Low poly is a minimalistic art style that uses bold, bright geometry to create an image or pattern. Low poly backgrounds can give a website a classic and understated feel. These colorful polygons are growing in popularity among blogs, vendors, and journalism websites that want to evoke an elegant or retro feel.
The look of your website is a matter of personal preference. But low poly is incredibly popular, thanks to its simplicity.
The Origins of Low Poly Imagery
Low poly imagery goes hand-in-hand with computer animation. Some of the techniques used in animation date back to the 1940s, although the most primitive were simple wireframes.
Fast-forwarding through the decades, computer-generated animation became more widespread. In the 1980s, the increasing usage of polygon meshes — a “map” made of shapes — led to the creation of the first 3D video games. And in the 1990s, movies like Terminator 2 became famous for their pioneering use of computer animation.
Video games switched to models with the release of the PlayStation, and 3D animation quickly took its place in history.
Why Use Low Poly Art?
In most cases, 3D art must be rendered in order to display qualities such as animation and lighting effects. In the early days of computer animation, this often required an expensive supercomputer.
One way to reduce the workload was to eliminate the polygons on the meshes, and today we call this method “low poly.” Movies could incorporate more fine detail due to being pre-rendered, which is why even Toy Story looks much smoother than early 3D console games. Still, there is a startling gap in quality between early computer animation and today’s movies.
It took an ingenious use of limited hardware to create something truly beautiful, but some early designers and animators managed it. Modern low poly art has its roots in these testaments to creativity and beauty.
Low Poly in Modern Animation
Today, computers are fast enough to render advanced computer art and animation in real-time. Polygon counts can reach millions per frame. And for a long time, high poly art became the default.
But low poly’s style harkens back to a simpler, more appearance that evokes a retro feel.
It’s fair to say that the low poly art of today is certainly a far cry from the cobbled-together meshes of the mid-1990s. The style of this art form has evolved, becoming something rather like a present-day cubism.
Not everyone is proficient with photo editors such as Photoshop or GIMP. In this case, if you wish to fill your site with an abundance of geometry, you’ll have to use a generator instead.
Here are a few of our favorites.
DMesh turns pre-existing images into low poly masterpieces, simply by overlaying a 3D triangle mesh onto a 2D picture.
You can auto-generate points, or create your own for a more refined final product.
Dmesh it looks like an advanced image editing program, but it’s created for people who have no knowledge of design. And unlike other generators, DMesh generates the points automatically. So it’s easy to drop in a picture, play with the settings, and see what the output looks like.
HalftonePro is a vector-based polygon generator. With a variety of impactful customization options, this generator can create crystalline covers and hexagonal headers.
Though the tool looks simple, HalftonePro has a lot of complexity beneath the surface. It has the ability for image processing and creating detailed gradients. And each setting radically changes the image. So it may take some careful tweaking to get the perfect background for your header, but the combinations are limitless.
Finally, there’s a resize tool right in the app, so there’s no need to fire up another image editor just to scale down the image to a proper size.
PolyGen exists both on the Play Store and the App Store, and it’s one of the best mobile low poly tools available.
Though it’s more intended for personal use — phone backgrounds, avatars, and so on — designers who work primarily on their phones can generate images the perfect size for mobile projects.
And though PolyGen may be small, it’s certainly not lacking in content. Its feature list matches that of every PC low poly generator out there, and it can both simplify pictures and create beautiful patterns.
It may have a monopoly, but there’s no sacrifice on quality. This tool is certainly the go-to for mobile users in need of a low poly creator.
Delaunay Triangle Pattern Generator
Delaunay triangulation is, in the simplest of terms, an array of points on a plane forming triangles, the dots of which do not touch the circumcircle of any other triangle. It tends to avoid acute angles, instead making very wide, large shapes.
This generator is based on these principles, and it expresses them in the most beautiful of ways. The Delauney Triangle Generator is most appealing for the elegant pictures it creates.
You are given up to seven virtual light sources that cast ambient light on the canvas. You can tweak colors and intensity, and you can increase or decrease the number of polygons and their softness as well.
Overall, the execution of this generator is unique, and it’s great for creating gorgeously luminescent patterns.
Triangulator is very straightforward, and valuable for its simplicity. While other generators make use of many switches and sliders, this one gets right to the point.
You can upload any image from your computer and have it immediately triangulated. There are just a few settings to refine it.
Triangulator offers three algorithms:
- Yape, which produces very abstract images
- Fast Corners, a simplified version of Yape06
- Yape06, the most advanced.
The “Laplacian” slider produces small tweaks, and the “Mineigen” slider makes the triangles smaller and more numerous, or wider and fewer.
None of these options have more than two sliders, so it’s fast and efficient. Just keep in mind that it works best with large images.
Using these five generators, you can create beautiful low poly backgrounds for your website. Sometimes, it’s easier to download pre-made images, but making your own can certainly add a creative and personal touch to your website.