I've seen quite alot of these the best way to make a pattern like this I found was to make a blurry image with a buch of colors (similarly to this image blurred @50px or so) get that into illustrator, have your pattern in a live paint group in illustrator and then just toggle between the eyedropper and the live paint bucket clicking on every cell with the image being in the background of the pattern that has transparent cells untill filled.

Are there any better ways to do this?

  • 1
    I added some other method ideas so you can work in illustrator too.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 19:52
  • 4
    I think it's called 'colored triangles'.
    – DA01
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 0:44

3 Answers 3


In Photoshop

  1. Duplicate layer run filter → Pixelate → Mosaic.... Mask with half of the triangles
  2. Offset other layer, mosaic and move to background.


Image 1: Quick demo of method above. You can also try three or more layers with different shapes.

If you really want the even sided triangle you need to scale the mosaic tiles down in height a bit.

In Illustrator

You can also do this in Illustrator If you wish prepare the 2 images in PS like above. Save and import them into illustrator.

  1. Object → Create Object Mosaic... (optional if you want to get rid of image.)
  2. Create the objects to mask.
  3. duplicate the mask objects and apply them as a clipping mask. (or intersect divide etc)
  4. repeat on layer 2...

Variation on theme

Image 2: Variation on the theme.

Tweak to your hearts content.

Doing a equal sided triangles

Since somebody asked for this specifically. The same method can be used for equal sided triangles in Illustrator, and photoshop Described by @TalisanCreations. The change is just have to use a non square starting point. This can be achieved in multiple ways.


A complement on procedural art. I saw a Processing sketch1 which exhibits some of the properties of the image you presented:

enter image description here

Surely it is possible to express this differenlty or draw inspiration from the technique. The sketch draws 2 sets of upward and downward triangles using an offset and varying alpha and this is repeated. One parameter of the color is altered dynamically. An array of "speeds" is matched to that color parameter. So colors are constrained to some variations within a range and the drawing loops. I find it's really clever.

If you isolate the triangles from the color and gradients, it's also possible to use this as a tool to generate static but interesting triangle patterns similar to the mosaic and gradient tools found software(left out some elements to showcase "layers"):

enter image description here

This uses the same 4 triangles with one color and 4 opacity levels and a gradient similar to this setup. Here is the simple program I used:

void setup(){

void draw(){

void drawTria(){
  for(int x = 0;x < 6; x++){
   for(int y = 0;y < 3; y++){

      fill(0, 63, 255, 150);
      triangle(0+100*x, 84+168*y, 50+100*x, 0+168*y, -50+100*x, 0+168*y);

      fill(0, 63, 255, 50);
      triangle(0+100*x, 84+168*y, 50+100*x, 168+168*y, -50+100*x, 168+168*y);

      fill(0, 63, 255, 100);
      triangle(50+100*x, 0+168*y, 100+100*x, 84+168*y, 0+100*x, 84+168*y);

      fill(0, 63, 255, 200);
      triangle(50+100*x, 168+168*y, 100+100*x, 84+168*y, 0+100*x, 84+168*y); 

void drawGrad(){
  colorMode(RGB, width);
  for (int i = 0; i < width; i++) {
    for (int j = 0; j < height; j++) {
      stroke(i, j, 200);
      point(i, j);

void keyPressed(){
  if (key == 's') { save("this_pattern" + random(3)); }

These building blocks are quite accessible as I am no developer. One can explore and tailor patterns at will!

Attribution: "yabe1324065" by Tetsuro Yabe, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 and GNU GPL license. Work: link License: 1, 2

  • +1 Yup you can program the effect in a number of languages. processing is just one.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 17:35
  • @joojaa You have to start somewhere;-) Behind the void lies a function lol.
    – user29318
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 17:38
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 18:14
  • @joojaa Thank you for your invitation! You're welcome to provide further feedback, I have curated my past comments.
    – user29318
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 3:17

I have a procedure for creating this kind of background with equilateral triangles in Photoshop. Most of the tutorials online do not produce equilateral backgrounds.

Select a random image with the color range desired. For a starting point or test I usually choose a light color then a dark color and use Filter>Render>Difference Clouds a few times.

1) Make two copies of the image
2) Edit>Free Transform -30 degrees
3) Filter>Pixelate>Mosaic (desired size, just use the same both times)
4) Edit>Free Transform width 115.6% for sharp bottom edge
5) Edit>Free Transform +30 degrees
6) On top layer
7) Edit>Free Transform +30 degrees
8) Filter>Pixelate>Mosaic same size
9) Edit>Free Transform width 115.6% for sharp bottom edge
10) Edit>Free Transform -30 degrees
11) Change top layer to 50% opacity

The important part to correctly do is the free transform width, otherwise the triangles will not line up. This is due to the height of an equilateral triangle being slightly less than the length of a side.

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