3D artist Shane Fu transforms real-life settings with his illusory animations

The real becomes surreal in Shane’s hyperrealistic creations.

1 October 2021

Shane Fu is an NYC-based 3D artist and motion designer from Wuhan, China. After struggling to choose a career during his last two years of college, he stumbled across the work of renowned artist Beeple and became fascinated by the possibilities of 3D. Coupled with his ongoing interest in mathematics, he realised he had the right tools to create his own brand of captivating digital art. Taking inspiration from the world around him, he began blending computer graphics into realistic contexts in an attempt to form public art exhibits. His hyperreal style, which frequently defies the laws of physics, plays with space, time, and texture to create feasts for the eyes.

Though his innovative type of motion design has won him many admirers, Shane admits that he struggles to identify his style: “I am still constantly trying to find my style actually, and I don’t believe I have a set one,” he explains. “Nor do I want to have one.” Instead, he adopts a carefree approach to his work, focusing more on honing his skills and exploring new ideas than following a particular path. “I don’t have a specific agenda for my creative work – I just let the concept direct it,” he says. What is clear from observing his various digital artworks, however, is that he is full of great concepts. Within each one, seemingly mundane real-world settings are transformed into eye-catching installations, blurring the line between fiction and reality.

Shane Fu: Polar Museum (Copyright © Shane Fu, 2021)

In one such artwork, commissioned by Zara for its TikTok channel, Shane fills one of the clothing brand’s stores in New York with a sea of spherical objects that swirl around the space, ricocheting off the walls, windows and each other. The artwork went viral after it captivated viewers on social media, accruing over 17 million views online. In another, Shane experiments with the storefront of the Louis Vuitton shop on Fifth Avenue, filling the exterior walls with buoyant shapes that move up and down the building’s facade as if stuck behind glass. As with all of his artworks, the effect is surprisingly realistic. Elsewhere, giant inflated penguins bounce off of the walls of their enclosure, a virtual vineyard springs up around scaffolding pipes, and a BMW magically appears from a spinning structure of liquid silver.

Speaking on how he creates these beautiful displays, Shane explains that the programmes he uses are the usual suspects – a mix of 3D programmes and image/video compositing software, including Cinema 4D, Redshift and Octane. The techniques may be fairly straightforward, but what stands out about Shane’s work is his ability to reimagine the quotidian. From storefronts to alleyways to public parks, his work converts these unremarkable spaces into dreamscapes where the limitations of reality no longer apply. The real becomes surreal and we are able to glimpse for just a moment the possibility for creativity that surrounds us every day.

Shane Fu: Limerence (Copyright © Shane Fu, 2021)

Shane Fu: Back Alley Recycling (Copyright © Shane Fu, 2020)

Shane Fu: Dream (Copyright © Shane Fu, 2021)

Shane Fu: Undulations (Copyright © Shane Fu, 2021)

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Shane Fu: TESSELLATIONS (Copyright © Shane Fu, 2021)

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About the Author

Daniel Milroy Maher

Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.

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