The GNU 3DLDF Manga Pattern (Screen Tone) Page

Author: Laurence D. Finston

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Last updated: April 29, 2006

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Manga Patterns

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Manga Patterns

[Pattern 0]
Screen Tone Pattern 0 --- PNG File

Compressed (gzipped) PostScript file for downloading:
MetaPost source code:

The patterns used in manga (Japanese comics) for backgrounds, skies, shadows, etc. are half-tone patterns. In English, the material is called screen tone or deleter tone. It comes in the form of plastic sheets with patterns of dots, lines, and regions of black which can be transferred to paper. (The German term for the plastic sheets is Rasterfolie, which I had been translating as raster film.) The original purpose was to make it easy to get shades of gray without having to use a half-tone screen. This eliminates an expensive step in the printing process: it saves the printer work by making more work for the artist. Nowadays, it's not really necessary from a technical point of view, but these patterns have become an important part of manga style.

From what I've read, screen tone isn't that easy to work with. It requires neatness and precision. I haven't tried it yet, but I would only use it for finished drawings.

If you're working digitally, you can easily simulate the effect of screen tone. All you need is a way of making patterns of black dots, etc. I made the example above with MetaPost. The resulting PostScript file can be converted to any of the common graphics formats using ImageMagick's convert program and combined with other images.

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