Multi-color and artistic dithering
A multi-color dithering algorithm is proposed, which converts a barycentric combination of color intensities into a multi-color non-overlapping surface coverage. Multi-color dithering is a generalization of standard bi-level dithering. Combined with tetrahedral color separation, multi-color dithering makes it possible to print images made of a set of non-standard inks. In contrast to most previous color halftoning methods, multi-color dithering ensures by construction that the different selected basic colors are printed side by side. Multi-color dithering is applied to generate color images whose screen dots are made of artistic shapes (letters, symbols, ornaments, etc.). Two dither matrix postprocessing techniques are developed, one for enhancing the visibility of screen motives and one for the local equilibration of large dither matrices. The dither matrix equilibration process corrects disturbing local intensity variations by taking dot gain and the human visual system transfer function into account. Thanks to the combination of the presented techniques, high quality images can be produced, which incorporate at the micro level the desired artistic screens and at the macro level the full color image. Applications include designs for advertisements and posters as well as security printing. Multi-color dithering also offers new perspectives for printing with special inks, such as fluorescent and metallic inks.