halftones in photoshop


I just whipped this up for a friend who was wondering how to do this and figured I would share it on here just in case anyone might find it useful!

I would totally be willing to make more of these. I used to have a tutoring job where my focus was helping people navigate Photoshop, so if there is anything you’re dying to know/struggling with, just shoot me an ask and I’ll probably be able to help you out.


I got an ask about how I made the halftone texture in the background of my Procrastination illustration so I thought I’d make a little tutorial about it. This is a technique I use a lot - it’s great for adding texture while keeping a limited color palette and for mimicking the look of a silkscreen.

1. Start with a scanned in watercolor wash and make it grayscale.

2. Use curves to up the contrast and lighten it a lot - you’ll have to play around with this step to get the exact effect you want. Make sure there are some areas of pure white for more variation in your texture. The more white there is and the lighter it is, the fewer dots you’ll get and the more subtle your texture will be.

3. Go to image>mode>bitmap to create the halftone. Choose a low frequency of lines per inch so you’ll really be able to see the individual dots.

4. Change the image mode back to grayscale and select your dots. Copy and paste the halftone into your image and change its color to whatever you’d like.

And that’s it! Once you’ve made a halftone texture you really like you can save it and reuse it over and over. I’ve been building a library of scanned and computer-made textures/patterns that I use all the time and it’s extremely useful.


We made another Photoshop for Screen Printing video! This week, we cover the glorious world of halftones.


Here’s a quick and dirty guide to making halftone screens in photoshop, which is great if you want to set up your photoshop files for screen printing!

1) Create your document in grayscale. (Or create it in RGB and then covert it to grayscale.)

2) Using the gradient tool, create a pure black to pure white gradient.

3) Go to mode->bitmap. It’ll pull up a mini select screen. Make sure you have “Use: Halftone Screen” selected.

4) Play around with the frequency, angle and shape. I personally like the line and dot screen tone. Select All-> Copy

5) I created a new document in RGB with a transparent background, and pasted in my tone on a separate layer.

5) Using the magic wand tool, (make sure “contiguous” is not clicked!) I deleted all of the white from my screen.

6) Enjoy your screen tone! 

That’s basically it!