The more we do halftones, the more we like to do halftones. I wish we were as good as Gerald Lange and others, but we are getting many pleased customers by incorporating halftones in our work where appropriate.

This is one we printed today which is the back side of a product tag. We will make another pass on this side to do the border.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7136976441/in/photostream/

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Yup, they can be a hassle to do well but you get kind of giddy when they come out just right.

@Lammy I wish the art we started with had a little more depth, but it was customer provided.

Do you use your cylinder? We have a KSB that is new to us and I am curious if you have any pointers beyond what they suggest in the “Hints for the pressman”.

Seconding the KSB info. Just picked up a KS and feel a little intimidated by it.

I have a KS, 21x28 and I run it most every weekend. I found if you need really sharp detail on your halftones, then run them in their own pass with no type. Run several sheets of bond or thinner paper to cut for make ready that are the same size as the sheet your printing on. Feed one sheet onto the cylinder and stop the press while it’s in the grippers. Mark the edges of the sheet on the tympan. Use this sheet of tympan to glue your make ready to and place back into your packing.

If your close enough I can always come out sometime and give you a hand.

Is that really a halftone or is it simply a fine-line engraving??? A halftone is an image that has been been separated into a dot pattern to create tonality. Prior to haltones the tonality was created by cutting or engraving lines. It would be a shame if the original engraving has been transformed into a halftone (thereby defeating its original purpose).


Lammy, a KS is 15x20.5”. If your press is 21x28 it is an S-series Heidelberg cylinder, not K-series. The model is contained in the serial number stamped in the frame.
The best information on any Heideleberg is in the operation manual for that model; “Hints” is a valuable supplement.

Foolproof, yes it is a halftone of a modern pencil and charcoal drawing on a photopolymer plate.

Believe me… there are lots of dots! We had to frequently clean the plate to get out 200 prints.

KS, S, SBK, etc. I can never keep ‘em straight. That’s why I always list the size.


A significant problem with photopolymer plates, as opposed to photomechanical plates, is cleaning during the pressrun.

I have something that might help here:

For halftones specifically, which do require a lot of cleaning, I would suggest a copper plate, either mounted on a base manufactured for such, or a flat base made of a material with molecular density (e.g., magnesium), rather than photopolymer.


What line screen were you using for the halftone?

@lead 120 lpi, very little impression, soft ink, and the completely wrong paper (220# Lettra)… but it is what the customer wanted.

@gerald…. thanks, but I have already stole any advise you have published on your site or in your book. ;)

Note the compressed air close by the press! Great for speeding up the cleaning process.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6990910936/in/photostream/


Yeah, I saw the pic when the thread first appeared. Nice shop. Nice press. Very clean and organized. I am jealous.

Once upon a time, Lewis Roberts was making a halftone ink. I still have some of it. It somewhere. It was a stiff ink. Yes, halftones on Lettra would be quite difficult to pull off, though a previously debossed blank plate would have smoothed it out and compressed it somewhat?


Thanks Gerald.

We have done a few halftones on Lettra. What I have personally found works best, is hard packing. Normally I would use Kimlon vs hard packing for a halftone, but in the case of Lettra perhaps it provides the “give” that Kimlon does??

Your idea of hitting the paper first is interesting. I do see a notable difference when we are doing two sided work on Lettra when printing the second side. The fibers are certainly compressed and take the ink differently that the virgin Lettra. Even though there is no evidence of bruising that you see in some work.

Here is another we did on Lettra a little while back. Three passes starting with the halftone of the Arc de Triomphe in the background. We were going for a very subtle effect. The photo is pretty poor, but hopefully you get the drift. This is Lettra 110#.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7004089390/in/photostream/


Kimlon below your top sheet of Mylar should work well regardless of paper. I wouldn’t print without it. It is considered a hard resilient packing but primarily serves to even out impression on the cylinder press. The packing below it is actually going to take the hit. It has a very, very long life as long as you are not overdoing impression on a regular basis. Since Kimlon is extremely expensive it is probably not a good idea to use it for “deep impression.”


A blind hit first can help, but a tint run behind the halftone would give better ink holdout on uncoated stock.
The Heidelberg cylinder manuals say to use their sheet linen, a resilient packing, for halftones. Maybe Kimlon is the contemporary equivalent. The manual also discusses both handcut and patent overlays, but the image shown, being essentially flat in tone, wouldn’t benefit from an overlay.

Yes, a tint to the initial blind hit can help. I will sometimes do a final blind hit as well, with a tint. That helps to make the dot pattern less obvious, especially at 150lpi.

I also split the photo in two (sort of a different approach to the overlay). I will take the photo and reduce it to a B/W preserving whatever details I choose in Photoshop, (basically a silhouette of the crucial details). This is printed over the tint block. Then the halftone is printed over that. To maintain a solid look to the photo one must carefully configure the grays in Photoshop to not allow drop outs or solids (basically building the contrasts in the middle of the spectrum).

Printing all four pieces in slightly different but sympathetic colors can really pop the normal humdrum photo. Of course, the color combination work is a bit frustrating and takes a lot of trial and error. A lot. To make the work easier, a number of bases are required for registration purposes.

I must admit that phasetwo’s image looks so much like a steel engraving rather than a photo I’m not quite sure why it was printed as a halftone.