Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, 3D artists and studios around the world are creating dreamscapes that imagine new ideal worlds. Here, we’ve rounded up 11 digital surrealists making visuals that will fill your feed with pure escapism.
Mue Studio – NYC, USA
Creative duo Minjin Kang and Mijoo Kim form NYC’s Mue Studio. They specialize in art direction, photography, and 3D image design for campaigns or installations, focusing on creating a visual identity helping brands express themselves.
“In the series ‘Somewhere in the World’, we have been interested in creating a minimalistic yet vibrant surreal world. Our goal is to create dreamlike spaces that are architecturally rendered, which invites viewers to our thoughtful illusion. Through our inspirational spaces and objects, we challenge everyone to blur the boundary between fantasy and reality.”
Alexis Christodoulou is a self-taught 3D artist whose works focus on imaginary architecture. He is inspired by a lifelong fascination with digital worlds and 3D graphics since he played video games as a boy. The images he creates are a simple extension of his desire to see fantastic spaces come to life echoing a modern and clean aesthetic.
“I’m trying to bring nature into my work a lot more nowadays. We’ve invaded it so much as a human species, perhaps we could let it invade our digital worlds a bit more.”
Contemporary Spanish design studio Six N. Five specializes in still life visuals and videos with a clean and modern aesthetic. The Barcelona-based studio creates “experimental work which is legitimizing CGI as a new medium for creative self-expression.”
“Our Japanese Garden series comes from visual research of landscapes, objects, spaces that belong to a culture that is not ours but we admire. This external point of view was the key to create something new, adding a new reinterpretation of the mood board we had. Pleasant spaces and harmonic gardens work together as an invitation to relax and meditate.”
Benjamin Guedj is a multidisciplinary designer specializing in identity, interior architecture and product design. He aims to answer a primary need to create a tangible universe, to touch and feel design through many mediums.
“I always start with an imaginary place where I would like to be. Then I think about a specific moment of the day, to craft the perfect light and convey emotion through photorealistic 3D. I imagine what kind of materials and lights I would like to see in my dreamlike spot, then I try to create the right balance between reality and unreality.”
“Rebecca Lee creates dreamlike surreal environments that take viewers on a journey into an idealized world. Through the suggestion of subtle movements and passing of time, she speaks to the ephemeral nature of a fleeting moment. She takes inspiration from architecture and nature to explore the balance between what we conceive as real and unreal.”
New Zealand-based French-born designer Chris Barneau experiments with texture, light, and geometric shapes to create intimate compositions. Chris’ childhood in seaside Marseille has a major influence on his work today where he uses long shadows to punctuate a tonal palette of deep red, warm orange and sun-inflected yellow, to convey the vivid intensity of his sunny childhood summers.
“My passion for creating 3D compositions grew out of frustration. An eye for photography, and no access to physical photography studios, necessitated creating a virtual shooting studio. I use tools like Cinema4D to create spaces, allowing an augmentation of reflections, imperfections, shininess, shadows and light.”
Spanish multidisciplinary creative studio GUASCH makes images and moving content to serve the needs of what they describe as a new communication era. The Barcelona studio’s aim is to blur the boundaries between CGI, photography, film mixing techniques to create innovative and memorable content.
“Our work is an exploration of space through light, material and colour to create contrasting atmospheric interiors.”
Joe Mortell is a senior designer for The New York Times. He fuses art direction, 3D animation and illustration, and interaction design, developing ideas and works for large scale and small startups worldwide.
“With every animation or illustration I make, I always experiment with making a part of it feel surreal. This is usually by playing with unusual colours or the composition of objects. If it’s an animation, I look at making things move in a way they wouldn’t in real life. I feel that, if I’m making something that could already exist, it’s interesting and fun to experiment with it in these ways!”
Peter Tarka produces immersive illustrations using forms, shapes and bold colors to elevate aesthetics working with most recognizable brands from around the world. Peter is an established artist and art director crafting mesmerizing visual experiences.
Italian multidisciplinary designer Cristina La Porta creates imagined and utopian spaces. The Sicily-born Milan-based creative’s design philosophy is centered around the detail and novelty within these spaces. Her idyllic 3D visualizations are an escape from reality, isolated and paradisiacal, where the viewer can both relax and be in search of a fantasy.
“My passion for the creation of idyllic spaces and 3D visualizations is the result of the constant search for aesthetics, a less commercial vision of reality and above all a constant search for my inner self, where, only in these places can I find the peace and alienate me a little from the reality that surrounds me, to dream, wonderfully, with open eyes.”