In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create some mesh tomatoes. We will be creating a full mesh tomato and a cut tomato. You should already be familiar with the Mesh Tool (U). Let's jump into some fresh tomato meshing.
I grabbed a photo of some tomatoes over at stock.xchng You can download the image here. Open up a new document in Illustrator and place the downloaded image.
Start drawing a shape around the tomato with the Pen Tool (P).
Next fill the shape with a red color you picked from the photo. I usually set up a folder with the colors I think I would want to use. You can use any reds, there is no rule. The easiest way is to pick the colors with the Color Picker from the placed photo though.
Start adding mesh lines with the Mesh Tool (U). I usually start top to bottom, then left to right. Sometimes you need to add more, but we won't worry about that now. Once you have placed your mesh line, select the outer mesh point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and fill it with a light orange color. This will spread across and bottom since there is no other mesh line.
Place another mesh line just a bit below the previous one. Select again the outer left mesh point and fill it with the red-orange from the original shape.
Place a mesh line again (U) and repeat Step 4 and fill it with a lighter orange color.
Place a mesh line (U) at the bottom of the tomato shape and fill the outer mesh point with a darker orange color.
Here is a quick look of the horizontal placed mesh lines. Remember that color spread is kept in place by surrounding mesh lines.
Now we can move on to add some vertical mesh lines. Take a look at the tomato and study the highlights and shadows.
According to it, you can pick mesh points and place the colors. Sometimes you might have to select several mesh points.
Once you placed the vertical mesh lines and selected the points and filled them with the colors of your choice, the tomato could look like that. It is really up to your own interpretation. Don't worry if your tomato doesn't look the same.
Just to make it a bit easier, I pointed several colors I chose to the mesh points. I picked many more mesh points, but it would get confusing to show them all.
Now let's move on to the stem part. Start drawing an outline with the Pen Tool (P) roughly around the stem.
I filled the stem with a green base color and started adding mesh lines. Have a look at the photo to remind yourself where highlights and shadows are. Place the colors accordingly.
There is no rule to cram everything into one mesh objects. Create another shape for the stem and fill it with a base
Add mesh lines vertically and horizontally and select the mesh point that you want to color.
Create yet another shape with the Pen Tool (P) and add a few mesh lines. This time select all outer mesh points and fill them with a dark green. Then select the middle mesh points and fill them with a much lighter green.
Repeat Step 16, but make the shape slightly smaller and place it on top.
Once you zoom out, the stem looks quite good. Group the stem parts and place them on top of the mesh tomato. But hey, we forgot something. The stem will look much better with a shadow falling onto the tomato. Create a shape like you see in the image below and fill it with a red. Then apply a Feather Effect of 3pt. Place the shape underneath the stem parts. This will simulate a shadow falling onto the tomato.
Let's have a look at the cut tomato. It's slightly more difficult, but we'll use some tricks to help us out. Create yet another shape around the cut tomato with the Pen Tool (P) and fill it with a red. Then start adding mesh lines just like we did earlier. Place shadows and highlight points and some midtones.
For the cut part, we need to create two shapes. One filled with a darker red, yet lighter then the body and another one slightly smaller and filled with a bright red.
Select both shapes and got to Object > Blend > Blend Options and select Smooth Color. Then hit OK. Then press Command + Alt + B to make the blend.
Create another shape that will resemble the fleshy parts of the tomato. Fill it with a much lighter red and apply a
Feather Effect of 96pt (Effect > Stylize > Feather).
Repeat Step 22 and create the other flesh parts.
Let's move on to the seeds. I outlined a neat trick to create them fast, shown below. Make two ellipse shapes, one bigger than the other. Choose beige to green colors and apply a blend. Then add the feather effect. After that, apply an Outer Glow. Then duplicate the shape and scale it down or up. Set some of them to a lower Opacity setting. Then group them and drag them into the Symbol Palette. Now you can add some seeds to the cut tomato with the Symbol Sprayer.
Here is the cut tomato.
Place the cut tomato shape behind the other tomato. You might have to scale it down. Then create a similar shape like you see in the image below. This will be the shadow. Fill the shape with a light grey and apply a Feather Effect of 17pt. Place the shape underneath the tomatoes.
I decided to add a Polaroid frame to the mesh tomatoes. Let's review how to make it. First, create a rectangle (M) and fill it with white.
Create another rectangle and make it much smaller than the original one and fill it with a green color. Place it on top and center it vertically. Then select both shapes and click the Divide button in the Pathfinder Palette./p>
Select the inner shape with the Direct Selection Tool and set the Layer Mode to Overlay and the Opacity to 25%.
Select the outer shape with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and apply a Drop Shadow (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) to it.
Place the Polaroid frame on top of the tomatoes. Since the inner shape was set to Overlay, it gives the tomatoes a slight punch. I place a light grey gradient background behind everything. Below you can see the final images. I hope you enjoyed this mesh tutorial.
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