Photoshop Halftone Effects

18 Nov
Final Result

Photoshop Halftone Effect

Step 1: The key to this technique is to pick a starting image with lots of light/dark contrast and a good amount of dark shadows. Depending on what use you have in mind for the final image make sure to choose a suitable size (width x height) file that is at least 200 pixels/inch (ppi).

Step 1

Step 1


Step 2: Darken the image by adjusting the levels. Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command + L). As you will notice I only moved the left (black point) and middle (midtone) sliders. By moving the black point slider to the right I deepen the shadows by converting the darkest gray pixels in the image to black. By moving the midtone slider to the left I intensify the highlights by boosting the lightest (white) pixels in the image.

Step 2

Step 2


Step 3 - Adjusted Levels

Step 2 - Adjusted Levels


Step 3: Convert the image colormode to Grayscale. Image > Mode > Grayscale.

Step 4: Select the Pencil Tool (B) and set your foreground color to Black. Now paint over everything (microphone, neck, collar, tie, ear) except the main face highlights.

Step 4

Step 3 and 4


Step 5: Convert the image colormode to Bitmap. Image > Mode > Bitmap.

Step 6 - Convert to Bitmap

Step 5 - Convert to Bitmap


Step 6 - Bitmap Settings

Step 5 - Halftone Screen Settings


Step 5 - Bitmap Result

Step 5 - Bitmap Result


Step 6: Once again, convert the image back to Grayscale and leave the Size Ratio set to 1. Image > Mode > Grayscale.

Step 7: Finally, zoom in and clean up the messy edges by painting over them with the Pencil Tool (B) set to a Black.

Step 8

Step 7 - Messy Edges


Step 7 - Clean Edges

Step 7 - Clean Edges


Done… Download sample file(s).

Final Result

Final Result


Extra: By changing the Frequency, Angle and Shape settings in the Halftone Screen dialog box you can create numerous looks that work well with a wide range of design projects. To get really creative try changing the Bitmap Method to a Custom Pattern of your own. Grayscale, Round Halftone Screen, Custom Bitmap Pattern using Obama “O”.

Alternative Looks

Alternative Looks


26 Responses to “Photoshop Halftone Effects”

  1. psaddict November 25, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    Added to

  2. evertt November 26, 2008 at 12:11 pm #

    very nice ! This tutorial is very cool, thanks

  3. Marcos Cortes (Dominican Republic) November 26, 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    thanks ,great .

  4. Marcos Cortes (Dominican Republic) November 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    great tutorial.

  5. holly November 28, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    first thing i ever did on photo shop that i was actually proud of is this 🙂 i loveeee it

    great tutorial

  6. yentut November 28, 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    cool thanks for this bro…

  7. homelessgirl December 1, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    Thanks dude.

    I’m gonna try that.

  8. sammi December 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    hey this tutorial is amazing. i used it for a school project and it helped out alote. thanks for posting it. you made using this method very easy. great tutorial

  9. tajul December 2, 2008 at 2:07 am #


  10. kostik December 8, 2008 at 9:53 am #


  11. nestor felicilda December 10, 2008 at 10:21 pm #

    nice tutorial….thankz

  12. james p January 16, 2009 at 3:31 am #

    was it just me ? I had a really hard time on step 5.THats the most important part. I didnt know what numbers to adjust the pic to.I had big gaps in my lines at first. I had to keep guess what numbers I would look good at until I got it which took awhile. But when I was done it was great, thanks.

  13. Josh January 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    james p,

    It really depends on the resolution of the image you start with. Following this tutorial with a 72 ppi image will generate a different look (amount of lines) unless you compensate by adjusting the halftone frequency setting. Also, the angle setting should be pretty constant for any image since it only adjusts the angle of the halftone lines.

  14. Andy Apelado December 6, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    thanks…thisn one is a total help for me and my profession as an Artist…Would you mind to add more and detailed information on this particular…for free of course…hahhaha…yah, I mean it…thanks a lot! MORE POWER!

  15. jeff A December 29, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

    i read sooooo many other tutorials but thhis is the gem that i was lookin for. thank you very much!

  16. Josh December 29, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by! – Josh

  17. César Design December 15, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    tutorial muito bom, obrigado!!!!!!

  18. MOSES December 29, 2010 at 11:42 am #


  19. Josh December 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Moses, I’m going to try and answer your questions using a video response… so we’ll see how this goes. I think I know what you’re asking so just follow the link below to watch the video and let me know if you have any other questions afterwards. – Josh

  20. Steve Mourand March 9, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    wow.. done..thank’s very helpfull^^..


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