Halftone - Manual

Advanced halftone effect.

Introduction

Halftone is an effect plug-in for After Effects. It generates gradients with the use of dots of varying sizes. In addition to this commonly used technique, Halftone provides a number of different options for customizing the look and feel of your designs. Those include changing the color, shape and shading of the particles and many more. You can even disable the core feature, the size from luminance at the heart of the halftone technique, and gain complete control over the sizing of the particles, giving you the means of quickly and easily creating fresh and unique patterns of different shapes and sizes. We are particularly excited about the randomness options for the rotation and the inner and outer radii of the particles, which used in conjunction with halftone can create a truly amazing image. And what's even cooler - almost all of those options are animatable!

We hope you will enjoy working with Halftone, and can't wait to see what you come up with!

Installation

To install Halftone you simply need to follow these 2 steps:

  1. After unpacking the archive of the plug-in, copy and paste the files contained in it, based on your operating system, to this specific folder of After Effects:
    • On Windows this folder is located in:
      "(after_effects_install_path)/Support Files/Plug-ins"
    • On Macintosh this folder is located in:
      "(after_effects_install_path)/Plug-ins"
  2. Make sure the user that runs AE has permissions to read from and write to the Plug-ins folder. If you have issues with your license file you can try to:
    • On Windows:
      run After Effects as administrator or change the permissions of that folder from Properties > Security > Edit..
    • On Macintosh:
      change the permissions of that folder from Get Info > Sharing & Permissions

User Interface

Halftone User Interface elements

1) Dropshadow settings

A group containing options for creating drop shadows.

  • Enable Dropshadow mode - switches between creating shadows and creating a halftone effect.
  • Shadow mode - determines the type of shadow effect and the available shadow parameters:
    • Normal - a halftone shadow effect
    • Stripes.
  • Blur radius - determines the softness of the shadow Only available in Shadow Mode Normal.
  • Distance - determines the distance between the shadow and the caster.
  • Angle - the direction of the shadow.
  • Opacity.
  • Use Luminance - when checked, the shadow particles are scaled based on the brightness of the source image Only available in Shadow Mode Normal.
  • Stripes Settings Only available in Shadow Mode Stripes:
    • Stripe Width
    • Number of Stripes
    • Stripe Angle.

2) Particle type

A group containing the options for the shape of the particles.

  • Shape - Choose the shape of the particles:
    • Circle
    • N-Gon - choose between a 3-sided and 8 sided polygon.
  • Sides - The number of sides of the polygon Only available if the chosen shape is N-Gon.

3) Sizing type

A group containing the options for the number of particles.

  • Type - The sizing option:
    • Relative - Choose this option if you need to fit a particular number of particles in the horizontal dimension of the layer
    • Absolute - Choose this option if you need particles of a particular size.
  • Number of Particles - The number of particles that fit into the width of the layer Only available in the Relative sizing type.
  • Particle Size - The size the area the particle occupies, measured in pixels Only available in the Absolute sizing type.

4) Particle Transform

Particle Radius and Rotation Options.

  • Outer Radius - These options only apply to the outer radius of the particle:
    • Outer Radius - The outer radius of the particle, relative to this particles designated area
    • Random Seed - Changing this value results in different distributions of random values for the outer radius of the particles
    • Random Size - The intensity of the randomness for the outer radius
    • Rotation - The rotation of the particle Only available for N-Gon particles
    • Random Seed - Changing this value results in different distributions of random values for the rotation of the particles’ outer radii Only available for N-Gon particles
    • Random Rotation - The intensity of the randomness for the rotation Only available for N-Gon particles.
  • Inner Radius - These options only apply to the inner radius of the particle:
    • Enable Inner Radius - Enables and disables inner radius
    • Inner Radius - The inner radius of the particle, relative to this particle’s designated area Only available when Inner Radius is enabled
    • Random Seed - Changing this value results in different distributions of random values for the inner radius of the particles. Only available when Inner Radius is enabled
    • Random Size - The intensity of the randomness for the inner radius Only available when Inner Radius is enabled
    • Rotation - The rotation of the particle’s inner radius Only available for N-Gon particles with Inner Radius enabled
    • Random Seed - Changing this value results in different distributions of random values for the rotation of the particles’ inner radii Only available for N-Gon particles with Inner Radius enabled
    • Random Rotation - The intensity of the randomness for the rotation Only available for N-Gon particles with Inner Radius enabled.

5) Particle & Background Color

This group contains the color options for the particles and background.

  • Particle Color - The color of the particles.
  • Background Color - The color of the background Only available for Solid Color Paint Type.
  • Swap Colors - Swaps the particle and background colors Only available for Solid Color Paint Type.
  • Shading - Options for the shading of the particle:
    • None - Flat shading
    • Sphere - The particle looks like a sphere
    • Torus - The particle looks like a torus
    • Inverted Sphere - The particle looks like the inside of a sphere.
  • Split Color Channels - Allows you to horizontally or vertically offset the color channels of the source image.
  • Color Channel Offsets Only available when Split Color Channels is “checked”:
    • Red Offset
    • Green Offset
    • Blue Offset.

6) Columns & Rows Transform

Transformations of particular rows or columns of particles.

  • Alternating Column Offset - Offsets even columns in the vertical direction.
  • Column Spacing - Increases the distance between neighbouring columns Only available for Absolute Sizing Type.
  • Alternating Row Offset - Offsets even rows in the horizontal direction.
  • Row Spacing - Increases the distance between neighbouring rows Only available for Absolute Sizing Type.

7) Halftone Settings

The settings for the core function of the effect.

  • Enable Size From Luma - Enables and disables the calculation of particle size based on the luminance of the underlying pixels.
  • Minimum Halftone Size - Sets a minimum (percentage) for the radii of the particle Only available when Enable Size from Luma is “checked”.

8) World Transform

Offsets the results of the effect globally.

  • X Offset - Offsets the effect in the horizontal direction.
  • Y Offset - Offsets the effect in the vertical direction.

9) Paint type

Controls how the effect blends with the input layer.

  • Solid Color - The particles and background use the chosen particle and background color and the effect is not blended with the input layer.
  • On Transparent - The particles use the particle color and the background is transparent.

License information and Activation

After acquiring an Activation key for Halftone from aesweets.com you simply need to press the Register… button next to the effect name in the Effect Controls panel in After Effects, enter your purchase e-mail and the received Activation key in the Activation popup and then press the Activate button

Activation window

1) Email

Lets you enter your activation e-mail (or view the one in use if the product is already activated).

2) Key

Lets you enter your activation key (or view the one in use if the product is already activated).

3) Activate / Uninstall

Activate the product with the entered activation email and key (or uninstall if the product i already activated).

4) Cancel

Close the activation window.

5) Get activation key

Go to Halftone page at aesweets.com with option to purchase new activation key.

NOTE / Activation: Make sure your After Effects and your machine can access aesweets.com for the activation process to take place. If you have firewall or proxy add the needed exceptions or disable them before the activation. You can turn back on your firewall and proxy server after the process.
NOTE / Uninstall: If you're planning to transfer to another machine you must first remove all license data from your current computer - each license serves only one machine. After uninstalling your copy of Halftone contact our support for further instructions.

How to use Halftone

You can check our video guides on how to use Halfltone at http://aesweets.com/help-center/halftone/faq/

Applying the effect

1) Select Layer to apply the effect.

2) Find the Halftone effect, located in the AESweets subgroup in the Effects and Presets panel of After Effects or simply use the search bar at the top of the panel to type in 'Halftone'. With your layer selected double click on the effect or drag and drop it onto the layer.

3) To change the parameters of the effect use the Effect Controls panel or expand the Effects Subgroup of your layer in the Composition Timeline Panel.

4) For information on each parameter refer to the User Interface section of this manual.

5) Create cool stuff.

Changelog

2018-10-18 - v1.00 - Halftone v1.00 release date.