What’s the Deal with Low Poly Art?
by Hannah Shaffer | January 15, 2015
If you’re not familiar with the term, you’ve certainly seen the style. Simple geometric shapes placed side-by-side to create angular, often minimalist, compositions. The “poly” from low poly comes from the word “polygon,” which is merely a 2-dimensional shape made of straight lines and angles.
Image via mathisfun.com.
The use of low poly art comes from the early days of 3D animation. Mocking up 3D scenes using a low polygonal resolution helped to reduce render times, which greatly sped up the development process of video games and animated movies.
Technology has come a long way, but even today low poly is used to decrease render time. In fact, the low poly “look” has become something of a design trend. Video games, 3D artists, and even illustrators are using simple polygons in their compositions to communicate texture and depth without sacrificing a minimalist aesthetic.
Below are some great examples of low poly art that span a number of different design styles, plus tutorials for creating your own low poly pieces.
Low Poly Jack Nicholson (Digital Art, Illustration)
Capa Roja (Red Cape) (Fine Arts, Industrial Design)
Low Poly Characters (Character Design, Digital Art)
Low Low Poly Movies Posters (Graphic Design)
Low Poly Landscapes (Digital Art, Photography)
Low Poly Series (Illustration, Landscape Design)
Want to try your hand at low poly art? Here’s a few tutorials to get you started.
- Spoon Graphics: Low Poly Art the Easy Way, Illustrator & Photoshop
- Awwwards: Low Poly Techniques for Cinema 4D (courtesy Gresyscale Gorilla)
- Digital Arts Online: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop Low Poly Tutorial
- Graphic Design Junction: 12 Different Low Poly Illustrator & Photoshop Tuts
Hannah Shaffer is a Web designer and game designer with a love for community-based learning. Hannah was the NOD Managing Editor in 2014.