Low Poly Style: Geometric Artworks with Simple Triangles
Over 10 years ago, I began creating illustrations in the popular low poly style. I remember discovering the work of Naturel at that time, and from there, my love for geometric illustrations soared to the point where I started creating illustrations every day. Over time, I have crafted more than 1000 illustrations on various themes using this unique illustration technique, which has brought me many opportunities and joys throughout the years.
The purpose of this article is to share a bit about the low poly and high poly techniques, provide recommendations, share my experiences, and more, so that you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the technique, whether you're just starting out or have experience in creating geometric illustrations. Without further ado, let's start with the basics:
The low poly style: master geometry
The low poly style, short for "low polygon," is characterized by its minimalist and geometric approach to three-dimensional representation. Instead of pursuing hyperrealistic fidelity, this style embraces simplicity by using a reduced number of polygons to form figures and structures, creating visually appealing and stylized compositions. The overlay of triangles, tilting, and the use of different colors allow for the creation of unique illustrations.
Ways you can achieve a low poly aesthetic in illustrations
The process to create a low poly illustration are diverse, and the technique does not have a universal rule, so each person can carry out the process in their own way. However, the creation of low poly illustrations involves a multi-stage process. The first and foremost step is to find the idea or inspiration for what you want to create. Once defined, you need to create a mood board or a folder with all reference images before moving on to the software that allows you to create the illustration.
What are the most commonly used tools and programs for creating low poly art?
The low poly artist community often turns to specialized tools such as Blender, Cinema 4D, and Autodesk Maya. These programs offer advanced 3D modeling and rendering functions, providing artists with the necessary tools to bring their visions to life. In my case, I use Adobe Illustrator since my illustrations are in 2D geometric format. Illustrator allows me to create vector designs that do not lose quality and can be scaled to any necessary size. Once my illustration is finished in Illustrator, I move to Adobe Photoshop to apply final details and export the design as an image for sharing on social media or for the printing process in various formats.
Are there tutorials available to learn how to create low poly illustrations?
Yes, a vast number of tutorials available on online platforms such as YouTube and specialized websites allow artists of all levels to delve into the fascinating world of low poly. These resources offer detailed guidance, from basic concepts to advanced techniques. Personally, I have another blog entry that covers each step I take, from conceiving the idea to the final creation of the low poly illustration, which you can find by clicking here.
What are the best practices for achieving a good low poly effect?
Achieving an effective low poly effect involves maintaining a balance between geometric simplicity and visual expressiveness. It is recommended to carefully select the focal points of the illustration and apply shading techniques to highlight essential details, creating a visually appealing work. If using a base image, it is important to consider the different color tones, as they can be used as a guide when creating triangles and thus achieve the desired final result. The final quantity of triangles is not crucial, but it is essential to keep in mind that a higher number of triangles can lead to better results in terms of defining details.
What is the difference between low poly and other styles of digital art?
Unlike more detailed and realistic styles, such as hyperrealism, low poly focuses on geometric simplicity and stylization. While other styles may focus on the precision of details, low poly finds beauty in basic shapes and simplified artistic expression.
What is the difference between low poly vs high poly?
The distinction between low poly and high poly lies in the level of detail and complexity. Low poly refers to models or illustrations composed of a minimal number of polygons, often used in real-time applications such as 2D illustrations and video games where computational resources are limited. These kinds of illustrations sacrifice intricate details for performance efficiency, featuring fewer polygons to render. On the other hand, high poly designs or models are crafted with a greater number of polygons, allowing for more intricate and realistic details. High poly models are commonly employed in applications like CGI for films and animations, where the emphasis is on visual fidelity rather than real-time rendering constraints. The choice between low poly and high poly depends on the specific requirements of the project, balancing the need for performance against the desire for intricate visual representation.
Are there well-known artists who specialize in the low poly style?
Yes, the world of low poly has seen the emergence of prominent artists, such as Breno Bitencourt, known for his unique focus on geometric simplicity and for creating a step-by-step tutorial that you can see here, or Justin Maller, whose low poly works capture attention for their distinctive style. I must also mention Lawrence Atoigue, popularly known as Naturel, another influential artist who has significantly contributed to the aesthetics of low poly and inspired me to delve into this exciting world of geometric illustrations.
What are some tips for choosing the right color palette in low poly illustrations?
Choosing the color palette in low poly illustrations is crucial for conveying the desired atmosphere. Like any creative process, there are no strict rules to follow, and each person can have their own ideas and paths to follow to reach the desired goal. I personally recommend selecting colors that complement the overall composition and, in the case of working with reference images, using colors from the same image to replicate chromatically what we are creating. Palette coherence contributes to visual harmony and highlights the characteristic simplicity of the low poly style.
Now that you know a bit more about low poly, it's time to start exploring your path!
In this journey to the heart of geometric digital art, we have explored the distinctive charm of the low poly style. From understanding its fundamentals to learning how to create engaging illustrations, we have broken down the processes, tools, and tips that define this captivating artistic genre.
Low poly is not just a visual expression but a stylistic statement that celebrates beauty in geometric simplicity. With tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, Blender, or Cinema 4D, and a wide variety of available tutorials, artists of all levels can immerse themselves in this exciting creative universe.
We have explored the differences between low poly and other styles of digital art, highlighting the uniqueness of this minimalist approach. Additionally, we have met renowned artists who have left their mark on the world of low poly, demonstrating that this style is not just a trend but a form of expression with lasting impact.
Low poly style is a fascinating corner of digital art that invites artists to challenge conventions, explore simplicity, and bring their visions to life in a unique way. So, go ahead! Immerse yourself in the low poly universe and discover the magic of transforming simple polygons into captivating artistic expressions.
If you need a source of inspiration, feel free to visit my personal portfolio on Behance, where you can find endless references to use as inspiration for your personal and professional projects. Discover much more here!