photoshop creative

Create low-poly art (part 1)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
August 1, 2015

Learn the tools and techniques for creating this popular low-poly art form


1. Find your image


The technique used it this tutorial works with almost any subject and because of the nature of vector shapes, resolution isn’t a concern either. However, to follow these steps, find a picture of a lion such as this one.

2. Start with a sketch


Add a new layer and name it Sketch. Use a small-tipped brush with white paint to roughly sketch out the major forms of the lion’s head. Try to think in terms of large polygons, as if the form were chiselled out of a solid block.

3. Begin drawing


Use the Pen tool and set the Mode to Shape. For the shape attributes, set the Fill to None and the Stroke to black with a Width of 1px. Then draw the first triangle to fit the space just between the lion’s eyes as shown.

4. Duplicate the shape


Tap the Esc key until the shape’s path is no longer highlighted. It is important that the layer is selected, but not the path. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the shape. There will be no visible change on the canvas, but there will be another shape in the Layers panel.

5. Form an adjacent triangle


Use the Direct Select tool – white arrow behind the Path Select tool – to grab one corner of the new shape and move it to form an adjacent triangle. The method of duplication and repositioning ensures a tight border between the two shapes.

6. Outline facial features


Using the sketch lines as a visual reminder, continue duplicating shapes and moving points along the facial contours. Focus on rendering the major form rather than the details at this point. Place all the shapes into a single Face group.

7. Create invisible shapes


Select a shape and change the attributes to No Stroke and a Fill of a solid colour. Ctrl/right-click the thumbnail and select Copy Shape Attributes. Then select all shapes, Ctrl/right-click to Paste Shape Attributes and set the Opacity to 0%.

8. Quick-fill technique


Use the Path Select tool to grab a shape. That shape is then selected in the Layers panel. Double click the thumbnail to select a fill colour. Sample a colour from within the shape bounds. Hit OK, then tap 0 to return the Opacity to 100%.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2!

  • This a very helpful and informative tutorial. I have learned new somethings from this. Thanks for sharing.