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Halftones

Printing presses, platesetters, inkjet printers, and laser printers all share one thing: they only print on or off, black or white. They can't print shades of gray. To print fifteen different colors, you'd have to run the paper through the machine fifteen times with different colored inks, or toners, or whatever. However, lithographers figured out in the late nineteenth century that they could create a tint of a colored ink by breaking the color down into a whole bunch of little spots. Our brain plays along with the game and tells us that we really are seeing the shade of gray, not just spots (see Figure 17-1). These spots make up the halftone of the image.

Figure 17-1. Halftoning



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