10 Ways to Use Halftones in Photoshop

10 Ways to Use Halftones in Photoshop

Use these simple, expert tested tips and tricks for using halftone brushes in Photoshop.

If you've ever used halftones, you probably know they help break up the overly clean and sanitized look of digital art.

What most creatives don't know is that products like our DupliTone Halftone textures also work like a charm to enhance almost any aspect of your work––if you know how to go about it.

Here are some simple, tested hints from designers that have used DupliTone from RetroSupply Co.

1. Gradients

DupliTone allows you to create halftone gradients in your work. By simply applying more pressure to your tablet as you work, the halftones will increase in intensity giving your work beautiful depth and texture.

2. Moiré Patterns

Moiré patterns are a frowned upon interference pattern that occurs when identical patterns are laid on top of each other but displaced. The result ads a beautifully flawed and slightly tacky effect that has become a beloved part of retro print work.

3. Adobe Illustrator

Bring your precise Adobe Illustrator work into Photoshop and on a new layer add your halftones on top. Organize your halftones into layers for highlights, shadows, and textures for easy editing later.

Like to keep things vector? Apply 100% vector halftones in the comfort of Adobe Illustrator with Duplitone for Adobe Illustrator and the blob brush (as demonstrated above).

4. Typography & Lettering

Add texture to your lettering and typography with halftones

Designer and illustrator Emir Ayouni loves to alter the look of fonts so they become something uniquely his own. Use halftones to add depth and texture to your customized lettering work.

5. Shading & Highlights

After your artwork is complete, add final touches by using dark halftones for shadows and light halftones for highlights. Be sure to match them to your color palette so they blend in.

6. Use Different Halftone Sizes

Illustration of man with different halftone sizes used for shading

Try using different halftone sizes. For example, use smaller halftones to add highlights and shadows to the fine details in a face and larger halftones to for the torso, legs, and arms.

7. Layer Masks

Layers Panel in Adobe Photoshop showing layer masks and halftones

In the Layers panel (Windows > Layers) click the rectangle icon with a circle in the center to add a layer mask. Set your default foreground and background color with the keyboard command Shift+D. Now you can use your halftone brushes to non-destructively hide parts of your image with black or reveal it with white.

8. Adjust Pressure Sensitivity

Adjust Photoshop brush width in Brush Settings in the Brush Panel

Customize the pressure sensitivity of the brush width by simply choosing Brush Settings > Shape Dynamics and then adjusting the Minimum Diameter slider to your desired sensitivity.

9. Adjust Halftone Size

Halftone brushes (or any other pattern based brush) is unlikely to always be the perfect size out of the box. Adjust the size of the halftones by going to Brush Settings > Texture and adjust the Scale.

Adjust Photoshop brush Halftone size by adjusting Scale slider in the Texture menu in Brush Settings

10. Work Fast with Pressure Sensitivity

Gradient halftones for Photoshop

The DupliTone halftone brush pack comes with brushes that are pressure sensitive, which means you can fill in areas with a variety of halftone intensities within seconds without jumping between brushes.

Buy DUPLITONE for Photoshop

Get our DupliTone Photoshop Brush Pack and start using all these techniques in your work today.

  • 100+ Photoshop halftone brushes including rough and clean versions.
  • Works with a tablet, iPad Pro (in conjunction with an app like Astropad), as well as a mouse.
  • Compatible with Adobe CS6 and Adobe CC.

It's recommended you use a tablet to get all the advantages of the pressure sensitivity features of the brushes.

However, if you prefer to use a mouse, you can still get astounding effects. In fact, the cover of our DupliTone pack was made 100% with a mouse.


DupliTone halftone brushes make it easy to add authentic halftones and shading that look like they came straight off a 1950s printing press.