How to Create a Halftone Image in Adobe Photoshop

Make photos look like newspaper print

Halftone is a printing technique that uses dots of ink of varying sizes, angles, and spacing to simulate a black and white photo. It's possible to create halftone images in Photoshop by converting an image to a bitmap and then applying a screen over the bitmap. You can even colorize halftone images in Adobe Illustrator.

Instructions in this article apply to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC 2019.

How to Make a Halftone Image in Photoshop

To make an image look like newspaper print:

  1. Open your image in Photoshop and select Layer > New Adjustment Layers > Black & White.

    The Black & White Adjustment Layer option
  2. Select OK.

    Select the Properties panel and use the color sliders to adjust the contrast. If the properties panel isn't visible, select Window > Properties.

    The OK button
  3. Select Image > Mode > Grayscale.

    The Grayscale Mode option
  4. Select Flatten.

    The Flatten button
  5. Select Discard.

    The Discard button
  6. Select Image > Mode > Bitmap.

    The Bitmap image mode
  7. Set the Resolution Output to 200 Pixels/Inch.

    Typically, you should never increase an image’s resolution, but this is a rare situation where increasing the resolution won’t have a negative effect.

    The Output field
  8. Set the Method to Halftone Screen, and then select OK.

    The Halftone Screen method option
  9. In the next window, set the Frequency to 15 Lines/Inch, and set the Angle to 45.

    You can play around with these settings to create slightly different effects.

    The Frequency and Angle settings for Halftone Screen
  10. Set the Shape to Round, then select OK.

    The Round shape setting

You can now save the image as a PSD file, or if you want to colorize the image using Illustrator CC, save the image as a TIFF file.

An image of a cow in a field converted to halftone
 FabaPhotography / Getty Images

It's also possible to turn photos into comic book art in the style of Roy Lichtenstein.

How to Colorize a Halftone Image in Adobe Illustrator CC

To add color to your halftone image in Illustrator, open the Color panel and select a color. Each time you click on a color, the image changes automatically.​

If the Color panel isn't visible, select Window > Color.

To add the color to your halftone image in Illustrator, open the Color panel and select a color.