Doing Halftones in Photoshop

Halftones when done right never fails to add extra life to any graphic work I do. I’ve used them just recently in some tarpaulin banners/streamers I designed at work.

I remember having posted about how I learned a method of creating colored halftones in Inkscape. But since Inkscape was a later (than photoshop) discovery of mine, I’ve always favored using photoshop as I’m already familiar with most of its features and tools. The image below is something I put up sorta quickly just for this post.

halftones using photoshop

Everytime I’m inspired to do halftones, which is not very often by the way, I automatically google for its procedures. And that’s because I’m too lazy to memorize the actual procedures. I’ve of course already saved the pages somewhere on my harddrive, but again, I’m too lazy to look for it. Googling just happens to be a lot faster. Lately though I’ve found that google has somehow managed to re-arrange the usual search results which I’ve been used to years ago. Thus, I’m putting this post up so that I only have to go to this page instead of some other website.

Well, there are several methods of creating halftones. Like I said earlier, there’s one for Inkscape, there are some from Illustrator. This one’s from Photoshop.

Photoshop: Quick Way to do Halftones

  1. Open a photo or graphic you want to create halftones from.
  2. Select the portion on which you want to apply halftones on. Use the Lasso Tool, or Polygonal Lasso Tool, or any favorite method of selection you use.
  3. click the ‘Refine Edge’ button. Thats the only long button on the bar below the menu bar. This adjusts the degree of fine-ness of the gradient from solid color to transparent.
  4. Adjust the Feather slide bar according to your liking. Then click ‘OK’.
  5. Click on the ‘Q’ key to create a mask. The parts outside the selection will turn some kind of orange.
  6. Click on Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone…
  7. Adjust the ‘Max. Radius’ value. If you don’t have any idea, try 8 then click OK. If you don’t like it, undo the change and go back to Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone… and change accordingly.
  8. Click ‘Q’ again. The selection will show up again (the crawling ants).
  9. Invert the selection. Select>Inverse.
  10. Hit ‘Delete’.
  11. Voila! Halftones!

I use halftone effects either in the background or a partial floating semi-transparent foreground. In the image above, I used it for a background. Thus, the source of the halftones are actually just solid color layers upon which I applied the procedures cited above.

Next, I would like to convert a human portrait so that the subtle gradations and shades on the face are halftones instead of the usual gradients. I’ve seen it somewhere on the web and in some posters so I’m sure if it could be done, it could be done using photoshop.