Tips for Making Good Halftones

High contrast images are likely to work best. I uploaded this classic black and white Bowie shot as a test and used the default ‘Wave’ preset with a ‘Vertical elements’ setting of 150.
That means the new image has a lot of linework – the converted file was a 5MB SVG, but this came down to under 3MB when I ran it through Jake Archibald’s SVGOMG.
Some judicious use of Adobe Illustrator’s ‘Simplify’ function would likely trim this down to under a megabyte without much loss of fidelity.
Obviously, choosing a coarser grid (i.e. a lower ‘Vertical elements’ setting) in the conversion would slash the file size (and detail).
Whatever the final result, it’s a pretty interesting graphic

Use Cases

Apart from SVG banners and feature illustrations, this app produces the kind of solid-color, non-overlapping artwork that works well in:
  • t-shirt designs
  • fabric prints
  • art prints
  • labels & packaging
  • CNC cake designs
  • tattoo designs

What does it cost?

  • On the upside, the basic Halftone Pro service is free to use.
  • On the downside, if you want to download an SVG (which we do) rather than a PNG, you’ll need to pay.
  • On the upside, HalftonePro is a one-off $15 payment – rather than the more typical recurring monthly subscription.
All up, that’s not a bad deal IHMO.

Caveat

One little glitch. I’ve paid for the ‘pro’ version but it sometimes takes me 3-4 clicks on the ‘Download > SVG’ to initiate the download. Not sure if this is something about my set-up, but keep it in mind.

The Bottom Line?

I like it. You’ll probably have to play around for a while to get a feel for it. It will likely be wise to manually optimize the SVG if you plan to use it online – there are a lot of repeated properties. Find and replace is your friend.
And make no mistake: This is no true replacement for an artisan painstakingly hand-cutting every line, dot, and curve into a piece over days of work.
Nevertheless, it’s a good starting place to develop a versatile, crisp and scalable design element in a couple of minutes – for a reasonable price too.

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