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How to - custom pattern like a halftone

I have been trying to figure out how to achieve what I am about to describe for quite a while. I am using photoshop CS5 and at the moment think it might not be possible to achieve without a plug in. Perhaps your expertise might be able to better instruct me or point me in the right direction.

What I am after is something similar to a halftone pattern but not with the predefined dots, ciricles or lines patterns but instead with a custom pattern of my own creation.

so with a standard halftone pattern you take an image like so..

then apply filter>sketch>halftonepattern which results in something like..

What I would like is to have, instead of dots, a matrix my own custom shape. And for the size of each instance of my custom shape to be determined by the value of the pixels that it replaces.

something like...

How do I do this? Do I need a plugin or is there a method for achieving this within photoshop?



Senior Member
For starters don't use the halfone filter. It's rubbish.

Best way to achieve the correct halftone effect is:

Image > Greyscale > Discard Colour.

Image > Bitmap > Set the output to what ever res you are working to (or 1200dpi if it is for a screen printer) > Method - Halftone screen.

Now there are a bunch of different settings at this stage, frequency, angle and a dropdown for different shapes, this bit requires a bit of trial and error to find the right level depending on what you are doing. If it is for a screen printer, ask them what settings first, as you will only end up causing yourself more work if you get it wrong.

I've never done it, but I'm guessing you would use the load option on that screen that put in a custom shape.
mrp2049, thanks for your advice and instructions. I have spent some time searching for information on the .AHS file but haven't had much luck in learning about it. As far as I can tell it is only possible to load .AHS files that have previously been saved from the same dialog box. This would mean that it would only be possible to create a .AHS with one of the predefined shapes. I can't find any info on creating a .AHS file with custom shapes or how to open/edit/create a .AHS file outside of the dialog.

I am not actually intending to use the halftone for screen printing. I'm just planning on using it for the visual effect which I can then use as the basis for creating custom patterns/textures. I'm aiming to create a custom texture that has a kind of undulating effect for which a halftone with the pattern increasing and decreasing in size and with a custom shape would be a good starting point.

Any other info on how to create a .AHS file with a custom shape or alternative ways to create the undulating pattern/texture would be greatly appreciated.


Senior Member
Fair enough, I've never considered it. I've only ever used the halftone settings for screen printing or stylistic purposes.