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Pixelate

When one is "pixilated," according to my dictionary, he's intoxicated, but in a charming, bemused, whimsical, pixieish way. Pixelation can be equally whimsical and bemusing, if applied to the right subjects. Misused, it just turns everything into a bunch of dots. Pixelation happens when similarly colored pixels are clumped together to form larger units, which might be square (pixel-shaped), round, or rounded off by anti-aliasing to whatever form they take. It happens, unasked for, if you're printing a picture at too low a resolution. You end up with large pixels forming jagged shapes that look like they were built out of a child's plastic block set.

When controlled, the effect can be quite interesting. Photoshop includes a set of Pixelation filters that produce different effects all based on the notion of clumping together similar pixels. It's best to apply these effects to simple subjects and to those with strong contrasts, such as the photo of Lake Mead in Figure 16.12.


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