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Create a Cool Halftone Effect

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In this tutorial, we're going to go a bit retro. You'll learn how to create halftone patterns and creatively cut up an image of a model holding a boombox. You'll then use those cut elements to make your design. We use some layer styles to get everything to come together cohesively. The effects are fun, and you can apply these methods to other designs as well.

Step 1

Start out by downloading/purchasing our image from iStockPhoto: Boombox Image. Alternatively, you could apply these techniques to an image of your choosing and still follow along (or as in the download PSD you could just use the 'comp' that iStock lets you download).

I downloaded the largest image available for this photo. There is some reason behind this madness: we'll be using cut images from the large photo to place into our design. Using the large image will allow us to have larger speaker elements.

Make a copy of this large photo. Open up the copy and resize it to 500px wide and make sure Constrain Proportions is checked so the height changes proportionally. Save this file as .psd and name it boombox_final. This will be our canvas for this tutorial. Also, open up our original large image we downloaded as we will be cutting some images from it starting in Step 3.

Step 2

Let's prepare our boombox_final.psd document. First cut out the boombox image. Also cut out the top half of our model. Below is an image of the top half of the model cut out. You can see the boombox cutout in the preview of the layers palette as well as the layer order. We need to cut out these pieces so that we can place elements behind them as we build our design.

Step 3

Let's jump over to our large image. Grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Draw a selection that covers the right speaker. Then Command/Ctrl-Click and select Refine Edge. Use the settings in the image below.

Step 4

Turn on Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q). Then go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. Use the settings below.

Step 5

Let's go back to Edit in Standard Mode (Q). Copy this selection.

Step 6

Now paste this cut out image of the speaker into the boombox_final design. And move it to the bottom left corner.

Step 7

Now we are going to follow the same steps to place some texture over the speaker. First make a small selection in our large stock photo. Then type Cmd/Ctrl-Click and select Refine Edge. The only difference in this setting is that we set our Feather to 15px. The rest is the same. Turn on Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q). Then go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. Use the same settings as we did before only this time change the Max Radius to 10 Pixels. Then go back to Edit in Standard Mode (Q). Copy the selection, then paste it into our design and move it to the bottom left corner over the speaker.

Step 8

We're going to jump over to our large stock image again. Grab the Brush Tool. Give it a Master Diameter of 900px and a Hardness of 0 percent. Turn on Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q). Click in the center of the image. Then go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. Use the settings in the image below.

Step 9

Let's go back to Edit in Standard Mode (Q). It should look like the selection below. Invert the selection by going to Select > Inverse. Copy this selection.

Step 10

Paste the selection into our boombox_final document. Give it a layer style of Lighten. You can see the white dots emerge in the bottom of our document. Place it so that it matches the image below. Then copy the speaker we placed before and move it behind our model, but in front of the large dots.

Step 11

Create a new layer in our boombox_final.psd design document. Turn on Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q). Grab the Brush Tool. Make sure it's set to Master Diameter of 300px with a Hardness of 0 percent. Draw across the bottom of the image. Then go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. Use the settings below.

Step 12

Let's go back to Edit in Standard Mode (Q). Create a pink gradient and draw it from the left and angle down to the right to get a result similar to the image below. Reposition this layer in the Layers Palette just above the speaker behind the boom box. Set the layer style to Screen.

Step 13

Copy the gradient. Use the Free Transform Tool to reduce the size and reposition in the bottom right-hand corner over the larger pink gradient. Keep the setting to Screen. Then make another copy of this and free transform it by reducing and rotating it to fit in the top left hand corner. Do that one more time for the top right-hand corner.

Step 14

Let's copy some elements. I copied the texture in the bottom left corner and placed it behind the bottom right of the boombox. I also placed a copy in the top right. I made multiple copies of the speakers. Then I used the Free Transform tool to scale them. The image below shows where these copies were placed.

Step 15

Create a new layer. Turn on Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q). Grab the Brush Tool. Make sure it's set to Master Diameter of 50px with a Hardness of 0 percent. We make our line follow the edges of some of the elements in our design. Then go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. Use the settings in the image below.

Step 16

Let's go back to Edit in Standard Mode (Q). Then fill our selection with a pink gradient.

Step 17

Set this layer to Vivid Light to achieve the effect below.

Step 18

Next we are going to make our text. Grab the Text Tool and write the word boombox in all lowercase. I used a font called Silom with -70 character tracking and 120pt type. I'll show the Layer Styles used to create the font effect in the screenshots following the image of the text effect below.

Step 19

Now we're just going to have some fun and copy some elements around the design until it looks cool. I copied the x and played with its Gradient Overlay colors. I placed a handful of them by the boombox and also up top. The gradients have different variations from pink to purple. I also used Free Transform to change the size and rotate the letters. I added a couple more speakers at the top left behind the large x. Then I copied the brush tool pattern we made a couple times and placed that over some elements top right and then top left. The final image is below.

Conclusion

Halftone patterns are a lot of fun, and like anything in Photoshop, they can be combined with layer styles to create some cool effects. Finding interesting areas of an image to copy and overlay your design. In this case we used a speaker. Try cutting out other parts of your next design to mix and match with various effects. Thanks.

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