Halftone Tutorial – A Closer Look At The Photo Editor – ‘More There Than Meets The Eye’

In the “Tale of the Tilted Lamp” I showed you how easy it was to create a great comic book style panel using Halftone. In this article, I would like to take a closer look at the great Photo Editor that comes with this app and how you can use it to change the “feel” or “mood” of your panel. I also want to show you how the different paper styles available in Halftone and the dot settings can also be put to use! Sounds like a lot to cover in one article…and it is! So I’ll be moving through some things pretty quickly with the suggestion that you open Halftone and explore.

We hope this tutorial inspires you to try out Halftone for yourself. It retails for $0.99/£0.69, you can download it here.

Step 1



I don’t know if you remember Herbie! Here he is again as he’s willing to serve as my model for the upcoming demos. He just loves the spotlight!! (And I promise, no harm came to Herbie during any of the stunts you’re about to see. He is a professional.)

Okay…enough of that. When you first open Halftone, you are given the choice of sources for your image. Once you’ve made that choice, Halftone opens your image in its Photo Editor. As you can see at the bottom of this screen, there are eleven different editing functions you can use. Let’s start with the first one, “Enhance”.

Step 2



“Enhance” gives you the basic exposure/contrast/brightness controls. (These are all presets with no fine-tuning control available. You get what you get. This is true for all the editing functions in Halftone.) When you find one you like, click on “Apply” (B) to put this into effect….and to go back to the main control panel.

Step 3



Going down the control panel, left to right is “Effects”. As I discussed in the first article, Halftone gives you four categories of effect filters…one “Free” set that contains 12 filters and 3 in-app purchase ($0.99) categories that have 6 filters. I’ve only purchased the “Grunge” set…that I like. The other two look interesting, so maybe later I’ll pick them up as well. We’ll take a closer look at these effects later on.

Step 4



Next up is “Orientation”. In this mode, you can rotate, flip, and/or straighten your image for best results. Again, when done, click “Apply” to move on.

Step 5



Sorry about the bit of silliness here, but Herbie insisted that I give him a spin while we were in this mode. He’s like that….

Step 6



Time for a little cropping! In this mode, you have the usual presets and control points to work with. Nothing new here…which is fine. Do your cropping, if any, and hit “Apply”!

Step 7



The next three controls, “Brightness”, “Contrast”, “Saturation” all work the same way. You use the dial to fine-tune your image for each of these settings. I feel these work a lot better than the “Enhance” presets…but that’s me! As always, make sure to hit “Apply” when done with each.

Step 8



“Redeye”, “Whiten”, and “Blemish” all work in the same fashion. You are given brush sizes to work with and a selector tool. Since Herbie suffers from nothing that these could help…I can’t show you how they do. Give them a try on your own…they are great spot tools!

Step 9



Time to put some of these editing controls to work. I had Herbie give me a profile…and in this screen shot you can see that I’ve “square” cropped him for a panel.

Step 10



In the “Enhance” mode, I used “Auto” to even things out a bit.

Step 11



I tried out four different effects on Herbie: San Carmen, Soft Focus (both in “Free”) “Alice”, and “Vigilante” (both in “Grunge”) but couldn’t decide which one I liked best. So…I decided to combine them all!!

Step 12



Here’s what Herbie looks like before “Effects”…..

Step 13



…and here’s what he looks like after “Effects”!!

My “recipe”:
1.) San Carmen – hit apply
2.) Soft Focus – apply
3.) Alice – apply
4.) Vigilante – apply.
Before closing the edit out, I did a touch of “Brightness”, “Contrast”, and “Sharpness”. Clicking the “Done” tab in the top right corner will close out your editing and put your image into a “comic” panel.


Step 14



I forgot to save a screen shot of Herbie once he was in a panel…but you can see what the image looks like behind the “Layout” screen. It does look a bit different from the last shot…but here’s where we can make some changes.

I skipped over the “Paper” button for the moment to go to “Layout”. I wanted to use the indicated screen without borders and captions.

Step 15



Moving back to the paper tab…the choice of paper background can make a big difference in the mood of your panel. In this screen shot, I’ve used a favorite of mine, “Post Card”. (There are more choices that this panel shows…do make it a point to try out several different ones!)

Step 16



Just for fun, here is Herbie “wearing” two of the more extreme papers, “Seepage” and “Isthmus”. Both definitely change the mood of the panel. (I just love the masked Herbie on the right!)

Step 17



The last topic I want to touch on is the Dot size, strength, and gain. These can be adjusted in the Settings panel that’s activated by clicking on the Gear icon in the top left corner. In this shot, I’ve left the Dot presets on…and you can see how that looks on Herbie. (The paper background is “Post Card”.)

Step 18



In this shot, I’ve turned the Dot size “off” giving me a panel clear of any dot pattern. I left Dot strength and gain at the preset levels.

Step 19



And…just for fun, I moved the Dot size from “off” to “large”. Herbie was not at all happy with this look!!

While I’ve not shown it, adjusting the Dot strength and gain can also give you similar results as in the other shots…or a dot pattern that’s in between. Play around…you can always change it back!!




Here’s a final look at Herbie. From here, I’d add caption panels and text balloons…but that’s another story!

I hope you found this tutorial to be both interesting and enjoyable. Please don’t be shy with your comments and questions. I do appreciate hearing from you!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!


About David Hayes

David is Head of Technical Tutorials here at theappwhisperer.com and this role adds to the many things David has done in his life…some of which he considers more significant than others. Yet, he feels all have made him the artist he is today. He’s been a cook at a truck stop, a janitor at a military base, worked in advertising, been a banker managing other people’s money, and an elementary school teacher. Trained as a photographer as an undergrad, he’s recently returned to these roots and now considers himself foremost a photographer and secondly a mixed media artist. You can find David’s work on many other popular websites including his own: http://www.clearerreflections.com.