In today’s tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a polygonal vector mosaic from raster images with the help of a free Triangulator web-based tool and Adobe Illustrator. To strengthen the visual affect, we’ll also create a reflection with the help of the Opacity Mask and a dropping shadow by using the radiant gradient and the Transparency panel. Let’s begin!
- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5 – CC, Triangulator
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Topics Covered: Polygonal mosaic
- Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes
For this tutorial, we need a web-based tool, which is called Triangulator that lets us convert bitmap images to vector art. Follow the link above, scroll to the bottom left, and click on the text link to download the tool on your computer.
Unzip the file, find the index.html file and open it in your browser.
I recommend you to use Google Chrome for these purposes. Triangulator works only with the File API support browsers.
Now we need a raster image that we’ll convert into vector. Triangulator works with all widely-spread image formats (GIF, JPG, PNG8 and PNG24). I’ll use the Fresh ripe lime from Shutterstock. Of course, you can use any other image. Reduce the size of the image in any raster editor, for example, in Photoshop if its size is too big. I think for convenient operation, the width of the image should be between 600-800px. The quality of the image is not significant.
To create polygons, click on different places of our image. Sometimes, for reasons unknown to me, this cannot be done from the first time. In this case, click on Randomly in the upper panel.
Then delete formed polygons by clicking on Delete all vertices.
Now create the first polygon by clicking three times on the image where vertices should be placed.
I think that vertices of polygons should be placed on the borders of the object forms and on the borders of color. Try to emphasize the structure using the forms of the polygons themselves. I cannot say that it is an easy task, but with a little experimentation, you’ll learn how to do it.
Soon the most part of the image will be hidden by the mosaic, and it will be difficult to understand where to put the next point. In this case, we can reduce the opacity of all polygons by shifting the left slider on the upper panel.
As you can see, some polygons are located outside the objects. Don’t pay any attention to it–they will be deleted later.
Click on the mosaic with the right mouse button, then choose Save as… in the opened context menu.
Save the file on the hard drive. As you can see, this file has the SVG extension and can be opened in any vector editor.
Because of the vector format of images, we can, if necessary, change the colors of the linear gradients a little and the location of vertices. To modify the color, click twice on the slider in the Gradient panel which opens the Color panel.
To move the vertices of the adjacent polygons, select them with the Lasso Tool (Q), then shift them with the Direct Selection Tool (A) or with the arrow keys.
Let’s start creating the background. Draw a rectangle with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M). The size of the rectangle should correspond to the size of the artboard. Fill this object with a radiant gradient from white to light-green.
Turn off the visibility of all objects except the background in the Layers panel. Now go to the File > Save for Web… and save the file, for example, in the JPG format.
Easily align the uneven edges in the background with the help of Align panel, then group all its objects (Cmd/Ctrl + G).
Now copy the background, and paste it into the document where the lime is located. Place the background layer below the lime objects using the Layers palette.
Let’s create a reflection. Select all the lime objects, then go to the Object > Transform > Reflect…. In the opened dialog box, choose the Horizontal Axis and click the Copy button.
Shift the copy of the lime down as it is indicated on the picture below.
With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), create a rectangle which will cover all of the lime’s reflection. Fill this rectangle with vertical linear gradient from grey to black.
Select the lime’s reflection and the rectangle, then click on the Make Opacity Mask in the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel.
Place the Opacity Mask below the lime’s objects by shifting it down in the Layers panel.
Create a drop shadow. Draw a circle with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L), and fill it with radiant gradient from dark-grey to white.
Set the blend mode to Multiply using the Transparency panel.
Deform the circle with the help of the Selection Tool (V), turning it into an ellipsis. Place the shadow below the lime’s objects using the Transparency panel.
Our still life with the lime in polygonal mosaic style is ready!
Author: Iaroslav Lazunov
My name is Iaroslav Lazunov, I am a graphic designer from Ukraine. I am glad that I finally found the job in my life that I can share my knowledge and experiments with you in my tutorials. Follow me on Twitter or visit my blog Vectorboom.com.