Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create LOW POLY Graphics from Photos

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create LOW POLY Graphics from Photos

August 19, 2019 87 By Peter Engel


Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you how to create a “Low Poly” portrait from a photo. A “low poly” graphic is a polygon
mesh in 3D computer graphics that has a relatively small number of polygons. Open a photo you’d
like to use. For the purpose of this video, choose a subject who’s looking directly at
you. I downloaded this one from Shutterstock.com. We only need to create this effect for half
of the face since we’ll copy the effect and then flip it to the other side to create the
entire face. Before we start to make the polygons, let’s prepare our document to ensure that
we get the fastest and best results. Go to View and if “Rulers” and “Snap” aren’t checked, just click on them. Go back to View, “Show” and “Grid”. Go to Edit, “Preferences” and “Guides, Grids & Slices…”. In the “Grid” section, choose “Lines” and “Pixels”. For this example, I’ll choose a gridline every 20 pixels with 1 subdivision. For the color
of the grid, I like using 50% grey, because it shows up well on most colors and shades.
If your color box isn’t grey, click it and type in 0,0 and 50% for its Hue, Saturation
and Brightness or you can type in 80, three times. Then, click OK or press Enter or Return
to close the windows. It’s always a good idea to make a copy of your original image or convert it into a Smart Object. For this example, let’s just copy it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J. We’ll start make polygons on the eyes. Remember, we’re only going to working on half of the face and then
flip it. For this image, I’ll work on the left screen side of her face. Zoom into the
eye of your subject by pressing “z” on your keyboard to open your Zoom Tool and dragging
over that eye. To reposition it on your canvas, press and hold the Space bar as you drag your image. Open your Polygonal Lasso Tool and uncheck Anti-alias to keep the polygons from
having any transparency along their edges. Before we begin, we’ll be making the polygons
triangular in shape and their sizes should correspond to areas of your image that have
specific angles or consistent color and tonal values. Each time you click on a corner of
the grid, it’ll snap directly on the corner because we have “Snap to Grid” checked. When
you click back onto the original point, you’ll see a small circle that let’s you know the
path is complete. It immediately changes into a selection. Go to Filter, Blur and Average. The colors of the area inside the selection averages out to a flat color. To deselect it, press Ctrl or Cmd + D. To make another polygon, we’re going to make a parallel path
over one side of the first polygon by clicking on two corners and then clicking on another corner of the grid. Complete the path by clicking on the first point. To repeat the last filter
you used, press Ctrl or Cmd + F and then deselect it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + D. Remember,
each polygon is a representation of a color, tone or angle of your subject. Continue these steps to
create polygons over all the sections of the entire eye. If you want to zoom out, press
Ctrl or Cmd and the minus sign a couple of times. Continue to make triangular polygons that conform to specific areas of angle, or color and tone. For this example, I’ll just
keep the areas around the face extremely simple, so I’m making the polygons quite large. If
you want your subject to be over a solid, flat background, make sure your subject has
space around it, so you can ultimately cut it out from its existing background. If you want to create a highlight on the pupil of the eye, zoom into it and make a small triangular,
pyramid shape in the grid over the darkest area of the pupil. Fill it with white. Since
white is my background color, I’ll press Ctrl or Cmd +Delete. Then, I’ll deselect it and zoom back out. Next, we’ll crop the left screen side of the subject. Open your Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag a selection over the left half of the grid. Press Ctrl or Cmd + J to cut and copy it to its own layer. Press Ctrl or Cmd + T to open
your Transform Tool. Go to the left, middle point of the Transform and when you see a
horizontal, double-arrow, drag it across until it snaps to the right side of your document.
Then, press Enter or Return. Click the Adjustment layer icon and click Levels. Click the clipping mask icon. This will restrict the adjustment layer to effect just the one layer beneath
it in the Layers panel. Drag the Input midtones to the right to darken half the face. This gives the center edge of the face the visual
appearance of triangular polygons To hide the grid, press Ctrl or Cmd + H. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!