Create a Vector Polygon Figure
In this tutorial, we will learn how to use the Pen tool to create a Vector Polygon Figure using Illustrator techniques that can be used to add some styling to your images. This tutorial takes a little time and patience due to the fact that you will be moving a lot of vector points and finite adjustments but the end result is well worth it. If you are looking for a new style of design to help make your creative ideas visually interesting, then this tutorial is perfect for you. Below is how our final illustration will look like.
Let’s begin by finding an image we an work with. We found a picture of an apple and we recommend finding a similar round object with different color values. The trick to get this technique to look right is adjusting the triangles to make the object look rounded. If we remember our drawing basics, things that are closer are bigger, and objects further away are smaller. So.. on rounded objects, the edges should have smaller triangles and the most protruding part of the apple should be bigger. We will start from the biggest triangle area and work our way out. See the example below.
Open your image in Illsutrator. Then, to make things easy, create three new layers on top of the your image. One for the Shadow, one for the Polygon Apple, and one for the Stem. This will make it easier for us to edit and organize the objects that we create. Next, use the Pen Tool (P) to create a triangle. If you need to adjust the anchor points, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select and move the individual points. To fill in the color of the triangle with a similar color from the apple, use the Eyedropper Tool (I).
Continue creating the triangles and selecting a color from the apple to start form the shape of the opbject. Make sure that the points of the triangle touch. At this point you may have to turn off the Smart Guides Feature (Ctrl + U / Cmd + U) for now. For now it will be annoying to let Illustrator assume where we want our anchor points. We will turn it back on later to help close our gaps between shapes.
Continue the process of adding more triangles and remember to reduce the sizes of the triangles towards the edges. It may help to create small triangles at the edges and move towards the center of the object.
With the apple, You will notice that around the stem the apple sinks inside. To get the same illusion it is best to have the point of the triangle “sink into” the stem. Color value will also play a part in selling the illusion that the apple is caving in at the top. You do not have to fill in the stem of the apple yet. We will do that on a separate layer after the apple is finished.
Finish filling in the apple with the remaining triangles. Go back through and find any colors that look out of place. To get a good lighting value range on your rounded object, make sure the lightest colors are on the top right of the apple and the darkest values are somewhere near the bottom left corner. Use your image as a reference to select the right colors and value. Once you have the apple filled in, you can start filling in the stem of the apple on a separate layer.
Now we must fix any “gaps” between triangles that are not aligned next to each other. We can turn on the Smart Guides (Ctrl + U / Cmd + U) tool and use it to align our triangle’s anchor points together.
On our shadow layer, we will create a radial gradient shadow. Use the Ellipsis Tool (L) to create a circle on the Shadow Layer. Then, use the Gradient Tool (G) to create a radial gradient. Use the Black fill at 100% opacity and the turn the white fill opacity down to 0% to have the gradient fade out. Use the image below as an example.
Wrapping It Up
When all the anchors are closed in and you adjusted the colors, Your new Polygon image will have dimension and resemble the object that you traced over. This is a nice creative technique to add visual appeal to your graphics or design. Using Flat design to create dimensional objects can hold some interesting results and we recommend you try this techniques on other images for good practice.