Is there a method, tutorial, plugin or effect for creating patterns like this? Preferably vector.

low poly triangular texture

  • 3
    What have you tried? – Scott Feb 20 '20 at 18:12
  • I have tried a certain Filter Forge effect (filterforge.com/filters/12582.html) - which produces somewhat similar results with a bit of tweaking, but not close enough. And it's a raster effect, not vector, although it's possible to trace it with Illustrator. – Dummer Feb 20 '20 at 18:18
  • 1
    What exactly is the problem? – joojaa Feb 20 '20 at 18:30
  • The problem is that I have used some stock images like this (shutterstock.com/image-illustration/…) and want to be able to create some on my own. Not creating one triangle at a time manually of course. I was hoping someone in this forum knows how. – Dummer Feb 20 '20 at 18:50
  • The view is like an isometric view of transparent 3D cubes which get some light from separate sources. Randomly colored triangles do not make it, you must have a script which calculates the best color for every triangle in accordance with the selected lights and the selected criteria how the cube surfaces reflect and pass through the light. Or you must color the triangles manually as suggested by others. For automation a programmer is needed. Unfortunately I'm not one. – user287001 Feb 21 '20 at 8:28

Not sure if there's a plugin for Illustrator to automate it, however it can be done manually. It's a little repetitive, but doable.

  1. Create a grid of equilateral triangles with a thin stroke and no fill, select all, and turn them into a Live Paint object.

  2. Blur a colourful raster image in Photoshop using the Gaussian blur filter.

  3. Place the raster image in Illustrator, under the Live Paint triangles.

  4. Press I (Eyedropper) and sample the colour in the middle of a triangle

  5. Press K (Live Paint Bucket) and click to fill the triangle with the sampled colour.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until finished.

  7. Expand the Live Paint object, ungroup it, and remove the triangle lines


enter image description here

Here's a finished example

enter image description here

  • You can do this quicker using object mosaic. I think i have posted an example – joojaa Feb 21 '20 at 9:12
  • @joojaa - although possible, those methods aren't exactly trivial, and I think manually creating it might just be as quick - especially if you practice using the shortcuts quickly, it will be done in next to no time. – Billy Kerr Feb 21 '20 at 12:19
  • Well making the image with my method takes 2 minutes how long did it take to make it manually? – joojaa Feb 21 '20 at 14:59
  1. Take any image, blurred images work best. Open it in Photoshop
    • Optional make image width height*sqrt(3)/2. Makes it easier to understand how the mosaicing works. (we will fix this anyway)
  2. decide how many tiles you want in height/width. say 20 by 20.
  3. Use Image → canvas size to make the image size of one tile smaller horizontally and half size of one tile vertically than towards lower left. Proceed with clipping
  4. copy image to illustrator.
  5. undo in photoshop
  6. repeat steps 3-6 but scale towards upper right corner
  7. in illsutartor apply → create object mosaic to both of these.
  8. Adjust the aspect so that each cell i exactly 1:sqrt(3)/2 in shape.
  9. Mask the other image with a triangle pattern, make the pattern a compound path and clip with tiles.

  10. Lay it on top of the other image so its triangle aligns 1/2 of a cell offset in both directions.

  11. Fix edges.
  12. Tweak.

This is in Inkscape. It's still a manual tiling, but Inkscape's well working node snapping options make it very quick to build:

enter image description here

It's actually a smooth color gradient which is shaded with a bunch of grayscale shapes which have blending mode multiply. This works only with smooth gradient colorings. There's no steep color hue borders.

The preparation for tiling the pattern is to draw the needed isometric basic shapes:

enter image description here

  1. An equilateral triangle. It's a 3 sided polygon. Inkscape allows it to be drawn one side vertical if Ctrl key is held when drawing

2-3. A mirrored copy of the triangle is combined with the original with Path > Union. This is the top side of isometric cube. Another possibility to get it is to squeeze vertically a 45 degrees rotated square to 1/sqrt(3).

  1. The other visible sides of an isometric cube are made by duplicating twice and by rotating the copies with Object > Transform > Rotate > +120 and -120 degrees

  2. The cube is made for shading colors with blending mode = multiply. The top side is full white, the 2 other sides must have quite high lightness (225 and 245) to keep the colors acceptably bright. Have a grouped copy of the cube and one copy as non-grouped.

  3. A few different grey versions of the original triangle to make apparent open cubes for more richness.

The pattern in the left is tiled. It's big and irregular enough to be used as a bigger tiling element for fast building. Few copies was made and the pattern in the right was tiled:

enter image description here

Extension Arrange > Deep Ungroup is applied to make the grouped parts free again. A duplicate was made. In the duplicate all parts got blending mode multiply. The original was combined to one shape with Path > Union. This would not work with groups.

The united version was duplicated, too. One of the copies was lifted to the top and it got bright solid green fill with max. saturation. The other was moved to the bottom of the object stack and it got orange-yellow gradient fill.

enter image description here

The final result shown in the beginning contains 3 layers.

In the bottom there's the gradient

In the middle there's the grey tiling with blending mode multiply

On the top there's the bright green shape with blending mode Saturation. It compensates the harmful flattening of the colors when they are multiplied by greyshades.

Maximizing the saturation with an extra layer doesn't fix the bad light. Questioner's example seems to have internal light, my version is just the opposite - bright outside and the interior is dark. That's caused by the shading with multiply and greyscale shapes. A quick fix is possible in Photoshop or GIMP, but that's no more in vector domain. Lightness inversion with curves and hue&saturation adjustment together turn darkness to light and white to black but still keep the red and yellow. Curves alone would make it green and blue:

enter image description here

But there's no need to make any colorings in a vector program, if you finally make it bitmap. You can apply in Photoshop a gradient map to a grayscale version. This is one in Illustrator:

enter image description here

It's quite dark in the middle due the layered cubes with blending mode multiply.

Pasted into Photoshop, a Gradient map is inserted:

enter image description here

Making this in vector domain needs swapping the blending mode thinking upside down or using afterwards blending mode difference to white to invert the shading. Unfortunately I haven't still found a way to have a predictable "bright interior" light in vector domain.

  • Note that a triangulated cube and alternating row of eqilateral triangles is the same pattern! – joojaa Feb 22 '20 at 10:57
  • The basic problem isn't that geometric fact, a good fast workflow to create rich perfectly aligned vector patterns without coloring every piece manually is still wanted. – user287001 Feb 22 '20 at 12:01
  • And i provided that for you apply a mosaic onto image. Offset image apply a second mosaic. These mosaics now provide you with the coloring function for your 2 rows of triangles via clipping path of mosaic. But you could also do this in a browser via sampling pixels. – joojaa Feb 22 '20 at 12:04

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