How to Create a Halftone Image in Adobe Photoshop

Make photos look like newspaper print

Original photo of a cow and the halftone version

 Lifewire / Tom Green

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.

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

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

    Select Image > Mode > Grayscale.
  4. Select Flatten.

    Select Flatten.
  5. Select Discard.

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

    Select Image > Mode > Bitmap.
  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.

    Set the Output to 200 Pixels/Inch.
  8. Set the Method to Halftone Screen, and then select OK.

    Set the Method to Halftone Screen, and then select OK.
  9. 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.

    Set the Frequency to 15 Lines/Inch, and set the Angle to 45.
  10. Set the Shape to Round, then select OK.

    Set the Shape to Round, then select OK.

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.