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I am a big fan of halftone patterns. I love that you can use a solid colour to give the impression of shading, or even a gradient.
Most of my design work is done in Illustrator, and I have spent many hours working out the best way to create halftone patterns. To save you the time, I will walk you through the technique that gives me the best results.
For this quick tutorial, I will replicate the halftone pattern shown on this sword:
Once you have your basic shape, remove the border, and then fill it with a white to black gradient. You will have to play around with the angle to get it just right. Keep in mind that the circles will decrease in size from black to white.
Now it’s time to apply the ‘Color Halftone’ effect. This can be found in the ‘Effect’ menu, under ‘Pixelate’. Make sure that all the channels are set to 0 degrees, and then play around with the maximum radius until you get a halftone pattern that isn’t too small or large. Something like this:
The next step is to expand the result; we want to get rid of the white, and turn it into a vector. Select ‘Expand Appearance’ from the ‘Object’ menu. Then, from the context menu, hit the drop down arrow next to ‘Live Trace’ and select ‘Tracing Options’. You want to change ‘Path Fitting’, ‘Minimum Area’, and ‘Corner Angle’ all to 1. Also, make sure that ‘Ignore White’ is checked. I have this saved as a preset for ease of use:
Finally, hit the ‘Expand’ button on the context menu. You are left with just the halftone vector, which you can then do with as you like. I generally change the color and opacity to suit the current design, but I’m sure you can be more creative than that!