Create strawberries in Blender
The fruit is a very important food, but sometimes it can be expensive (especially if we're talking about 3D fruit model). In this tutorial I'll show you how to model, texture and render a realistic strawberry in Blender. We'll use a simple mesh ( a sphere ) as start point, a new Blender tool ( poke face ) to obtain in few steps a realistic fruit model and SSS Shader ( subsurface scattering ) for a very realistic material.
Step 1: Modeling the strawberry I
First of all search online for some images of strawberries and save them in a folder; references are very important for a realistic result. Open Blender, delete the default cube and add a sphere with 15 segments and 15 rings. Change the view from perspective to orthographic (press 5) and jump to front view (press 1). Press TAB to change the mode from Object to Edit and turn on Proportional Editing; select the top (and then the bottom) of the sphere and move along the Z axis until you have a strawberry shape.
Step 2: Modeling the strawberry II
Disable Proportional Editing, in Edit mode select all the vertex (Ctrl+A) and use the poke faces command (Alt+P). Now your model will look like the image below. Change selection mode from vertex to edge (Ctrl+TAB) and select the 4 edge shown in the second picture below. Open select menu and click on Similar > Face Angles, inverse the selection (Ctrl+I) and delete edges (X > edge). Select all (Ctrl+A ) and press F to create missing faces. Now you should have a model like the fourth image below.
Step 3: Create seeds
Deselect the top and bottom faces of the model (use circle select), press I twice (the first one enables Inset and the second one enables Individual Face). Move the mouse just a little (see second image below). Invert the selection (Ctrl+I) and deselect the top and bottom faces (third image below), Extrude and scale just a little, change pivot origin from median to individual origin, then Extrude, press Esc and scale once more. Return the pivot to median point, Extrude and press Esc and scale a little. Press Ctrl and add a new vertex group called 'seeds'. Add a subsurface modifier and set the shader as smooth. Change the render engine from Blender to Cycles and add a red material to the strawberry and a yellow to the seeds.
Step 4: Lattice modifier
Our strawberry is much too symmetrical, so we'll use a lattice to modify the shape of the mesh. Add a lattice object (Add > Lattice) and scale it around the strawberry. Select the strawberry, jump into the modifiers tab and add a Lattice (select Lattice in the object field of the modifier). Now we're ready to modify our model; select the Lattice object, press TAB (edit mode) and move some vertices.
Step 5: Modeling the leaves
Add a circle (10 vertices) at the top of the strawberry, Extrude and scale the sides to create leaves. Add some loop cuts (Ctrl+R) to make the leaf sharper and use proportional editing to curve each leaf. From the top view, unwrap the model using the Project From View option and export UV layout – we'll use later to create the leaves material.
Step 6: Materials and texture
Let's start with the strawberry; this material is a mix of a red SSS (subsurface scattering radius 1,13 - 1,20 – 0,60), a red diffuse shader with white glossy. The material of the seeds is a mix of a yellow diffuse (70%) and a white glossy (30%). For the leaves, open the UV layout with Gimp and copy a leaf texture onto it, using a mix of diffuse and glossy materials. (For a more realistic result look at the ivy generator tutorial here).
Step 7: Light and render setup
As usual we'll use a studio lighting setup: an emission plane on the top of the scene (pure white color) and 2 emitter planes at the sides (one with an emission shader with a warm light and the other with a cold light). Depth of field is a good way to improve realism; set the camera f/stop at 4 and the number of blades at 6. Use 1000 pass, press F12 and wait for the render result. (ATTENTION: you can't use GPU with the SSS node).
Open the image with Gimp and adjust the levels and curves.
How to use different materials on the same object
Using 2 or more materials on the same object is a good way to improve final result. In this work I used a B/W texture to mix a red and a green material onto the strawberries (Texture Paint mode is a great tool to do that).