Chinese artist amazes netizens with incredibly realistic 3D drawings

(People's Daily Online) 14:52, June 10, 2022

A Chinese artist is famous on social media for creating head-turning, hyper-realistic illustrations of animals, figures and objects that look like they are about to pop off the page.

Cao Zhi, a 40-year-old artist from Suqian city, east China’s Jiangsu Province, has released a series of short videos featuring his magical three-dimensional artworks on a short-video platform, which have attracted 5 million followers.

Photo shows Cao Zhi’s painting featuring a girl who can be seen sitting on top of a flat piece of paper while drawing a limb for herself. (Photo/epaper.yzwb.net)

In one of his videos, Cao drew several peanuts, which look so vivid that his parrot immediately moved in close to peck at them. The most viewed video clip of Cao’s has been played 5 million times.

Cao taught himself how to draw 3D illustrations on paper after he saw similar drawings by foreign artists online in 2018. “I was impressed by such illustrations, which are in fact two dimensional despite their three-dimensional appearances. So I steeped myself in the artform because I believed I could make it just like other painters did,” Cao said.

After numerous attempts, Cao mastered the skills to create 3D paintings. He uploaded a video clip featuring his first 3D painting of a rose, which was viewed over 1 million times and attracted a great number of followers.

According to Cao, the secret of drawing 3D paintings lies in the technique of making a painting look as much like the subject as possible, in addition to adopting the use of anamorphosis, an ingenious perspective technique that involves creating an image that looks distorted from one angle, but appears normal from a particular angle. Anamorphosis lets him recreate light and shadows, which in turn makes it seem as if each painting is three-dimensional.

Photo shows a crayfish painted by Cao Zhi. (Photo/epaper.yzwb.net)

Cao also employs another trick to enhance the illusion of his artwork. After completing the drawing, he cuts out the margins of the paper. This small touch is what fools the eyes of viewers and creates the 3D effect, making it seem as if his illustrations are real objects while his illustrated creatures are seen sitting on top of or leaping off from a flat paper. In addition, the artist pointed out that solid basic painting skills and numerous practices are essential for making 3D drawings.

Meanwhile, Cao often shares his skills with netizens by uploading short videos about painting skills, one of which garnered more than 1 million followers.

Over the past four years or more, Cao has created between 300 to 400 3D paintings. His favorite one is a painting featuring a girl who can be seen sitting on top of the flat paper while drawing a limb for herself. Many netizens felt sorry to see the “amputee.” Cao explained that a girl in his studio, who is in fact an able-bodied girl, inspired the artwork.

Photo shows Cao Zhi. (Photo/epaper.yzwb.net)

Born in a village in Suqian city, Cao was once an art teacher in a middle school in his hometown. Two years later, he resigned from the school and went to Shanghai to further his career development. He has lived in Shanghai for over a decade and engaged in fine art training for 12 years in the city.

“I’m glad that people like my 3D drawings. I’m also happy to share the magical skills of creating 3D drawings,” Cao said.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)