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Illustrator Tutorial: How to Create a Polygonal Vector Mosaic

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tutorials / Effects/ Comments: 23
Final Image Preview
polygonal mosaic, vector apple





In this tutorial we will create a mosaic consisting of polygons.  Free Scriptographer plug-in and our imagination will help us in this unsophisticated task. Have fun and enjoy our new Adobe Illustrator tutorial!

Creating vector polygons

Step 1

To create a polygonal mosaic, we need a reference image. In this tutorial I will be using the Red Apple from Shutterstock. Paste the image into the current document (File > Place ...), then click on the Embed button in the Control panel (Please do not skip this step).

Lock the image in the Layers panel, in order to make sure we do not move it in the further work.

Step 2

Begin to create polygons. Polygons can be polygonal shapes which sides are straight-line segments. Turn on the stroke of black color and choose white color as the color of the fill. Set 50% opacity in the Transparency panel. Create the first polygon at the place of glare on the apple.

For further work set the following settings. Turn off the New Art Has Basic Appearance option in the flу-out menu of Appearance panel.

This will allow us to create new polygons with the same opacity as the first polygon or last selected one. Turn on the Smart Guides option (View > Smart Guides).

This will allow combining points of adjacent polygons exactly. With the exact combination of the tool with the point, there will appear "anchor" inscription.

Step 3

Create new polygons, so that there are no gaps in between.

It is difficult to give advice on the shape and size of the polygons. Everything depends on the shape of the object and the distribution of colors on its surface. However, try to place the polygons so that their edges reproduced object volume and the shape of the shadows and highlights. Yes, it's not easy. Here you need a little more practice. Frankly speaking, this is the first experience for me. I hope that you'll do much better.

Anyway, you can edit the achieved result.

Step 4

Now create polygons over the shapes of a leaf and an apple stalk.

Select all the created polygons, then turn off the stroke and set 100% opacity for them.

Though I tried to work neatly, but still some defects could not be avoided. For exact points combining of the adjacent polygons select them with the help of the Lasso Tool (Q).

Now align them vertically and horizontally with the help of the Align panel.

If you missed some polygons, just finish drawing them. After elimination of all the defects polygons are ready to be colored.

Coloring polygons

Step 5

To color polygons, we will be using free Scriptographer plug-in. You can download and read the instructions on how to install it following links - Download and Installation Instructions. Open its Main Palette (Window > Scriptographer > Show Main Palette).

Now unlock the image of an apple in the Layers panel. Select it, and all of the polygons. In the Main Palette choose the script named Colorizer, then click on the Play button.

After a few seconds all the vector objects will be colored in the colors of the bitmap image.

Step 6

You can edit the achieved result. For example, using the Lasso Tool (Q) you can select the points of adjacent polygons and move them in the direction you decide.

You can make some fragments in details. To do this, with the Scissors Tool (C) cut the necessary polygons.

Do not forget to close the cut paths. To cut polygons you can also use the Knife Tool. In order to make this tool cut along a straight line, hold down the Option / Alt key.

After all the changes, select all the polygons and lower image, then run Colorizer script again.

Step 7

You may not be satisfied with the color of some polygons. No problem. Just select it and recolor it with the help of the Color panel.

If you turn off the visibility of the reference image, we can notice thin gaps between the polygons.

Do not worry about it. When you save the image as a bitmap, these cracks will not be visible.

Automatic generation of polygons

Step 8

For automatic generation of polygons you can use the Grid generator script. Place it to the folder where Scriptographer scripts are. After that, it will appear in the Main Palette.

After running the script there opens a panel in which you can choose the type of grid and specify the number of columns and rows.

Step 9

When the grid is generated, select any reference image and all the vector objects, then run Colorizer script.

Get inspired before start

I have selected for you some great artwork that were done in the style described here, in order for you to understand what results can be achieved having patience and time.

Watchtower by Timothy J. Reynolds

Skull Polygonal by Vandré Fernandes

Blondie by Jonathan Puckey

THE LAW OF THE ONE by Hassmework





Advanced readers may notice that there are scripts that allow you to generate random polygons similar to Delaunay Raster. I will answer that such scripts are very difficult to manage, and the finish result is almost not editable. Besides, you are not immune from the sudden Adobe Illustrator crash. Another thing, when you are working with simple vector objects, which editing does not cause any problems. Wish you more success in your art!





And... Just for Fun

Total comments: 22
1 tezzerp   (2012 Dec 13 09:37)
This tut is fantastic!! From just looking at it, ideas came flushing to my minds eye. The just for fun bit awesome!! biggrin

2 jaroslav   (2012 Dec 13 09:39)
Thank you! biggrin

3 mameara   (2012 Dec 24 01:15)
Great tutorial thank you!

4 jaroslav   (2012 Dec 24 01:26)
I'm glad you like it

5 nuoccakei   (2013 Feb 05 08:06)
eek This is ass-kickingly nice! biggrin

6 Igor   (2013 Feb 08 08:23)
Just look here:
You can download useful webapp to automate creation this style artworks

7 jaroslav   (2013 Feb 08 08:46)
Thank you for the link. It looks pretty interesting.

8 Adrien de Broglio   (2013 Feb 14 14:13)
Thanks you for this tutorial, The outcome is great. Always wanted to create this effect, I'll try on other objects.

9 Nazzareno   (2013 Feb 15 20:55)
In Illustrator cs6 it's not possible to use scriptographer sad Is there some other nice way to do this without it?

10 jaroslav   (2013 Feb 16 00:03)
Yes, there is. New Polygonal tutorial will be published on Monday.

11 emirhan solmaz   (2013 Apr 17 14:04)
i have a problem with that. i m making exactly you say. but when i run the colorize, my polygon apple seems blue-black.. it's like "difference" properties. i didnt figure it out :S..

12 jaroslav   (2013 Apr 17 14:19)
Maybe you work in CMYK color mode?

13 emirhan solmaz   (2013 Apr 17 14:33)
i did :D... my problem was that i used PNG format. i chanced to jpeg and i done it :D.. thx for tutorial :)..

14 jaroslav   (2013 Apr 17 14:34)
Thank you!

15 aearthr   (2013 Aug 11 08:26)
Thank you for sharing the tutorial and the plugin. I made mine at

16 btnlsn   (2013 Nov 18 22:42)
I have the same problem as Nazzareno; I have cs6 and can't use scriptographer. Is there another way to colorize the pologonal vectors other than doing it manually? Please help.

17 jaroslav   (2013 Nov 19 02:35)

18 hikarucasshern   (2013 Dec 12 12:35)
Scriptographer help: I select the image layer and all paths above it but it gives me an error and says I need to select an image... I've tried the paths in separate layers and also putting the paths directly on top of the image.

19 jaroslav   (2013 Dec 14 03:59)
You should embed the image.

20 H A Graphic Designs   (2014 Jan 02 14:17)
Useful tips for making polygon effects in illustrator

21 Daren   (2014 Mar 11 05:11)
Can we do the vector work with script for commercial
purposes on istock and shutterstock? Script form(

22 jaroslav   (2014 Mar 13 23:25)
Yes, you can

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