[2024] After Effects Pixel Effect Tutorial - PLUGIN Included!

To create a pixel video effect in After Effects, start by setting up a well-organized composition and then apply the Mosaic effect for pixelation. Enhance the depth by blending layers with a tint effect, and finalize with color adjustments and optional vignettes for a polished look.

November 14, 2023
[2024] After Effects Pixel Effect Tutorial - PLUGIN Included!
"Video editors relying on templates lack genuine skill and creativity."

What do you think? Submit your opinion to see what others have to say!

"It's Like Video Editing On Steroids!"
- Sebastian Navarro, FreeVisuals Editor
Endorsed by Adobe, Motion Array is the ULTIMATE tool for creating high-quality videos! Browse 15M+ assets for Premiere Pro, After Effects, FCPX & DaVinci!

How To Pixelate In Adobe After Effects

If you've ever been captivated by the retro charm of pixelated visuals and wondered how to recreate them, you're in the right place. In this guide, we'll unravel the process of creating a pixel video effect in After Effects, breaking it down into digestible steps.

Setting the Stage: Preparing Your Composition

In my opinion, starting with a well-organized composition is like laying the foundation for a house. It ensures everything that follows is stable and in order.

  • Open After Effects: Launch the software.
  • Create a New Composition: Go to File > New > New Composition.
  • Import Your Video: Go to File > Import > File and select your video.

Applying the Mosaic Effect: The Pixel Magic Begins

This is where the magic starts. You see, the Mosaic effect is the tool that will transform your video into a pixelated version.

  • Locate the Effects Panel: If you can't find it, go to Window > Effects.
  • Search for "Mosaic": In the search bar of the Effects panel, type in "Mosaic".
  • Drag and Drop: Drag the Mosaic effect onto your video layer.
  • Adjust the Settings: In the Effect Controls panel, you'll see two main settings: Horizontal Blocks and Vertical Blocks. Guess what? The lower the number, the larger the pixels. Play around with these settings until you achieve the desired pixelation.

Enhancing the Pixel Effect: Adding Depth and Dimension

To be honest, just applying the Mosaic effect can sometimes look flat. So, let's add some depth.

  • Duplicate Your Video Layer: Right-click on your video layer and select Duplicate.
  • Apply a Tint Effect: Search for the "Tint" effect in the Effects panel and apply it to the duplicated layer. This will give a monochromatic look, which can add depth when blended with the original.
  • Blend the Layers: In the Layers panel, change the blending mode of the duplicated layer to Overlay or Soft Light. Adjust the layer's opacity if needed. Believe me, this step can make a huge difference in the final look.

Final Touches: Refining Your Pixelated Masterpiece

No doubt, refining is crucial. It's like adding the final coat of paint to your house.

  • Adjust Color and Contrast: Go to the Effects panel and search for "Curves" or "Levels". Apply it to your composition to adjust the overall contrast and color.
  • Add a Vignette: This is optional, but it can focus the viewer's attention. Search for the "Vignette" effect and apply it. Adjust the settings to your liking.

Plugin & Template For Pixel Effects

There is currently 1 plugin and 1 template that let's you pixelate footage in your composition with just one click.

Pixel CRT Effect

Not only does this give your footage a pixelated look, but it also adds a bunch off other effects to make it look like it is being played on a CTR screen. All parameter's are customizable.


This is a template that gives your video a rough pixelated look that has minimal customization. I'd recommend the plugin above, but this is till good for a quick and easy pixel look.