‘Selfies’ are usually quick arm length photos captured on a phone. Well that is how this image started, however it took 8 hours to create this ‘Low Poly’ selfie. Keep reading to find out how I created this image.
A ‘Low Poly’ image is basically a load of triangles that create a 3D looking image. I believe the term ‘Low Poly’ comes from 3D animation were everything is made up of thousands and millions of polygons, the more polygons the more detail and the smoother the end result. So a ‘Low Poly’ would be a Low amount of polygons creating this effect. I created this as a 2D image in photoshop.
Below are the exact steps I used and If you have an afternoon you could create one too. At the bottom of this page you will see my ’10 minute’ video tutorial on how to create this image.
Its not particularly complicated but it is time consuming.
1. Take a ‘Selfie’ on your phone.
It doesn’t have to be a selfie or on your phone, but I took the below image on my iPhone 5s.
2. Clean up the background color grade for the final effect.
The colour of each polygon is determined by the original image so getting the colour grading at the beginning is important.
3. Create an ‘Average Blur’ polygon selection
On the background layer Create a polygon selection.
Make selection a New Layer ⌘J
Make an ‘Average Blur of the polygon by using the menu: Filter > Blur > Average.
This will figure out the ‘average colour of that select and then fill it with that colour. That is pretty much it. You just have to repeat this many many times. 1,228 in my case.
4. Turn on guides (⌘H) and snapping to make sure all of your triangles join.
To change the size of the grid go to the photoshop preferences menu and select: Guides, Grids and Slices
5. Create an action to speed things up.
by creating an action and quick key you can just draw a ploylgone hit F1 and everything is done for you in one go. here are the action points.
Before hitting recod have the image as your background layer. On a separate layer above draw a polygon. Once you have this done press record on your new action and do the following.
- press record
- click on the background layed
- press ⌘J (to create new layer from the polygon selection)
- rename the to Polygon
- hold ⌘ and click this polygon layer to make the selection
- Filter > Blur > Average
- Double click on the layer: add a 1px stroke to the inside of the layer and click ok
- press ⌘D (this deselects the layer)
- Press stop to stop recording the action.
Once you have done that you are all set to go.
Adding the stroke to each layer makes it easier to join up the triangles.
6. Go over the entire image creating polygons
I group things to make it easier. For example on my image I have Glasses, Lenses, shirt hat and skin all as different layers.
7. Now just zoom right in and make sure all of the triangle are joined together.
8.Get rid of the Black stroke of the polygons.
Layer > Layer Style > Hide All Effects
9. Final colour Grading and export.
This is completely up to you. I took the image back into Adobe Lightroom to complete my colour grading. The image I made is a 130 megapixel image which is HUGE. I just thought I would make it this big although it really was not necessary.
If you have a go at making a low poly portrait or a low poly anything. Why not post it to the comments below. I would love to see other peoples efforts.
I would love to know what the photography community is up to and what you would like more of. Feel free to share this post with anyone or write a comment below telling my your thoughts, I always write back to everyone.
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