edited on the pixel level. The pixel graphics design comes from 8-bit and 16-bit computers and video game consoles. In most pixel art, the color palette used is extremely limited, with some pixel art using only two colors.

So let's see how to convert an image to 8 bit in Photoshop.

Check out this article about CGA graphics used in retro style video games from the 80s. If you want to learn more about the 1980s, check out my article about 80s font used in movie posters, video gammes, music album covers, etc.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a pixel avatar image or a 8 bit avatar using your own photo. For that I will use my premium Pixel Art Photoshop action.

Remove the Photo Background

Open a new PSD file, size 500x500 pixels. I will use this girl stock image for this tutorial. You will have to pick a colorful image.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

Make sure you have the image resized to a large scale to obtain a good face details after the pixel effect is applied. Don't worry about the blur that may occur in the resize process.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

Use a Selection Tool to remove the background.

Remove Background Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

8 Bit Effect In Photoshop

Now I will use my Premium Pixel Art Photoshop Generator. Open the Actions Panel and load the ATN file in Photoshop. Choose the "pixelate big" action and click play. There's no 8 bit filter in Photoshop, but you can use the Filter>Pixelate>Mosaic instead of this action but with not so good results.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

The pixel art action will generate two separate layers: the pixelated image and the background, both with a math paper grid.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

Draw Some Details in the 8 bit Art

What you can further do is to manually adjust the colors made by the action. For example you can pop up the eyes better. Simply use the Magic Wand Tool to select the two dots that represents the eyes.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

Use the Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast to darken the eyes or you can simply use the Paint Bucket Tool.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

You can do the same with the lips, face color, hair, etc. You can even select pixel squares and delete them to obtain a better shape. Or you can use this SQUARE PIXEL BRUSH to add more pixels. This is actually how to draw in 8 bit.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

You can either keep the background layer or you can replace it with a gradient background.

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

So here is the final result for this pixel photo/image in Photoshop; you might also want to read this collection of Pixel Art and Spriting Tutorials

Convert Image to 8 bit Photoshop

This action pack will allow you to create realistic pixel art effects out of any text, vector shape/graphic or raster image cutout. It works best for graphics and it adds a pixel like effect. The result will contain two separate layers: the pixel graphics and the background - white math lined paper. You can use this to create beautiful pixel art sprites and the action is also a nice way for creating pixel perfect icons. You can also use it to rapidly create game character sprites. The action comes in 3 versions for small size pixel, medium and large.

Pixel Art Creator Photoshop Action

Pixel Art Creator Photoshop Action

You can also download my Pixel Art Photoshop Action to create pixel images, sprites and pixel art.

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8 comment(s) for "8 bit Image Avatar with Pixel Photoshop Action"

6:31 AM Tuesday, June 4, 2013
I will try to find a way to reduce the number of colors to create a more realistic 8 bit avatar in Photoshop. The best solution but also time consuming is to draw it pixel by pixel.
Here is a video tutorial on how to create 8 bit image in Photoshop . reply
1:33 AM Friday, October 25, 2013
Pixel Art Avatar Icons made by eBoy: reply
7:05 AM Tuesday, October 29, 2013
You can create identical pixel art effect with my Pixel Art Generator reply
3:44 AM Thursday, January 23, 2014
Hi James,
this is a pretty decent result! Of course the best way is to draw the pixel avatar from scratch :) And thank you for the useful tips. reply
1:30 AM Tuesday, December 23, 2014
nice action, I used it to create this pixel super mario image; it looks ok for graphics but for images it has a high range of color variation and gradients. Can I reduce the color number? thanks reply
1:30 AM Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Hi John,
I used your Pixel Art Creator Photoshop Action and here is my result before and after.
The action works quite well but there are some things that your buyers should know:
1. I used a symmetric photo portrait for creating a nice looking pixel avatar.
2. I had to make some manual adjustments like you showed in the tutorial, to obtain a good result.
3. The best tool for adding extra pixels is the Paint Bucket Tool, but make sure the Anti-Alias option is NOT checked

2:07 AM Tuesday, March 10, 2015
You can also try our LOW-POLY PHOTOSHOP ACTION:

1:06 PM Monday, April 29, 2019
Photoshop tutorial: Turn a photo into a 16-bit arcade game character reply

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