The present invention is related to the synthesis, display and printing of halftone images. The invention comprises a method capable of generating screen elements with sophisticated screen dot shapes such as artistic shapes, microletters and ideograms. The method can be used to generate screen elements whose screen dots are made of evolving artistic shapes at increasing intensity level. For generating screen elements at consecutive intensity levels, intermediate contours which bound the white and black parts of each screen element are obtained by interpolating between fixed predefined contours. Such interpolated contours defining screen dots may be transformed from a screen dot definition space to a screen dot rendition space before being converted into discrete screen elements by a scan conversion and filling operation. Since the method allows producing large screen elements made up of many distinct subscreen dot shapes, the process can be used to generate discrete subscreen elements whose geometry may vary from one subscreen dot to another for the same intensity level. Some subscreen dot shape variations may be used to avoid counterfeiting by photocopying machines and digital scanners. The contours which make up the screen elements' dot shapes may be of arbitrary complexity. This characteristic makes the invented process useful in fields where halftoning with sophisticated screen dot shapes is desired, i.e. for printing banknotes, postage stamps or valuable papers. Screen dot shapes made of latin, greek cyrillic or arabic typographic characters as well as screen dot shapes made of ideograms offer new design freedom for creating posters and graphic designs.