Low Poly Vector Portraits


I stumbled onto the notion of low poly portraiture late last year watching some speed art videos on YouTube by Mordi Levi. I immediately checked out his Behance profile and was intrigued by the graphic, chiseled features of his Big Bang Theory cast images.  I'd never really considered Adobe Illustrator as a tool for constructing portraits so I decided to spend a few weeks experimenting to see what kind of results I might get.

I had some false starts and failures in the beginning, but finally developed a workflow that suited me.  This led to creating pieces in less time and producing more consistent results I'm happy with. Here's some things I've learned so far:

  • There's no right or wrong way to create these images. I prefer a tighter, smaller approach to poly creation, but other artists like their portraits to be "chunkier" in build.
  • The size and quality of the image used as a template will have an impact on your final product.
  • As with creating other images in Photoshop or Illustrator, using layers and staying organized is extremely important.
  • Live Paint is definitely the most efficient way to introduce color or shading to your poly mesh.
  • Patience is required! Creating individual polys takes time and you'll inevitably need to proof your mesh in outline mode before advancing to the coloring stage.

Probably the most important thing in this process is that I've been having fun exploring. The day job asks for print materials and promotional items that don't always translate into exploring a new style or look. Sharing these images has allowed me to engage with a community of artists on Instagram who are creating and sharing similar low poly vector images. This means there's no shortage of inspiration from around the world to draw on. I'm definitely going to keep working in this style throughout the year and have some ideas to push my images to another level.

Check out some of my work in the Gallery.

Adobe Max 2018 - Day 1

It's hard to imagine 15,000 creative media folks in one place. Designers of all disciplines, illustrators, photographers and video production people make for a pretty diverse bunch and nearly all of them wear more than one creative hat.

Through the magic of the internet, I've watched past keynotes live and streamed breakout sessions from home but this year I was able to join the Adobe Max festivities in person in Los Angeles, California.  The conference schedule is packed with more sessions and labs than one person can possibly take part in over three days.  That doesn't even include the keynotes, after hours activities and hands-on vendor demonstrations available in the Community Pavilion. 

Here's a short breakdown of my first day at Max:

The Keynote

The Day One Keynote focused on updates to the current suite of Creative Cloud products including Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere. Adobe maintains a pretty regular fix schedule throughout the year, but Max marks the release of new features for 2019. The most popular announced feature (or fix, depending on your perspective) is the revision of the undo command in Photoshop to allow multiple undos as Cmd/Ctrl+Z.  Gone are the frustrating days of Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+Z!  Adobe also went in-depth in its bid to capture the mobile market pushing enhancements to Adobe Spark, the all-new Premiere Rush app and announcing a ground-up rebuild of fully functional Photoshop for the Ipad Pro. The folks over at Digital Arts Online cover all of the news from the keynote pretty well, here.

Session 1: Design Systems Demystified

I led off my breakout sessions with a look at one of the newer entries into the Creative Cloud, Adobe XD. I've tinkered with Adobe XD, using it to mock up a few things in the past but struggled to understand where it fit in the development ecosystem.  The management team from the XD dev team showed practical uses for the product and how to build a better documented design system from the beginning.  I don't think it will replace Illustrator or Photoshop in my mock-up workflow, but the added ability to easily ingest PSD/AI files into XD might make it easier for me to provide spec documents to developers.

Session 2: Making Your Story Pop with Creative Cloud

This session was designed as a case study examining how users can incorporate most if not all of the Creative Cloud products to create an interactive presentation for a standalone device or website.  It was interesting to hear Jerry Silverman's thought process in building his genealogical presentation and how each tool fit into the equation.  Although not a technical based session, I did come away learning a couple of things about Indesign that might be useful in the future.  

Session 3: What Nobody Told You About Making the Jump to Creative Director

Adam Morgan led this session discussing the jump from being a working creative to creative leadership within within an organization.  I've never worked for an agency so I don't have a great deal of experience in leading a team of creatives, but I came away with a better understanding of the pitfalls and challenges Creative Directors experience. I'd love to have the opportunity to be a CD someday so it was great information to file away in my memory and use to continue to develop my leadership skills.

Day One of Max was a busy, exciting day.  I capped off the day by hanging out in the Community Pavilion, taking a short walk around downtown Los Angeles and grabbing some dinner. 

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