The Mesh Fill Tool can be one of the most daunting vector tools no matter the program. In this tutorial we'll render a simple apple in CorelDRAW and use the Mesh Fill tool to its fullest. We'll pair it with the Drop Shadow tool and Fountain Filled shapes to create a simple, semi-realistic apple in no time!
1. Create the Basic Apple
Create a New Document and draw a circle with the Ellipse tool (F7). Select the shape and Convert to Curves (Control-Q). Use the Shape tool (F10) to manipulate the shape's nodes to get more of an apple-like shape. Flatten out the top or bottom. Perhaps your apple has a narrow base. The shape you create is up to you.
In the Object Properties docker, set the object's fill color to bright red. Use the Mesh Fill tool (M) to apple a mesh to the object by double-clicking on the object's edge and applying a darker red to that edge in the Property Bar. With the Mesh Fill tool, select the upper right of the object to create a simple mesh again, and apply a lighter red to the nodes in that section.
2. Render the Apple
Select mesh nodes with the Shape tool to apply dark red to the lower outer edge and light red to the top left and center of the apple (see node placement within the mesh below). Add additional nodes with the Mesh Fill tool.
Manipulate the curve of the mesh nodes with the Shape tool. Notice how much lighter the node in the center of the upper left is compared to the other shades of red within the mesh. This is where I've established the apple's highlight.
Let's break down the rest of the apple's rendered parts:
- The upper left is quite a light red, while the lower right is a dark red. Also note how the edges of the upper half of the apple are the first bright red we started the apple with.
- Add a couple of nodes in the upper center and apply a red-brown to them. This is where the stem and leaf of the apple will sprout from.
- Add another mesh node, with the Mesh Fill tool, to the lower right of the apple (not the outer edge, but close to it) and select a medium red to accentuate the core shadow of the lower right side.
- Brighten up the highlight of the upper left to increase the overall contrast of the apple.
3. Create and Render the Leaf
With the Pen tool or the Bezier tool, draw a single leaf shape. Fill the leaf with a bright, spring green in the Object Properties docker. Convert the object to curves to prepare it for the Mesh Fill tool in the next step.
Like the apple, start the mesh nodes on the outer lower edges of the leaf and apply darker green colors to them. Place nodes in the center of the leaf from corner to corner and apply lighter greens with Mesh Fill Color in the Property Bar.
With the Drop Shadow tool, drag a drop shadow to the lower left to create a simple cast shadow. Set the Opacity to 29 and the Shadow Feathering to 9 in the Property Bar to soften the cast shadow.
With the Shape tool, manipulate the mesh nodes of the leaf so they curve around the shape of the leaf. Place lighter, brighter colors on the right side of the leaf with dark green on the edges (see placement below).
Draw a stem shape with the Pen tool and follow through with the same process of applying a mesh with the Mesh Fill tool to a shape that's been Converted to Curves. Darker brown goes on the outer edges of the stem, and there should be a strip of lighter brown left of the center of the stem.
Place the stem and leaf over the indentation on the apple itself. Adjust the angle of each shape as you see fit.
4. Finishing Touches
Group (Control-G) together all of your apple components and use the Drop Shadow tool to apply a drop shadow that goes to the upper right of the picture plane. Note how the angle of the shadow helps establish the ground on which the apple sits.
You can add other transparent fountain filled shapes or render the background rectangle as a mesh to make the shadows look more realistic. I'm sticking with a simple drop shadow for this one.
In the event you want to transfer a mesh fill to another object, CorelDRAW has a tool for that in the Property Bar. Select the object you want to apply the mesh to and make sure you've Converted it to Curves. With the Mesh Fill tool selected, hit Copy mesh fill in the Property Bar and when the arrow comes up, select the object that already has the mesh fill applied to it.
When you do, your mesh will transfer over to the previously selected object. It's kind of like magic.
A Mesh Fill a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!
Excellent work, you're done! I defined the shape and highlights of my leaf with transparent fountain filled objects. Note how the leaf looks less rounded and has more shape to the object. Also note the that I added more colors to the stem's mesh so it looks more stem-like. You can push your mesh fills further by referencing stock photos or a still-life in order to take a semi-realistic design to full realistic.
Share your mesh filled creations in the comment section below! Render all of the objects on your desk or in your fruit bowl, and really take that Mesh Fill tool out for a spin.
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