Human visual system (HVS) modeling has become a critical component in the design of digital halftoning algorithms. Methods that exploit the characteristics of the HVS include the direct binary search (DBS) and optimized tone-dependent halftoning approaches. The spatial sensitivity of the HVS is low-pass in nature, reflecting the physiological characteristics of the eye. Several HVS models have been proposed in the literature, among them, the broadly used Näsänen’s exponential model, which was later shown to be constrained in shape. Richer models are needed to attain better halftone attributes and to control the appearance of undesired patterns. As an alternative, models based on the mixture of bivariate Gaussian density functions have been proposed. The mathematical characteristics of the HVS model thus play a key role in the ynthesis of model-based halftoning. In this work, alpha stable functions, an elegant class of functions richer than mixed Gaussians, are exploited to design HVS models to be used in two different contexts: monochrome halftoning over rectangular and hexagonal sampling grids. In the two scenarios, alpha stable models prove to be more efficient than Gaussian mixtures, as they use less parameters to characterize the tails and bandwidth of the model. It is shown that a decrease in the model’s bandwidth leads to homogeneous halftone patterns, and conversely, models with heavier tails yield smoother textures. These characteristics, added to their simplicity, make alpha stable models a powerful tool for HVS characterization.