Mike Campau: 100% CGI Nostalgic Objects That Look Like Photographs

Digital artist Mike Campau's "Generation Gap" series pays tribute to mixtapes, rotary phones and Garbage Pail Kids.

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The extreme photorealism of digital artist Mike Campau’s images will make you seriously doubt that it’s 100% CGI. The series Generation Gap, with its Frosted Flakes cereal boxes and Adidas sneakers, was entirely created in Photoshop. Renders only, no photography.

The blended gradient lights and nostalgic objects were created with a combination of Modo by The Foundry, V-Ray and Wacom’s Intuos pen and touch tablet. “The integration of V-Ray into Modo is outstanding. You can even use the native materials and lights but use the V-Ray render engine,” Campau explains. “Use it along with a V-Ray physical camera and you can get some pretty great results. Plus, the ‘denoise’ in V-Ray render setup is amazing—cuts down on render times and gives smooth clean results.”

He says the series Generation Gap are “images of my childhood—when we had to get up to change the channel, collected enough stickers to fill a photo album (oh, and we had photo albums!), played video games on rainy days, used film to capture images, cranked up our boomboxes with homemade mixtapes, ran around with toy guns that looked like the real thing, and had to ‘dial’ a number.”

Campau is the father of five kids, so it’s easy to see why childhood nostalgia would be a topic of interest. Many of the items that were significant during his formative years have become mysterious objects to his own offspring.

The dissidence between generations is marked by the precision of his rendered images. It’s a sci-fi representation of objects that can no longer be photographed, as they are rare to find in good enough condition. This series is undoubtedly the future looking back at the past and casting it in a rainbow-hued light.

Mike Campau’s portfolio



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