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Low Poly Text Effect

One of the latest and hottest trends in design is the Low-Poly trend. It basically refers to 3D meshes that have a small number of polygons, but with some rendering techniques and lighting effects, those meshes can end up looking like paper-craft or origami pieces.

The Low-Poly look is usually produced using a 3D software. But this tutorial will show you how to achieve a simple 2D version of it, using basic Photoshop and a really simple app, in order to create a nice Low-Poly text effect.

This was suggested by Sirbu Calin. Thank you for the great suggestion, Sirbu.

The Final Result:

Tutorial Details

  • Software Used: Photoshop – Image Triangulator App
  • Version: CC (CS3+ versions can be used as well) – 5+
  • Time: 0:45 – 1:30 Hours

Resources

Step 1

Create a new document with the dimensions you like. In this tutorial, the size used is A3, in order to print the result later. But you can use any other size you like as well, depending on what you want to use the final result for, and the length of the text you’re going to create.

Set the Foreground color to #e7e9ea and the Background color to #a4a5a1. Pick the Gradient Tool, choose the Foreground to Background gradient fill, and click the Radial Gradient icon.

Then, click and drag from the center of the document to one of the corners to create the background gradient.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 1

Create the text in All Caps using the font Intrepid ExtraBold. The font Size is 180 pt and the Leading is 180 as well (you might need to use different values if you used different document dimensions).

Try to keep the text as short as possible, since using the app can be a bit time consuming as you’ll see later on.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 1

Ctrl/Cmd + click the text layer’s thumbnail to create a selection, then create a new layer and call it Fill.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 1

Set the Foreground color to #9cbc2c and the Background color to #405203, go to Filter > Render > Clouds, then go to Select > Deselect.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 1

Go to File > Save As, and save the file as a JPEG image.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 1

Step 2

To run the app, download it, extract it, then open the TriangulateImage5.bat file inside the extracted folder.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 2

A couple of windows will open, one of them explains what each option does. You can take a look at it before moving on with the tutorial.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 2

The other window is the Tools window, which is the one that we’ll be using to create the Low-Poly text.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 2

Step 3

Start by clicking the CHOOSE AN IMAGE button at the top, then open the image you saved earlier.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 3

Make sure that the Display Option used is the ORIGINAL (O) one.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 3

What you will need to do next, is to as precisely as possible, start clicking to add points at the corners and the edges of the letters you have. It is important to try to keep the points aligned, as this will give you a much better outcome.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 3

Another important thing to pay attention to is to add at least 1 – 2 points along the edges of the letters. So shorter edges get at least one point, and longer ones get at least two. This will make adding polygons to the center of the letters an easier process.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 3

If while you’re adding the points you need to remove and re-add any of them, you can click the ON/OFF ERASER (E) button to do so.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 3

When the Eraser button is clicked, the cursor shape turns into a circle. You can then click any point to remove it, then turn the Eraser off and re-add the point again.

Using the (E) shortcut for switching between the ON/OFF modes will make the process much faster.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 3

Step 4

Once you’re done adding the points, click the RESULT (R) Display Option. This will show you the basic polygons created based on the points you added.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 4

Now, start clicking inside and along the center of the letters to add more polygons.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 4

If some edges keep moving around, then you’re either not placing the cursor precisely inside the letters, or you need to add more points to the edges to keep them in place.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 4

Once you’re done with the letters, start working with the surrounding background to add polygons to it as well.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 4

This can be a time consuming process, but it’s still one of the easier ways to achieve a 2D Low-Poly effect.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 4

Keep in mind that at any time, you can switch between the Display Options to make sure everything is ok, or to fix any issues you have.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 4

Step 5

Once you like the result, click the WRITE TO PDF button and save the result you created.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

You can then open that file in Photoshop for any further editing, or simply for saving the result in different formats.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

Inside Photoshop, you can open the OTF_Light_Grunge_12 texture, add it on top of the opened image’s layer, change its layer’s Blend Mode to Multiply, and its Opacity to 15%. This will spice up the final result a little bit.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

You can also save the points you created, by clicking the SAVE POINTS button, and typing in a name for the file. The points’ coordinates will be saved in a simple .txt file that you can load anytime you want later.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

So if you create the text using different color variations in Photoshop, and want to get the Low-Poly version of it, all you need to do is open its image using the app, then click the LOAD POINTS button, and open the points’ file you saved earlier.

Note that the points saved work only for the same exact text they were already created for. So the only thing you can change in order for the points’ file to work correctly is the color. You can’t change the font, the font size, the text position, or make any other changes on the text itself except for changing its color.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

Once the points are loaded, you can switch to the RESULT (R) Display Option to see how the new colors look.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

You can also still edit the points like you did before, and add or remove them as well.

Low-Poly Text Effect step 5

And you’re done!

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and found the technique used to achieve this text effect helpful.


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