Understanding Hou Tones Work

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Have you ever seen a picture mosaic at one of those art/photography stores in the mall? If you look really closely at one of those pictures, you see hundreds or thousands of tiny images. Impressive in and of itself, hut when you stand back, you see that all the tiny pictures become part of one large picture. It's all in how the mind perceives and mentally stitches together all those tiny pieces to create the one large image.

Tones work the same way. Take a look at Figure 11-1. The image on the left is a close up of a tone. Doesn't look like much, right? Now, when you look at the image on the right, you can see that those dots produce shades of gray and gradients! Your mind fills in the gaps and perceives the series of dots as shades of gray.

You'll notice many different shades of gray within the sample. If you look closely, you'll see that not all the tones are the same. Darker grays are created with bigger dots, while lighter grays have smaller dots. It's a seemingly simple technique that ultimately helps the artist to create a wide variety of "colors" on a black and white page.

There are all kinds of styles and types of tones that you may find useful to your work, depending on the situation. (See Figure 11-2.) You can choose from an array of solid screens, gradients, and patterns. Some companies even provide whole images (usually ones that have heen converted to halftone) that you can use for backgrounds or scenery.

Figure 11-2;

Manga artists use a wide variety □f tones.

Figure 11-2;

Manga artists use a wide variety □f tones.

You might be asking, "Why bother with tones if all you need to do is print gray colors?" Again, it boils down to cost. It's much cheaper to print in one or two colors (in this case, black and white) than to print with 255 (or more) gray colors. If your mind can perceive thousands of tiny black dots as shades of gray, why not save a few bucks in production? It saves the reader some money as well!

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