RR Anderson, DIY Cultural Arts Specialist

Jan. 24, 2012 at 10:59am

Quick and Dirty Half-tone Shading for Web Comics

Tacomic Instructional Public Service

in the olden times, people would cut bits out of rolls of half-tone patterns and rubber cement them all over their drawings.  Today with photoshop or any open source equivalent you can do something similar.  

first make a gradient.  solid black to white.  however you want.  radial or whatever

adjust the color halftone filter to these settings.  you can experiment with dot size (max radius)

Excelsior ! 

comments [8]  |  posted under DIY, handy tips., instructional, tacomic, web comics


by The Jinxmedic on 1/24/2012 @ 11:10am
Heh. Victory is mine. Mwuhahahaha!


by Maria on 1/24/2012 @ 1:04pm
I feel like a whole new world has opened up for me.

Halftone the News
Halftony! Halftoni! Halftoné!

Does anyone remember the days of Letraset halftones? I also remember paying a file service to get photos properly half-toned pre-publication.

by The Jinxmedic on 1/24/2012 @ 1:17pm
That's the way I used to do it back in the day.

by NineInchNachos on 1/24/2012 @ 2:20pm
you can also find half tones as free patterns for the photoshop paint bucket. I found one called 'manga half tone patterns' someplace... deviant art site has lots of cool downloads like that.

by Mofo from the Hood on 1/24/2012 @ 11:10pm
The use of screens to maximize the tonal range of a single color is a graphic design and lithographic printing technique which may have a profit motive.

First, in the noted olden times, before professional commercial art was devalued and prostituted to the uninitiated masses, the intent of graphic communication included an economic component that provided for the well-being of the seller and buyer of a goods and services transaction.

I'm talking about a time before personal computers and before public access to internet based design and mail-order process color printing services. Prior to this time, the major category for mass communication was printing on paper by independent, skilled litho craftsmen who could be found in nearly every small city in America, if not the world.

By the middle of the 20th Century most every small printing office had a single color litho printing press capable of printing one color of ink; and some shops had a press capable of printing two colors of ink on one sheet of paper as it passed through the press. This printing process is less expensive in terms of production costs compared to the now common 4-color printing process.

Now, in the olden times when a designer and printer wanted to differentiate their talent and stand out amongst other single and multi-color providers, the use of screens in various percentages below 100% color would maximize the value of a one or two color printed sheet. For example: Imagine a drawing of a woman's face. The outline and features could be drawn in black---ink color #1. Any desired shading could be provided by screening back the black line art to the desired percentage of color---say medium or light gray. Then ink color #2, say red, could fill the lips at 100% and the face tone at 10%. A screen at 40% could add highlights to her hair. (The general use of screen effects was accomplished with film and the image was burned to a printing plate in addition to the primary art.)

So, considering the example of the woman's face, a printing press that only prints one color can optimize its capacity by using screened artwork. The end product may only consist of two colors of ink---black and red---but the screened segments offer the illusion of many different colors through tonal changes.

From a business standpoint, the vendor is able to charge a customer top dollar for a more sophisticated design, while at the same time increasing profits in the print production stage because no extra effort is required to print a two-color job with screened images that offer the illusion of many more colors.

Lastly, Mr. Anderson, it's interesting to read your approach to design particularly as it pertains to web based applications. The techniques of different mediums are not always transferable and so the language and intent of a process can get blurred as the original need and solution for an effect becomes obsolete.

When I first viewed your Tacomics I immediately recognized the background screen---but in your application the screen serves mainly as a design cue. The economic and practical application of a screen as I described it, has no relation to your application of the design element.

Beyond that, "Keep on Keepin' on."

by NineInchNachos on 1/25/2012 @ 7:55am
yeah. It looks cool. Thanks for the history lesson pops! :)

by Mofo from the Hood on 1/25/2012 @ 9:11pm
You're welcome sonny. Thanks for putting forth the topic of elements of design.

A lot of contemporary design is void of 3-dimensional physical experience, mind-hand coordination which used to characterize every project.

I think Roy Lichtenstein offered the best commentary about machines and art. His Pop Art comics series paintings from the early1960's was his attempt to imitate machine made images---printed comics---including screens which he hand-painted dot by dot with a brush.

by NineInchNachos on 1/25/2012 @ 10:09pm
Tacomics are still hand drawn with no. 2 pencil on plain computer paper!
shaded/cleaned up in photoshop with aid of a Wacom Stylus...

very hands on quantum foam!


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RR Anderson is one of the most curious characters in the UFO lore and the history of underground cartooning. He fought bizarre underground beings in the caves of Alaska, was wounded by a laser before it was invented, and had a background with the clandestine branch of the Tacoma Cartoonists Society.

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