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— From a Cracked Magazine parody of COPS

(Not to be confused with Pixilation, which is the Stop Motion animation of live actors.)

Video editors alter a section of the screen to hide something by averaging or mildly scrambling the color values of the image across larger areas than the original pixels, producing a blocky effect that obscures detail but retains much of the original hue and contour information.

Used to blur out faces (of criminals, crime victims, and undercover police officers; people who didn't sign releases to allow a show to use their likeness), offensive body parts (mostly breasts on women, the middle finger when used as a rude gesture, and anything below the waist on both sexes — that includes front and back), obscene words and written messages (mostly on T-shirts, billboards, and signs), trademarked product names and logos which have not paid for placement (MTV does this a lot to their rap videos and on most of their reality shows, like The Real World), extremely graphic injuries (particularly the bloody stumps left behind when someone loses an arm or a leg or wide open head wounds), depictions of marijuana (be they the actual leaf or a rolled joint that's been lit and smoked), and even the years on closed-circuit date stamps (done a lot on reality shows that focus on police chases and crime, such as America's Dumbest Criminals or World's Wildest Police Chases).


A black square is still used in some cases. When played for laughs, the censor box or pixellation instantly becomes a Gag Censor (for example, superimposing a crown over the crotch of a streaker during a royal visit in Britain).

The whole screen is lightly pixellated (or blurred) in some cases, usually for a reconstruction scene in documentaries about battles.

It's interesting that a movie may have given impetus for another practice: blurring people's lips when they say an obscenity that has been "beeped" over. In the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas his deputy tells the sheriff how a local TV station broadcast a tirade the sheriff made when he came in contact with the reporter: "They bleeped you out but my momma read your lips on every 'hell', 'goddamn' and 'shit'." So now, a number of programs not only 'bleep' someone's bad word, they also blur the area of their lips so you can't read them.


Large pixels look plain ugly because of the chunkiness, so the pixels may be made smaller— perhaps so small as to just be a "fog" over the offensive material. Fogging like this may be a reversible transformation. A sufficiently skilled person with the appropriate software can, given a blurred image, reconstruct the original without blurring. Very large pixels make the reversal more difficult, and a solid block is of course impossible to reverse (as anyone attempting Enhance Button on a blurry image in real life will probably have found out).note 

In return, many anime have begun to use it for non-censoring purposes, covering an object or such, and letting the viewers' imaginations run wild deciding what it is. This can also be used as a form of Innocent Innuendo, making something look perverted when it's (later revealed to be) really not.

Compare Censor Steam and Censor Box.


    open/close all folders 

  • Used by Vitamin Water with its XXX flavor. The bottle repeatedly takes on and off the label like a woman flashing her breasts and is censored in a similar fashion.
  • This anti-censorship campaign by Reporters Without Borders.
  • Subverted in an ad for a French naturist website, which begins with a pixellated naked woman going to a nude beach. She takes the pixellation off as if it was a bikini and sets it down, without any other direct censorship on hernote , while the "outfit" pixellates the patch of ground it's dropped on.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The manga Tensei Pandemic uses it for comic effect. The main character is part of a beauty contest, and they are supposed to be eating cherries and tying them off. She asks, "should I do it with my mouth? I may not be good at it." And the cherries are suddenly pixelated out.
  • In some anime, the pixellated object may not actually be offensive, but the object is pixellated in order to get the viewers to use their own imaginations as to what the object in question might actually be. Please Teacher! and Tenchi Muyo! GXP have used this on occasion.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga used pixellation as a Penalty Game: a TV producer who threatened to show a video of Yugi getting beaten up (pixellating his face) was made to see everything in pixellation.
  • Spoofed, like everything else ever, in Excel♡Saga - beautiful but scarily perceptive Misaki is displayed at first with a black bar across her eyes. "I'm not a criminal," she deadpans. The black bar vanishes, to be replaced instantly by a pixel grid. "And I'm not," she continues, "in an adult video, either." The pixels vanish, and her face is revealed for the first time in the series.
  • Used humorously in Fullmetal Alchemist: rather extreme and bloody Amusing Injuries are pixellated. Almost exclusive to Ed as a result of Winry seeing he's busted up his automail again. It's used at one point on Al's body's face when the characters are wondering, horrified, whether Al's body has rotted at all while he's not in it.
  • .hack did this one too in Twilight, with Ouka beating up some skeletons.
  • Subverted in the manga version of the sixth episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (and in the uncut version of the episode proper). The Monster of the Week has captured all the women and children and is displaying them on a monitor to Kamina, with pixels covering the necessary areas. When their safety is threatened Kamina exits Gurren on the sole condition that the pixels are removed. When the baddie complies Kamina is infuriated to see that what the pixels covered were, in fact, the towels that the girls had been wearing the entire time. The only one who actually deserved to be pixeled was Gimmy, a little boy.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi normally use Barbie Doll Anatomy, except when Chisame walks in on Jack Rakan while he's taking a shower.
  • In the Please Teacher! anime, two of the episodes show the contents of a box belonging to Mizuho being pixelated; they're presumably possessions from her life as an alien and/or mementos from her deceased father, but the audience never gets to know what they really are, since even in the DVD releases the contents are kept pixelated.
    • They're shown in the manga to be advanced-technology electronic devices.
  • Ninja Nonsense pixelates one of the ninja after Onsokumaru steals his swim trunks.
    • Then there's the time Onsokumaru got attacked by a crocodile. The ninjas discuss the possibility of just pixelating the carnage instead of helping him.
  • To learn a new spell, Kukuri in Magical Circle Guru-Guru must watch the North-North dance because the hip movements trace out a magic circle she can use. Unfortunately, the only person around who knows this dance is an old man who wears a grass skirt. In the first anime, when Kukuri forces herself to watch the dance it is pixellated for us viewers. Unfortunately, this is the only time this happens and Old Man North-North becomes a recurring character.
  • In episode 22 of Sgt. Frog, they put a black stripe over the Keronians' eyes and distort their voices to conceal their identities. However, they're still easily identified by their bright, primary-colored bodies and the fact that they're hanging out with the same people and in the same places they do all the time. In the manga, scenes of extreme violence, or really gross stuff like nasty Amusing Injuries or Momoka being groped by a space octopus giving her the Kiss of Life would be pixellated out.
  • The opening theme of Chobits features a stark display of the two main characters against a background of colorful lights and shapes, and continually cuts from one camera view to another using a full-screen pixellation transition effect.
  • Kirby of the Stars episode 6 has Dedede and Escargon's faces pixelated on live TV near the end of the episode.
  • In an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, the class president tries to explain to Kaname why Sousuke had a reasonable excuse for blowing up the school's shoe lockers when he noticed they'd been tampered with. He asks Kaname to imagine what her reaction would be if she discovered a suspicious package in the mail with a "foul stench" and that's slightly damp. While he's doing this, Kaname has an Imagine Spot of her coming to the door and discovering the package—she drops it on the ground, which causes the package to open slightly. The contents are pixellated, but between the president's description and the reddish color of the pixels the viewer sees enough to be squicked out.
    • In another episode, Kaname is confronted by some thugs and pulls out a whistle, threatening to blow it three times and summon Bonta-kun. One of the thugs says "Just like Ambassador *BLEEP*ma!", complete with a pixelated image of said character.
  • Used several times to cover up especially horrible violence in Umineko: When They Cry. This includes Fake!Kanon sticking his fingers into a gaping wound in his chest, six people having their stomachs ripped out and stuffed with candy, and Rosa having her head impaled on a spiked fence. The pixellation is removed in the DVD version.
  • Played for Laughs in the Higurashi: When They Cry season 1 OVA, making one wonder just what exactly Keiichi was fantasizing about.
  • Ample usage of this in Gintama is probably the only reason why it's still considered suitable for its age demographic, with the sheer amount of Male Frontal Nudity it blocks. It's also used to tone down the gross factor of poop and vomit to the point where it becomes completely comical and to censor the faces of copyrighted characters.
    • On one occasion, the characters play a video game that pixels out someone vomiting, turning the pixelated shapes into Tetris blocks.
    • Exaggerated in the story arc that has everyone suffering from a "Freaky Friday" Flip. Hasegawa somehow transforms from a normal pixellated pile of poop into a pixellated, anthropomorphic pile of poop using his Yamazaki-possessed sunglasses. Then he gets pixellated vomit everywhere after witnessing a pixellated case of explosive diarrhea, which leads to Hijikata complaining about not being able to see anything due to all the pixels on top of pixels and somehow turns everyone into pixellated piles of poop.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: When Haruhi summons a "G** ** m" in Day Of Sagittarius.
    • Nagato's ero-game is also pixelated in the parody series, Haruhi-chan.
  • In the manga Koe de Oshigoto!, about the lives of Eroge voice actors, there is a conversation about this, and how much it annoys one of the game's artists.
  • In CLANNAD this is done to Sunohara's face after being combo kicked between Tomoyo and Tomoya.
  • A strip of Hetalia: Axis Powers does this to Hong Kong's art, resulting in this little line said by a furiously blushing China:
    'China': I said to stop making this kind of art, otherwise I'll have to mosaic it out, aru!
    • Another strip uses it not to pixellate something obscene, but rather something copyrighted. China shows up in a Halloween costume that is pixellated out but heavily implied to be Mickey Mouse. When South Korea complains, China begins throwing pieces of the mosaic at him.
  • In Mx0 Lucy get soaked in pixelalation potion and pixellate any people she run into on random places, Hilarity Ensues
  • One strip in Touhou Project manga Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth uses the mosaic treatment on the hot pot Princess Kaguya was cooking for Eirin to emphasize just how bad she was at menial tasks.
  • In Kochikame, Special Detective Kitano only wears a speedo and necktie. He will always take off his speedo and removing his sidearms when fighting crime completely unarmed. His privates will always show pixellation. Also occurred a few times to other male characters in the manga.
  • In the manga Demon Diary, Eclipse attempts to teach Raenef a spell called "Death Drill" by demonstrating on one of the dragon guards. The aftermath is censored in this way.
  • In the Rurouni Kenshin manga, Creepy Crossdresser Kamatari flashes Misao when she mistakes him for a girl. He is shown from behind, pulling his kimono open and up, and there's some pixellation over his naughty bits.
  • Toradora! - Taiga's messy sink was pixellated out, although the sickly green color was still clearly visible.
  • In an episode of Lucky☆Star, Konata and her father discuss Gundam (with all the names censored, of course). At one point Konata rattles off the names of several series like Victory and Wing, accompanied by heavily-pixelated pieces of official art from each series named.
  • In Strawberry Marshmallow, one story involves the girls' attempt to kill a cockroach. When they're near to succeeding, Miu states that the appearance of the cockroach "could really use one of those mosaics". In the panel that shows the (finally) dead roach, we see that the mangaka has provided.
  • Pixellation is used as a gag on The Prince of Tennis, where Inui sans glasses has his face obscured by pixellation.
  • In My Bride is a Mermaid, a stage audience gets mesmerized by Sun and Lunar's singing and starts streaking, which is pixellated out.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!'s Nyaruani short "Cooking", Nyarko says that today's recipe will be cooked whole *BLEEP* and holds up a writhing, pixellated object. Mahiro freaks out, demanding to know why it's censored.
  • In Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Hitogami's entire body is covered with mosaic pixellation, the only thing clearly visible being his near-perpetual smile.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero when Motoyasu unlocks a combination of the Envy and Greed series of his weapon, Naofumi is confused as to why the blade is covered with a mosaic. He's also rather disturbed that it's then specifically aimed at Firo's lower body.
  • YuruYuri: Most things Chinatsu makes are pixellated. On the occasions where we get to see them, the reason for this practice becomes apparent: she is that bad at artistic pursuits.
  • Pop Team Epic uses pixelation both as a gag and as a way to skirt around featuring characters and parodies from particularly lawyer-unfriendly material.
  • The naked mole rats of Seton Academy: Join the Pack! loathe the idea of wearing clothing and regard it as every bit as perverted as anyone else would consider their own preference of wearing just their underwear. When we see other characters from the viewpoint of student council president Miki Hadano, everyone's clothing is pixellated as if they were in the nude.
  • In one of the Omakes to Fushigi Yuugi, the groups visit a Lady Land (as they did in the series proper), and dress like women so they can fit in. Mitsukake is too big and manly-looking to pass as a woman, and his face is covered in pixels to show how hideous he looks in makeup and women's clothes.

    Asian Animation 
  • This is Played for Laughs in Season 7 episode 11 of Happy Heroes, where Big M. takes off all his clothes in front of a robot. The robot looks on in embarrassment at a naked Big M., whose offending body parts are censored by pixellation... except not really. The pixellation is actually a banner covering Big M.'s Goofy Print Underwear and he's not completely naked.

    Card Games 

     Comic Books 
  • In the final storyline of Spider-Man/Deadpool, the art pixellates Silk Flipping the Bird at Wade. Wade, who has just lost his Fourth-Wall Observer status, freaks out because he can't see the pixellation any more; he just sees the reality of the Marvel Universe, where she's visibly flipping the bird. And not even in a MAX book!

    Comic strips 
  • Zits pixellated everybody in a strip in the boys' shower room.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In one My-HiME Shizuru/Natsuki 4koma, Natsuki wonders what exactly happened in the Dude, She's Like in a Coma incident late in the series, the exact nature of which is under debate in the fandom, but decides she can't ask Shizuru herself because she told her not to worry about it. Yukino, who witnessed the incident, offers her a DVD, then reassures her that she put Mosaic on it, shocking Natsuki.

  • The Boss Baby has a scene were Tim is trying to dress the naked Boss Baby. His backside isn't censored, but his crotch is.

  • DVD releases of Grease blur out all Coca-Cola logos in the diner scene. This probably wouldn't have even been noticeable were it not for the fact that there's one part of the scene where two characters are conversing in front of a wall-sized Coke ad...
  • In a TV edit of Superman II, General Zod is thrown into a giant blurred red-and-white Times Square advertising sign. In a shower of equally blurred sparks.
  • An early example of this appeared in 1936's Charlie Chan At The Olympics, which were, of course, held in Berlin that year; all the numerous swastikas that appear (including on the Hindenburg) are carefully blotted out.
  • One cut of Highlander: Endgame has a distracting example of this during a rooftop fight scene. There's a very obviously blurred-out JVC sign in the background. The sign is not censored in the "earlier cut" of the film which comes as a DVD extra.
  • The final scene of Captain America: The First Avenger is set on Times Square. The extended cut on the scene seen on the DVD visibly blurs one of the signs on the background.
  • In The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, as the title characters and Karen are apprehended by John Goodman playing a sheriff, the group is filmed in a parody of COPS, complete with Rocky and Bullwinkle having their faces pixellated. This being Rocky and Bullwinkle, they immediately draw attention to it, and have to ask for the effect to be removed.
    Bullwinkle: Hey Rocky, your face is all blurry.
    Rocky: So's yours.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Seven Days, pixellation was used to cover up the relevant bits during a college streaking event for exactly the opposite of its official purpose. Unfortunately, the pixellation wasn't thorough enough to hide the fact that none of the actors was actually nude.
  • America's Funniest Home Videos does it with naughty bits when videos have naked children, probably justified.
  • Animal Cops also often does the COPS-style face blurring of criminals.
  • Arrested Development:
    • Buster's stump. Instead of creating a fake stump for Tony Hale to wear, they just made him hide his clenched fist in his sleeve and pixellated it. In some episodes, you can recognize fingers on Buster's "stump".
    • Whenever Oscar smokes a joint it's blurred out. Six years later on Community, when Britta does the same, they don't have to.
  • In one episode of Backpackers, which takes place in D*** Land, EVERYTHING but the main characters is pixelled out. However, due to the motion of the images and the objects being filmed, it's easy enough to recognise Mickey and Goofy.
  • Border Security pixellates license plates, addresses and anyone who doesn't wish to have their faces shown on television (everyone must sign a consent form for their story to be included on the programme, but can ask the cameras to stop filming or their face to be blurred at any time).
  • Used once on Cake Boss, when they had an order for a stripper-themed bachelorette party cake.
  • In Canada's Worst Driver, stop signs cover the mouths of the contestants when they swear (along with the accompanying bleep). Punk rocker Jakob and his nominator Stacy from season 5 got anarchy symbols instead. Blur is also applied to license plates on the contestants' cars and on brand names (labels on fast food containers, for instance).
  • The Colbert Report: Stephen's interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange parodies this; intended to obscure Assange's face and voice, the effects are instead applied to Stephen, while leaving Assange uncensored. Realizing this mistake, he turns to Jimmy, his director:
    Stephen: You know what, uh, Jimmy? I think you were right. I think it's only better to pixellate [Julian] and affect his voice rather than mine. Has his face been on camera? Have they seen him?
    Jimmy: Yes, they have.
    Stephen: Oh, he's a dead man. Go ahead and take it off. Take it off. [Pixellation disappears and his voice returns to normal]
  • When Craig Ferguson swears on his show, they cover his mouth with an Italian, Spanish or French flag (pardon my French) and dub over with his own impression of a stereotypical person from that country.
    • It'sa cominago!
    • Eye caramba!
  • The Daily Show uses pixelation to obscure things that would otherwise upset the censors, such as Jon giving the finger. A Running Gag during the Bush presidency, based on the way that the Vice President's residence was blurred out on Google Maps, was that "Dick Cheney can pixelate things just by touching them."
    • One segment about Jason Jones getting a vasectomy included various bizarre pixellated shots of Jason celebrating his times with his genitals, and is then averted when we see the procedure with a shot of Jones's completely uncensored scrotum (though not his penis).
  • Dirty Jobs applied Censor Blur to the naughty bits of horses in the episode where Mike collected semen from a stallion and inseminated a mare.
  • In one episode of Garth Marenghis Darkplace, a giant eyeball raping a hospital patient (seriously) had its phallus pixellated. This is followed by an interview clip of Dean Learner saying he feels it's sad that they had to pixellate it.
  • Pixelating the mouth of a character when they swear happens at least Once an Episode in The Goldbergs. It gets played occasionally when the character being pixelated is wearing a mask, or has the head turned away from the camera, thus negating the need for pixilation. At one time, they pixelated a ventriloquist dummy.
  • Both pixellation and blurring were part of the game on Headline Chasers.
  • On Howard Stern's televised version of his daily radio show on the E! network, pixels were almost always present to cover up the graphic images, acts, and women that had appeared naked on his radio show days before.
  • Joe from Impractical Jokers has had fun with this, somehow able to blur out Q's podcast logo while in the field and cover Murr's face with his voice replaced by a censor bleep.
  • Played with on The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, since they would blur women's breasts and genitals but not their hindquarters.
  • Used to interesting effect in some "surprise camera" sections of Japanese variety shows. When the host visits an unsuspecting celebrity at home, all background around their house is pixellated, making it look like they live in Cubeland.
  • There was a MADtv sketch where a man (Will Sasso) goes to his doctor (Aries Spears) with a bad case of pixellation which appears whenever he takes off his pants. The doctor tells the man that pixellation is normal and commonly found on genitals, women's breasts, and middle fingers when shown on network television.
  • In the Discovery Channel program Man vs. Wild, host/survival expert Bear Grylls must occasionally be completely nude when drying his clothing to avert hypothermia. For obvious reasons, he is seen blur-clad in these shots.
  • A lot of the gore was pixellated on Takashi Miike's six-episode TV series MPD Psycho.
  • MythBusters will (over)do this with the names of hazardous chemicals used in experiments that they don't want the viewers to know and, summarily, use to recreate the experiment. Also, when part of the process that uses such chemicals is needed to be stated in a scene, a variety of humorous sounds (from a cat's meow to a firetruck siren) will play to block over the chemical's name, and - if the Mythbuster's face is being shown as they explain what they're doing, their mouths will be masked over by a graphic of whatever sound is being used to cover the chemical name, just in case any of the viewers can read lips.
    • This was lampshaded by Adam: "This ingredient is made of blur. Ha! And this has blur in it too. Blur is very dangerous. You don't wanna mix blur with blur."
    • He lampshaded it again when going into a swear-heavy myth, noting that blurring the footage costs money so to save everyone the trouble, he's making mouthguards for people to wear to cover up their foul mouths without the need for editing. Sound Effect Bleeps are okay, though; "bleeps are cheap."
    • Exaggerated for the MB episodes used in the new Science Channel show Head Rush. Even the writing on Adam's shirts gets blurred out. But then, the Science Channel is a commercial-free zone. It's probably simpler to blur out anything that might qualify as Product Placement than risk a lawsuit.
  • Naked and Afraid's contestants must start out nude, so the show blurs out women's breasts and genitals of both sexes. Asses are left untouched, unless the person has a "wide gait."
  • On most National Geographic documentaries about developing countries, topless women and naked children are censored. Often, they will just censor the nipples of the women.
  • The quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks has a round called What Have We Pixelated? where they play sections of music videos with a pixelated item which the panel must guess the identity of. A hard round which has included items such as a person, an upside-down table on a ceiling, and a hand in a box.
  • The Office (US) uses this from time to time, which makes sense given its mockumentary style. But it's quite hilarious in the episode "Benjamin Franklin" when a few characters visit an adult bookstore and pretty much the entire backdrop behind them is pixellated.
  • Parks and Recreation does this whenever Andy takes off (at least) his pants. Its most extensive use of pixellation comes when Tammy strips completely in the public library to keep Jamm from breaking up with her.note 
  • Older episodes of Pizza pixelated the advertisements on the eponymous pizza place's cars to hide the store's telephone number. Oh, and they censored the frequent nudity.
  • Some Reno 911! skits had the actors who normally played the police officers portray perps. The "perps'" faces would be pixellated much like on COPS when the criminal's or victim's identity must be kept under wraps.
  • Reservation Dogs pixelates the eyes of a wooden owl, as owls are a death omen in Creek culture. The Rez Dogs are scared of the owl, which was likely placed there as one of The Hermit Uncle Brownie's ways of warding people off his property.
  • When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame aired its induction ceremony of 1998 on VH1, Paul McCartney was joined onstage by his daughter Stella, and her shirt was pixelated. It was hiding an F-bomb on the shirt but, since Stella was a fashion designer, there may have been people wondering if it was hiding something else.
  • Happens in two of the Jackie Chen sketches in Sze U Tonight. Before a colleague allows Johnson to interview him on camera, he requests pixellation to be used. The first time, they pixellate his body; and the second time, Johnson's face is pixellated.
  • British automobile Magazine Show Top Gear often uses pixellation of a person's mouth in conjunction with audio bleeping when presenters or guests let loose with profanities on the show. Very common during the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment, as the celebrity drivers get a bit excited doing the lap around the Top Gear test track.
    • And their survival instructor in the Arctic episode, a former special forces guy, is described as "a man with a pixellated face".
    • And the Porsche-branded tobacco pipes, in syndication after someone with too much free time complained at the three smoking said pipes in the original broadcast, shortly after smoking in workplaces was made illegal.
    • For one of the 2010 Christmas Specials, whilst driving through Iraq, Jeremy Clarkson "brought in our special weapons man, who had learned in the armed forces how to have a pixellated face."
    • One challenge was to see how long it would take a car thief to breaking into their cheap car. Three professional car thieves were brought on the show under the condition their faces to be pixellated... but the guy handling special effects had apparently just had his car stolen, so their shirts were pixellated instead.
  • The Walking with Beasts series documents the rise of mammals post-dinosaur all the way up to humans. In one scene it shows protohumans engaged in the revolutionary new method of having sex face-to-face rather than back to front, and apparently they're close enough to humans for this new method to be blurred out.
  • Ryan Stiles joked about this on Whose Line Is It Anyway?: "Hey, wanna see my finger get all blurry?"
  • Clothing brands and store names receive this treatment in the Korean Series You Are Beautiful.
    • Korea has recently allowed dramas to show product names, but puts a disclaimer at the start of each episode informing the viewer.
  • Korea blurs it out whenever someone uses a knife as a weapon on a television series.

     Music Videos 
  • In some edits for the video for Lady Gaga's song Telephone, the recipe used to prepare the poisoned food is blurred out ... despite that all of its ingredients were all fictional poisons from various sci-fi works.
  • Rap videos from the 1990s (and some even now) use pixellation to blur everything from women's asses in thongs (or women's breasts in skimpy or see-through tops) to marijuana leaves (and lit joints) to guns to brand-name logos and products that appear in the video without express written consent from the company.
  • Beck's "Loser" video had a shot near the beginning with him wearing a Storm Trooper helmet - for trademark reasons, the helmet had to blurred out when it was aired on MTV.
  • In Fun Lovin' Criminals' video for Loco, the "hottest" scenes and the girls kissing are covered by a black oval with a truck drawn on.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE pixellates its previous logos from when it was the World Wrestling Federation when showing archival footage; this is because of a lawsuit from the World Wildlife Fund over the use of the initials.
    • The WWF also used pixellation as part of one of their storylines, when Ric Flair showed up with a title belt, claiming to be the "Real World Heavyweight Champion". The belt in question was actually the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which Flair had held at the time he jumped to the WWF, and which the NWA had refused to return his security deposit on, so he decided to keep the belt instead. After Flair was forced by court order to return the belt, the story continued onwards, with Flair using a heavily-pixellated WWF Tag Team Championship belt in place of the NWA belt (a lampshade was hung on this by WWF president Jack Tunney, who claimed he had ordered the pixellation since the WWF did not recognize Flair's belt as an actual championship, and thus will no longer show it on TV).
  • On the E! reality series Total Divas, several WWE wrestlers have had their faces blurred out on some occasions.

    Video Games 
  • The Sims, both the original and The Sims 2. The game creators felt the need to pixellate the whole bodies (in the original) or just "obscene parts" (in the sequel) of The Sims. All of this despite the fact that Sims use the toilet through their clothing, and, as anyone who's been able to turn off the censorship pixels knows, a naked Sim is about as naughty as a naked Barbie or Ken doll—they don't even have nipples, much less genitals.
    • However, since you can easily add custom skins, it was literally a matter of days from the release of either game before this "problem" was corrected. And the noninteractivity of "Woohooing" got changed quickly too.
    • As Copy Protection on The Sims 4, everything gets pixelated if a player is playing a pirated copy.
  • Saints Row 2 uses huge pixellation to cover up anything that isn't covered by a particular choice of clothing, or when naked for the streaking minigame.
    • Crotch-pixellation still occurs when the player character is wearing pants or a skirt, but no underwear.
  • Saints Row: The Third continues the crotch-pixellation policy described above, however includes a partial workaround by allowing the in-game purchase of pasties which can be made flesh-colored (and with a dark centre to simulate nipples, yet!). This removes the pixellation on breasts of any size. Flesh-colored thongs can be purchased to simulate lower nudity, but not as convincingly. The streaking mini-game still features full pixellation. The pixellation of clothing worn with no underwear has been removed, except in the case of skirts and high-slit dresses that would normally reveal the naughty bits (donning the aforementioned thong is the workaround).
  • Both WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy for the N64 feature a taunt where the wrestler in question moons their opponent. Their ass is pixellated. As the taunt was created for Billy Gunn, assigning it to a created wrestler with either trousers or a dark skin tone can produce the funny effects of (a) not having the wrestlers trousers move in any way while white pixels suddenly show up around their butt and (b) having a very implied bleached ass compared to the rest of themselves.
  • Darwinia is a rare non-censorship example. Most of the enemies and programs have pixellation filter on them; it gets worse the more damage the unit takes, but it's still rather mild compared to most of them here.
  • In Noels gag ending in Blazblue the food she served is blurred out.
  • During a very disturbing level of Kane and Lynch: Dog Days, the two protagonists are brutally tortured with a box cutter completely naked, and when they escape, are forced to fight their way out nude. (Very, very NSFW) The game pixellates their front sides, but not their backs. Also, anyone shot in the head gets their noggin pixellated.
  • In My Girlfriend Is the President, Yukino's cooking gets covered with censor mosaic.
  • In zOMG, Gaia Online's MMORPG, using the Sweetheart ring at full rage covers your avatar in pink pixels, with blush lines where the cheeks would be, and that of the avatar you just hit with it.
  • The SNES implemented pixellation in hardware as a special effect (the "mosaic" effect), and several games used it for transitions, drunkenness effects, and such. Examples of this include Super Mario World and Final Fantasy VI, among many others.
  • Used to cover up the indecent act between Luigi and the Head Miko in Something Else.
  • Amazing Princess Sarah has this in Naturalist (nude) mode.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays this for comedy. If you try to cook something using ingredients that are incompatible, the resulting "Dubious Food" is so gross that it gets pixeled out.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day uses pixellation to censor Buga the Knut's "Big Bone" after Conker forces his loincloth to fall down.
  • Bug Fables plays this for comedy, where cooking the "Mistake" item (the result of incompatible ingredients) results in creating the "Big Mistake", which is so horrible it gets pixeled out. It has the same sprite as the Mistake item, flipped and pixelated.
  • No More Heroes III uses this for the toilets, when you're tasked with unclogging them in a mini-game.
  • The Binding of Isaac: The unlock image for the Kidney Stone item shows the Isaac-sona of one of the pixel artists passing the kidney stone in question, with a pixellation effect around his waist.

     Web Animation 
  • Whenever Homestar Runner is naked, he is always covered by pixellation.
  • The Grossery Gang webseries:
    • When Pizza Face ends up losing his toppings (from fear), his bottom crust ends up pixellated. Oddly, they're the part of his crust that's always without toppings to begin with.
    • Ricardo's banana peel also ends up acting like clothing for him, leaving his tip pixellated when it's removed.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied in the Rooster Teeth Shorts episode "Blur", in which anything that can be considered even remotely offensive, obscene, or morally questionable in any way gets blurred out, even in real life. At first this includes brand logos (since some people don't like Product Placement), then tattoos (morally questionable, but also results in Geoff losing use of his arms due to his sleeve tattoos), a cat (some people are allergic to cats), and finally Geoff's face (because Gus jokingly said "your face is obscene" after he commented on Joel's Cluster F-Bomb; this also causes Geoff to go blind).
  • The DesuDesBrigade uses "Cover Otter" when naughty bits show up, if they can't be cut around. Especially prevalent in the Kekko Kamen and Bible Black reviews.
  • Subverted in Cheeky Moon's sketch video Nudie Moonies, in which supposedly naked characters break the fourth wall to acknowledge (and shed) the skin-colored modesty layers beneath the pixellation.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History: "Zeus vs Thor" features a brief appearance of a frost giant with pixellated testicles, to go with Zeus' line "Rhymes colder than the frosty balls of your giants!" The episode's Behind the Scenes special has a brief moment to specifically show how the team made them, uncensored, as the whole episode was an animation made using LEGO.
  • The Proper People use this to blur out identifying signage or labels to hide some of the locations of their urban explorations, or else to obscure sensitive information like patient records in abandoned hospitals.

    Web Comics 
  • Oddly, used apparently straight in several strips from VG Cats, for rude body parts. Doesn't affect crude immature scrawling done by the characters, but any show of breasts or penises (or anything that'd resemble them closely) gets pixelated.
  • Occasionally, Bob and George would censor profanity with pixellation, but a black bar was used just as often. Naturally, this was parodied in this strip, in which an entire dialogue box is censored. Note that it usually didn't shy away from that.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Whenever a character is nude (which is usually Elan), pixilation is used for covering the person's genitals. Rule of Funny applies because it's a Stick-Figure Comic, and stickmen usually aren't known for having genitals.
    • In a flashback during Start of Darkness, a young Eugene training under Fyron casts an Illusion spell, which lowers the panel's resolution. Fyron comments that now is a good time to teach Eugene about image resolution.
  • Used in The KA Mics here
  • In God(tm) pixellation is used to cover up corporate logos and names of products.
  • In Homo Sexience, a woman was having trouble getting her boyfriend aroused, so she was talked into buying a new type of lingerie featuring this. It worked, and was lampooning Japanese censorship issues in porn.
  • In this El Goonish Shive, sketchbook strip, Ellen starts out with her middle finger pixelated and ends up completely pixelated due to being judged an inherently controversial character.
  • Helix from Freefall has PG-13 vision system — he sees black bars in place of "inappropriate" body parts.
  • Homestuck:
    • Equius' posters of "fine art" (muscular, naked horse men) have huge patches of pixellation on them.
    • Played for laughs in the Openbound sequence, where Horuss holds up a dildo and the pixellation takes a while to catch up to actually censor it properly.
  • Ennui GO! and Black Hole are both censored like this - you have to be a member of the creator's Patreon to get the comics uncensored. Otherwise, the strips are released with digital mosaics over the characters' genitals and the women's nipples.
  • In the Stylistic Suck MS Paint Fanventure This Aventure Is My Very Own Intillectual Property, [sic] a good portion of the world's population is pixellated as part of some vague attempt to keep their identities concealed from outside observers. Copyright is a large theme of the comic: It's implied that these are copyrighted characters of some sort, and the event that the person responsible for the pixellation involving information itself being "infected" is a copyright takedown removing the comic(/world).
  • Used in Awful Hospital when Fern vomits onto Jay's bed. This is a very strange example, as there is a character who's just a disgusting mass of puke and he isn't censored at all.

     Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb has one example where Agent P is on a talk show with a pixellated face. The trope is lampshaded when Agent P takes off in a hurry and leaves behind the pixellation, which the host then yells to him about.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly", Homer videotapes Flanders showering as part of his dating video. Judging by how long the pixels extend, Flanders has nothing to be ashamed of.
    • Also used "The Springfield Connection": When Marge goes to investigate a domestic dispute involving Principal Skinner and his mom, Skinner tells the camera man to digitally blur out his face to conceal his identity.
    • Another episode had a horrified cameraman exclaim, "There isn't enough pixels in the world!" after seeing Homer's naked ass.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "Kayshon, His Eyes Open": The sonic showers helpfully vibrate everything in the midsections of the people using them so it's all a blur.
  • Drawn Together: Parodied in the first episode, where Princess Clara couldn't tell that Foxxy was flipping her off because her middle finger was blurred... then realized it when she extended her middle finger and saw that it got blurrednote .
  • Futurama: Parodied. The characters are watching a futuristic version of COPS. The two cops come to arrest a giant centipede alien and his face is blurred out (much like on the show to protect the identities of the would-be criminals). One of the cops tells the centipede alien to unblur his face, and the centipede alien does just that.
  • Invader Zim: Played with. Dib goes on a paranormal talk show with some footage of an unmasked Zim and GIR. When GIR eventually shows up as a surprise witness, his face is pixellated... even though he makes no other attempt to hide his robotic identity. He moves a lot as he speaks, even occasionally leaving the cover of pixellation. He also claims to be a woman named "Stacy" during this appearance.
  • The Boondocks:
  • Used in the Total Drama series either to cover up an offensive body part or whenever someone flips the bird, which happens a lot more often than you might think.
  • On The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball's crotch is pixellated every time he's naked (the sole exception being in "The Dream", where a black Censor Box is used instead). It's also a Running Gag that pixellation is applied to characters without some sort of accessory or other clothing that's normally the only thing they wear, like Leslie's soil without his flower pot, or Darwin's feet without his shoes.
  • In Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., when Spider-Man is unmasked, his face is pixellated. Justified because the series is a set of recordings by Rick Jones, and he probably respected not giving away his secret identity.
  • Rick and Morty tends to do this to genitals everytime the scenery isn't covering them up. Other times, the camera is angled so they're not visible.
    • In the censored version of "A Rickconvenient Mort", Summer and Rick's mouths, along with Rick's hands, are pixelated as they pretend to "eat ass". In the uncensored version, this scene has no pixelation, but an alien's "elbow titties" are still pixelated later on.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pixelation


Audacious Ayaka

Ayaka reveals her secret strategy to win the talent show.

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