What is this effect called?

Ken W's picture

its a photo created by dots.. sorta like a "xerox" effect. so I want to ask you guys, what is the actual proper name for this effect? and can it be done in photoshop? (I have CS3)


Mark Simonson's picture

It's an enlarged halftone screen pattern. Look for "Color Halftone" in the Filters menu. Make sure to convert the image to grayscale first, otherwise you'll get CMYK color dots.

Ken W's picture

not quite what Im looking for.. the dots for the "color halftone" is overlaying. what I want are dots that are actually separated.

but thanks.

Chris Keegan's picture

As Mark said this is just a halftone screen. Another way to do this is:

Convert your image to grayscale. Adjust levels or curves until you get good contrast. You may have to dodge and burn certain areas. Then convert the image to bitmap mode (Image/Mode/Bitmap). For "Method" select "Halftone Screen" use a low number for frequency to get large dots, select your angle, and probably round dots (although there are other options). You may have to play around with settings to get the result you're after.

There is also a Photoshop plug-in from Andromeda Software that does a variety of halftone effects.

ebensorkin's picture

Ken - That is a black & white halftone. What mark was saying is that if you convert your RGB image in photoshop to Greyscale and then apply the halftone filter that normally gives you a 'CMYK style' separation pattern you can get this kind of non-colored pattern instead.

geraintf's picture

BTW any way of generating a vector halftone screen from a raster in illustrator?

scannerlicker's picture

Geraintf: Actually, I've made a software for vector halftones. Check it here: http://loligovulgaris.com/?p=182

geraintf's picture

great! i'll check it out at some stage. thanks.

aluminum's picture

That's an antique style dating way back to the time where we had things printed on paper.

CreativeNRG's picture

Here is a link to 'VecTips' which outlines the process for creating a vector halftone screen in Illustrator CS3.


Ask Google 'creating halftone vector screen in illustrator' and it gives you wonderful things. ;)

begsini's picture

You can also use the free Illustrator plugin 'scriptographer.'


.00's picture

Perhaps the term you are looking for is "duotone" Green and Black (with an enlarged halftone dots).

Actually it should properly be called a fake duotone because the green is merely a flat color and not tonal in any way.

Now in these days of cheap 4-color printing it is a little used 2-color effect, but it certainly can be done in photoshop

Diner's picture

The effect is also possible using our Permanent Press Filter - http://www.misterretro.com/permanent_press_halftone.html


Nick Shinn's picture

It's a Halftone Overprint.

Most greens are easy to make with CMYK.
If one were doing this effect with a spot color, I would tend to go for a color that isn't.

BTW, there is a "Pantone Color & Black Selector" book which shows halftone overprints, as well as duotones, for 74 colors, on both coated and uncoated stock.

dsb's picture

The way Chris describes by converting to bitmap is a true halftone dot as opposed to using the filter which is only simulating the look of a half-tone dot. So if you plan to make a film for screenprinting or letterpressing, you would want to go the bitmap route.

Tim.Donaldson's picture

I just found this interesting article about the history of halftone on the AIGA website yesterday, worth a read.


ebensorkin's picture

I am glad this thread has turned into such a useful resource. Good going!

Nick Shinn's picture

The mechanical screen halftone was preceded by several other mechanical manual "multi-dotting" tools.
I don't know whether they were stamps, or rollers, or both.
You can see these effects on old postcards.

Prior to mechanical halftones, tonal reproductions of photographs could be printed by collotype--IMO the most superior of the early photo-reproduction printing methods.

Prior to photography, don't forget a ground of etching powder on metal, and the texture of stone on lithography, both of which may be manipulated by hand to achieve graduated tonal effects.

Dressmakers use a little spiked wheel for perforating a line into paper patterns.

John Lyttle's picture

Hey lula_assassina, I have tried out your software, halftone_ffilter_mac. Nice and smooth compared to the irregular dots that result from the VecTips approach that CreativeNRG linked to. Ryan Putnam at VecTips linked to Phastasm, a plug-in for AI. I haven't tried that, but I'm satisfied with your simple and elegant software at this point. Thanks!

kentlew's picture

The samples above would be more convincingly authentic if the underlying grid was rotated to 45°, since this is the standard angle for a single-color halftone.

scannerlicker's picture

So, should I put a Rotate Grid function on the next release?

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Great Topic...

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