Special Effects

Circuit Board

Transform a regular photo into a high-tech artwork made up of blocks and connectors resembling a circuit board.

Creating the Blocks

First, we’ll create convert the image to blocks using a combination of Photoshop filters.


Step 1

Open a photo you would like to edit. We recommend using a high resolution image of at least 1000×1000 pixels. It is also fine to upscale a low resolution image before using this effect.

This photo will be used to create the Circuit Board Photoshop effect.


Step 2

Duplicate the layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer or Ctrl+J).

Duplicated Layer


Step 3

Activate the top layer and apply a Mosaic filter (Filter> Pixelate> Mosaic) with a cell size of 16 square.

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Step 4

Apply a Find Edges filter (Filter> Stylize> Find Edges).

Find Edges filter applied.


Step 5

Apply a Median filter (Filter> Noise> Median) with a radius of 2 pixels.

The Median Filter


Step 6

Apply a Minimum filter (Filter> Other> Minimum) with a radius by 4 pixels.

The Minimum Filter


Step 7

Finally, invert the current layer (Image> Adjustments> Invert or Ctrl+I).

Inverted Layer

Adding an Outline to the Blocks

Now that we have the blocks created, we’ll add a simple outline around them.


Step 8

Duplicate the top layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer or Ctrl+J) and change the blending mode of the new layer to Screen.

Layer duplicated and blending mode set to Screen.


Step 9

Apply a Find Edges filter (Filter> Stylize> Find Edges).

Find Edges filter applied.


Step 10

Invert the current layer (Image> Adjustments> Invert or Ctrl+I) and the outline should blend into the image. One last thing to do is to reduce the opacity to 25%.

Creating the Connectors


We’re almost done with the effect. All we need to do now is add the connectors. This is a simple process using a few Photoshop filters.


Step 11

Duplicate the Background layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer or Ctrl+J) and move it to the top.

Layer inverted and opacity set to 25%.


Step 12

Apply a Mosaic filter (Filter> Pixelate> Mosaic) with a cell size of 16 square.

Layer duplicated and moved to top.


Step 13

Activate the new top layer and apply a Median filter with a radius of 8 pixels.

The Median Filter


Step 14

As you might have guessed, we’ll now apply a Find Edges filter (Filter> Stylize> Find Edges).

Find Edges filter applied.


Step 15

Finally, invert the current layer (Image> Adjustments> Invert or Ctrl+I) and change the blending mode to Screen.

Layer inverted and blending mode changed to Screen.

Colorizing the Final Results

This step is optional. If you would like to colorize the final results, follow this step:


Step 16

Add a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue/Saturation) as the top layer. Checkmark Colorize and apply your desired color settings. Here are the settings I’ve used for this step:

Colorize: Checked

Hue: 100

Saturation: 100

Lightness: 0

The Hue/Saturation Tool


Final Results

Rollover the images below to see the before and after effect.

Circuit Board

final-results-full

Circuit Board

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