Making of the Fruit Tarts
by Hau Ming (Jamie) Li, USA

Hello, my name is Hau Ming (Jamie) Li, the female artist who created the Cheese Platter tutorial earlier.  This is my second tutorial on food using Maya, Photoshop and rendered with Mental Ray.  I will try to explain the process from photo concept to lighting the scene using Final Gather.

A lot of people have asked me why I wanted to create food for my demo reel instead of the typical modeling and texturing reels of environments and characters.  I can model and texture environments and characters like any CG artist, although few people can make photorealistic food and I want my demo reel and portfolio to be unique enough for people to remember.  In addition, I want to expand my horizon as a texture artist to experiment on the use of different materials and light it using Final Gather and not be dependant on the skin shader to make photorealistic food. 

Here is the reference picture which I used as a photo concept of my fruit tarts project

Reference of the Fruit Tarts

Just like the Cheese Platter project, I didn’t follow the reference 100%.  I added stuff to it, and changed the lighting to make it look better.  At the same time, I didn’t want to blur it in the post production like I did in the other image; I want a depth of field in it.


As I have said earlier, it is very important to have multiple reference pictures to look at when it comes to modeling and texturing a photorealistic scene.  If possible, purchase the fruits and keep them in front of you so you can hold it up to the light to see the translucencies.  Here are some of the pictures I have found on the net, which I used for this project. 


For the tart crust, I revolved a NURBS CV curve, added more isoparms in between and manipulated the curves to shape it into a tart crust.  Then I converted it into polygon geometry, reversed normals and UV mapped it.

Tart Crust and UV

For the custard, I used a NURBS plane, shaped it inside the tart crust, and checked the normals.

Custard and UV

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