Halftone Hearts

with 11 Comments


      I am continually amazed by just how many fantastic tools are hidden within the menus of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I particularly love playing around with the filters, because there doesn’t seem to be any end to the effects you can create. It’s so fun to experiment and see what happens!

Today I’m going to show you one way to use the Color Halftone filter. Once you’ve had the chance to play with this filter, I’m sure you’ll find many different ways to use it to create fun and unique elements for your scrapbook pages.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

      • Create a new 3 x 3 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
      • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
      • In the Layers panel, while holding down the Alt key (Mac: Opt key), double click on the Background layer to turn it into an unlocked layer named Layer 0.

Step Two: Create a Shape

      • Get the Custom Shape tool.
      • In the Tool Options, set the Style to None and click on the Create New Shape Layer icon. (Photoshop: In the Options Bar, set the Mode to Shape and the Path Operations to New Layer.) Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained. Open the Custom Shape Picker and choose the Heart Card shape. If you don’t see the Heart Card shape, open the drop-down menu and choose All Elements Shapes. (Photoshop: Open the fly-out menu, choose Reset Shapes, and click OK.)
      • On the document, while holding down the Shift key to maintain proportion, click and drag to create a heart shape that fills most of the document. Press and hold the Space bar to reposition the shape while dragging.
      • In the Tool Options, click Simplify. (Photoshop: In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Rasterize > Shape.)


Step Three: Add a Gradient

  • In the Layers panel, while holding down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key) click on the Create a New Layer icon to create a new layer below the heart shape layer.
  • Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the heart shape layer to get a selection outline.
  • Click and drag the heart shape layer to the Trash icon.


  • Get the Gradient tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 100%. Uncheck Reverse and check both Transparency and Dither. Click on the Radial Gradient icon. Open the Gradient Picker and choose Foreground to Transparent. If you don’t see Foreground to Transparent, open the drop-down menu and choose Default. (Photoshop: Open the fly-out menu, choose Reset Gradients, and click OK.)
  • On the document, click in the center of the heart shape and drag outward in any direction to a point slightly outside of the selection outline.
  • Pres Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.
  • Pres Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the layer down.


Step Four: Run the Color Halftone Filter

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone.
  • In the dialog box, set the Max. Radius to 15 pixels. Set all of the Screen Angle Channels to 0 and click OK.
  • Get the Magic Wand tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon and set the Tolerance to 32. Uncheck Sample All Layers and Contiguous. Check Anti-Aliasing.
  • On the document, click once on the white background to select all the white areas.
  • Press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key) to delete the white area.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.
  • Save the file as a PNG to use on your scrapbook layouts.


I chose to clip patterned paper to my halftone hearts, and here is my finished layout:


Digi Scrap Tutorial: Halftone Hearts by Lydia Tarbox
Kit: Love, Mom by Karla Dudley; part of the May 2014 Premier
Font: DJB I Love Me Some Lydia Print

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

11 Responses

  1. Mungo
    | Reply

    Love your layout, thank you for the tutorial

  2. Tora Geirs
    | Reply

    thank you, I love these tutorials πŸ™‚

  3. Jen (rfeewjlj)
    | Reply

    This is so neat – will have to try to use this soon!! Love it and thanks for sharing it. πŸ™‚

  4. stampsalot
    | Reply

    This is unique and clever. Don’t know how you ladies figure out all of these things. I’m always impressed.

  5. Shirl
    | Reply

    Thanks for another fantastic tutorial for inquiring digital-scrapping minds. πŸ™‚

  6. JanRene Ashman
    | Reply

    Great idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

  7. Lidia
    | Reply

    Great to know! I have to try this cool technic some times. Thanks for sharing, Lydia!

  8. Jessie Trotter
    | Reply

    Thank you for the tutorial. Gives me some great ideas! I have one question, though. I’m using PSE 11 and when I was dragging my heart shape and holding the “Shift” key, I could not alternate to holding the “Spacebar” for purposes of adjusting the position. I finally played around and ended up holding the “Control Key” + the “Spacebar” key to do this, but I’m wondering why I couldn’t do as instructed. Are there some other settings I need to change?

    Thanks for your help AND the tutorial.

    Jessie πŸ™‚

    • ltarbox
      | Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial, Jessie. The Shift key is used for maintaining the proportion of the shape as you create it, and the Space bar is used for repositioning the shape as you are drawing it. I always press the Shift key, start to drag out the shape, then while still holding down the Shift key, I also press the Space bar and drag to put the shape into position. Then, I let go of the Space bar (but continue holding down the Shift key) and continue to drag if I want to change the size of the shape (I’m holding the Shift key the whole time). I’m not sure if that makes sense, but you shouldn’t need to alternate between the Shift key and the Space bar. You just hold the Shift key while you create the shape, and add the Space bar if you want to change the position of the shape on your page. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

  9. jessietrotter
    | Reply

    That is so strange… I remember being able to do what you’re saying, but now I can’t. It’s like my screen is frozen, so I have to hold the Shift+Control+Spacebar if I want to maintain proportions and re-position the custom art. Don’t know what I’ve done to make it act like that.

  10. Tammy Graf
    | Reply

    I love how subtle yet effective this is. Thanks for introducing me to the concept and making it look so easy.

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