Introducing... Dither Decay

Dither Decay Blog Post Image

What Is Dither Decay?

To put it succinctly, Dither Decay is a stylistic dithering plugin built with the intent of adding texture and extra visual flair for your projects. That can be in the form of adding a slight "dither grain" to make your footage look more nostalgic or completely overhauling your footage into a crazy glitchy nightmare. Ultimately, the choice is yours!

Either way, Dither Decay is a great tool to add to your VFX toolbox, and, in this blog post, I'll explain a little more about my personal philosophy behind Dither Decay as well as what I believe makes it so unique.

If you have any questions about Dither Decay, feel free to email me at

So, What Does Dither Decay Actually Do?

Dither Decay Comparison Image

Great question! Dither Decay is built around a concept called "dithering." Dithering is a technique that was created in the early days of computers (think 1950s-1970s) to cheat around the hardware limitations of the day. Back then, computers were only capable of producing a small range of colors.

So, in order to trick the human eye, computer scientists created algorithms that would take the color of an image and reduce it down to a smaller color palette. This would effectively trick people into thinking there were more colors than there actually were. In other words, dithering was like a computer's way of mixing paints to create a new shade.

Dither Decay takes the traditional concept of dithering and kinda turns it on it's head. Rather than trying to fool the brain into perceiving more colors, I built Dither Decay as a way of using dithering for stylistic choices. Of course, you can still use it to reduce the palettes of your videos for a classic dithering look, but it's got a whole lot more functionality than that.

Breaking Dither Decay Down

Dither Decay in it's current form consists of two primary parts, dithering and color swapping. Dithering, as stated above, is the actual process of reducing the colors in your image. Dither Decay currently has 5 different algorithms for accomplishing this. Floyd-Steinberg, Burkes, Banding, Bayer 4x4, and Bayer 8x8. These are the actual algorithms used back in the 70s. You can't get more authentic than that.

Dither Decay Dithering Methods

The first three algorithms are all a process called Error Diffusion. I won't go into too much detail (there's a great wikipedia page on Error Diffusion if you want to learn more!) but, essentially, error diffusion is the dithering equivalent of "carry the one" across your image. If one pixel gets overcorrected, the next pixel get under-corrected. Resulting in a fairly evenly balanced image.

The other two algorithms, Bayer 4x4 and Bayer 8x8, are a process called Ordered Dithering. If Error Diffusion is when you carry the one, Ordered Dithering is when you tell the one to get lost. It's less "accurate" and produces a distinct pattern across your image.

What Makes Dither Decay Different?

Dither Decay Detail Comparison Example

Adjustments To The Algorithms

Dither Decay uses these 5 core algorithms and expands on them in some critical ways. First of all, they can all be adjusted to use varying levels of detail. This gives you the ability to really fine tune how aggressively you want your video to be altered.

If you set the detail to the highest it'll go, you'll have a very very subtle effect. Just some minor texture will appear around your footage. On the flip side, if you set the detail as low as it'll go, your footage will be completely mangled and pixelated. Both can produce really interesting results!

Handling Colors, The Dither Decay Way

The other thing that Dither Decay does different is how it handles color. Using the Color Fidelity slider and the Palette drop-down menu, you can adjust how these algorithms function on a fundamental level. Color Fidelity will adjust how precisely your colors will be adjusted.

Higher color fidelity equals more accurate color, lower color fidelity means lower accuracy. Again, you can get some pretty subtle and pretty wild results depending on how you use this slider.

Color Remapping With Dither Decay

Dither Decay Color Palette Example

The second thing that Dither Decay does wildly differently is that it can remap the colors of your image to any other palette. Dither Decay has 11 built-in palettes that I created for you to play around with. Some are more extreme than others. But, Dither Decay also supports custom color palettes using the color swatches in the "custom palette" drop-down. Using the custom palette, you can tell Dither Decay exactly how you want your footage to be remapped. Just don't forget to select "Custom Palette" from the drop-down "Palette" menu in order to see your changes.

Personally, I could spend hours using Dither Decay without ever touching the color remapping features. I just love how the dithering algorithms look. But, having the ability to easily remap your color palettes opens the door to millions of stylistic choices. Perfect for when you're working on a music video and want to feature an artist's brand colors or if you're making an ad for a new fashion line and you need some extra color to stand out.

In Summary

That's a lot of information! So, to put it briefly, I created Dither Decay as a new tool for achieving a variety of cool dither-based effects, some subtle and some not so subtle. As with all my plugins, I encourage you to experiment and try using it in ways I haven't even considered yet!

Want Dither Decay For Your Next Project?

Who can blame you! You can purchase Dither Decay here.


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