Step Eleven: Screentones (final)

The final page.

Shading
Finally, I create another layer above the main tones and again set the blending to Multiply. Then I set the Pencil to 10-40% gray (depending on the harshness of the shadows) and draw in the darkened areas on the characters and backgrounds. I may also add another gradient or two for effect.

A closer look at the halftone.
A closer look at the final halftone.

Finishing
Now all that’s left is to render the smooth grayscale file into patterned halftones. To do that, I first save out a Flattened copy of the file. After opening the new copy, I do the following:

  1. Go to Image>Mode>Bitmap.
  2. Set the Output to 1200dpi, which is standard resolution for all print-ready line art files.
  3. The Halftone Screen settings should be at a 45º angle with the Shape set to Round. Depending on the final output (minis, full-sized comic, etc.), I usually set the Frequency from anywhere from 45-85 lines per inch (lpi). For the books, I used 70 lpi.

Conclusion

The whole process from thumbnail to shading can take anywhere between 8 to 20 hours depending on the complexity of the page. Because of the background detail, Page 60 came in around the 20-hour mark, but it was well worth it in the end.

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NextStep Eleven (cont.)