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Creating polygonal portraits

In this tutorial we will learn how to make polygonal portrait of Dali. This is pretty old technique I was writing about in 2012 and it was published in Digital Design Mag. You may find the full project on Behance
The software I use is Photoshop CS6 but it works with any CS version.


Step 1

1: Preparation

Open the photo in Photoshop. if you want you may choose another one – for this occasion we will be needing a black and white photogra- phy, but don’t worry if you decide to use colored one. You can switch it to black and white, choosing image > adjustment > Desaturate. also we need to adjust the contrast, so please choose image > adjust- ment > Brightness and Contrast and set the contrast near maximum. i found the visible part of the shirt unnecessary so i cropped that part of the picture.



Step 2

2: Drawing the first polygon

When the preparation is done, we are ready to start. Please keep in mind few things that you should be really precise about for better results. Yo will need a lot of patient to finish it right. We will create each triangle separately because we need lots of different toned triangles. Let’s start with the first one. First create a new layer by clicking the New layer icon on the layers palette or if you use keyboard hold [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[N] and place it under the original picture. From the toolbar choose the Polygonal lasso tool or choose it with keyboard shortcut [L] just make sure it is the right  one. Start from the upper left corner and begin from drawing the first triangle. Once you draw it, it will turn into selection, just like shown in the picture bellow. For best effects I suggest that you draw bigger triangles in the hair area and forehead area, and leave the smaller ones for the details, such as eyes, eyebrows, nose, and mustache .



Step 3

3: Choosing the right color

After you created the first triangle, it is time to color it. We will use the same color sample as in the picture, so we just need to choose the Eyedropper tool [I] and click in the selection below.
When you’ve done it, switch to Brush tool [B] and just paint over the selected area. Don’t worry if it is hard to recognize it, the effects will be more visible after a few of them will be ready. Be sure that your triangles are well connected.
Tip: For better result, you may overlap it, so one triangle will take a small area from the previous one, just like shown in the picture.



Step 4

4: Moving on with the process

It is now time to create the next triangles similar way. First draw it with the Polygonal laso tool, then choose the color with the color picker and fill the selection with it using the Brush tool. It may look kind of complicated for the beginners, but I assure you, that after few more you’ll get the routine. What you need to do in this step is draw the proceeding triangles all in different shape and different positioning from the first, to receive a better effect.  Keep doing this until you fill the black hair area from the upper left corner.
Tip: There will be places where you won’t be able to draw triangles, or where visually some other polygon will fit better. If this kind of situation will occur, feel free to change the fundamental procedure.


Step 5

5: Take care of the eyes

In the next step, you should continue drawing and filling the triangle until you came to the eye area, which I found most complicated and most important. To receive a real eye look, paint the white part of the eyes until you get to the iris. As you may see in the picture below, I painted the iris with one polygon, and two other polygonal shapes around it. After that you need to place a small white polygonal shape, just where the reflection of the light is. As you may notice, the triangles here are getting smaller and smaller, as I said previously, it is necessary if you want to get a detailed picture.


Step 6

6: Keep on triangulating

Continue drawing the same way until you finish the whole face. Please keep in mind, that as you go down, your triangles might get bigger again. Also you may notice how the shaded side of the face result with a bit darker triangles. In this step, you should pay special attention to the place where the mustache make shadow on the face. I have intentionally avoided it. For better effect leave the mustache for the finish along with the visible part of the neck. Once you cover the face you will be amazed by the final result.


Step 7

7: Adding the background

Add a new layer by clicking on the New layer button on the layers palette or using a keyboard shortcut [Shift] + [Ctrl] +[N] and put it below. I chose a clear white background that give high contrast on the polygonal portrait. Choose white color from the Toolbar color palette and after that choose Paint bucket tool or press [G] on your keyboard. Thank click on the new layer. There you go. Now you can remove the original picture and enjoy your new piece of art.
Tip: If you were not precise enough, the might be some gaps between the triangles. Zoom that part of the picture [Z] + mouse click and make some correction.