There are a number of reasons why you might want to obscure a face or person. If you’re retouching a family photo to post online, you may want to pixelate the faces of some of your family members. If you are editing a scanned image, you may want to pixelate some personal data to protect yourself before posting it online.
There are several ways to quickly black out a face on Windows and Mac using various free or paid photo editors, such as Photoshop and GIMP, or by using online services to edit images. If you want to know how to pixelate an image, here’s what you need to do.
How to pixelate images using photos on Mac
The easiest way to blur images is to use the tools you already have at your disposal. If you’re a Mac user, that means using the built-in Photos app to quickly pixelate your images.
Photos comes pre-installed on all Macs, so you don’t need to install anything extra to get started. Instead, you can launch Photos from the Applications folder in the Finder app or from the Launchpad via the Dock.
- To pixelate images using the Photos app, open the image in the app by selecting it from the Library tab. If it’s not visible, select File > Import to import it.
- With the photo imported, double-click the image in the Imports tab to view it. Once the image is open, select the Edit option at the top right to start editing the image.
- Image editing options will appear on the right side of the Photos app. Although Photos doesn’t have a built-in pixelation tool, you can use the retouch tool to achieve a similar effect. Move the retouch slider to increase the effect, select the checkbox to enable it, then apply the effect using the mouse to the area you want to hide.
- You can preview the effect of the slider on the right. If you are not satisfied, select Revert to original in the top menu bar or select Done to save the changes.
Although the retouch tool isn’t technically pixelating the image, it distorts it, producing a similar effect. If you want to pixelate an image using block-style pixelization, however, you’ll need to try one of the methods listed below.
How to darken faces using Paint 3D on Windows
The Paint 3D tool is a replacement for Microsoft Paint, created by Microsoft to introduce new features (such as basic 3D modeling) that are not possible in the original software.
A useful feature of Paint 3D, however, is a quick pixelation tool for images. Paint 3D should be pre-installed on your Windows PC but if not, you can download and install it from the Microsoft Store.
- To get started, open the Paint 3D app on your PC and select Menu > Open > Browse File to open the image.
- Once the file is open, use the Select tool to select the part of the image you want to pixelate (or select the whole image to pixelate the whole image). Once selected, reduce the size of the selected portion of the image – this will reduce the quality of the selected portion of the image.
- After reducing the size of the section, deselect it by clicking anywhere else in the image. Now you will need to reselect and resize the reduced image section to its previous size using the Select tool, making sure you don’t add any white space. Once resized, the image quality will be reduced in that section, creating a pixelation effect.
Using Adobe Photoshop to Pixelate Images on Windows or Mac
Although Adobe Photoshop is one of the best and well known professional photo editors for Windows and Mac users, it can also handle pretty simple tasks like pixelizing images.
- To pixelate an image in Photoshop, open the image by selecting File > Open.
- Using the Select tool, select the part of the image you want to pixelate. If you want to pixelate the whole image, go to the next step.
- With the part of the image selected, select Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic to begin the pixelation process.
- In the Pixelate box, move the Cell Size slider to increase the pixelation effect. Select OK to apply it.
- Once you’ve applied the pixelation effect, you’ll need to save the image by selecting File > Save or Save As.
Using GIMP to Pixelate Images on Windows or Mac
If you want to pixelate images using free software, you can use the open-source GIMP to do this. This free photo editor is available for Windows and Mac, as well as other platforms such as Linux.
- To get started, open GIMP on your PC or Mac and load the image by selecting File > Open.
- If you want to pixelate a section of the image, use the Select tool to select it first. Otherwise, GIMP will pixelate the whole image. To begin the pixelation process, select Filters > Blur > Pixelate from the menu.
- In the Pixelize dialog, increase or decrease the jagged effect by changing the block weight and block weight. To apply the effect, select OK.
- Once the effect is applied, save the file by selecting File > Save or Save As.
Using Adobe Photoshop Express to pixelate images online
If you want to pixelate images quickly without installing a third-party app, you can use an online photo editor. There are various websites, but one of the best is to use Adobe Photoshop Express, which will allow you to pixelate an entire image.
- To get started, upload an image to the Adobe Photoshop Express website by selecting the Upload File option.
- Once the image is loaded, select Artistic Effects on the right, then select the Effects category in the Artistic Effects tab on the right.
- Select the Pixelate effect to apply it to the image and move the Pixel Size slider to increase or decrease the effect. Select Apply to apply the change.
- Once the effect is applied, download the image by selecting the Download option above.
Best photo editing on Windows and Mac
Now that you know how to pixelate images on Windows and Mac, you can take your photo editing to the next level. For example, you may want to restore old photos using tools like GIMP or create high-resolution vector images using Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator.
If your images get too big, don’t forget to reduce the image size, especially if you are planning to post online. It’s best to do it yourself, as online services like Instagram will automatically compress images, reducing their quality. Make sure you use photo editing apps to make your images compatible with social media.