Living in the Simulation

Hello everybody! Today on my ARTS 104 website I am going to be talking about David McLeod. McLeod is an Australian 3D Illustrator, artist, and designer. McLeod got his start in the 3D space five years ago. Before this, David was working in digital advertising and website creation. Now residing in New York City, McLeod focuses on making experimental and textural CGI illustrations. In fact, McLeod says that his work is inspired by his curiosity in exploring visual territories in CG. One way that McLeod feeds this curiosity is by using simulations in unique ways, like taking a waterfall effect and applying it to something other than a waterfall.

Other inspirations for his work include mathematical rules and geometry in nature. However, McLeod says that he is inspired by anything and everything. McLeod has been using a variety of tools over the years, but recently he has been using a PC to run the Cinema4D and Houdini programs. To add functionality to these programs, McLeod takes advantadge of plugins that simulate particles, which can be anything from fluid to fire like. In addition to CGI work, McLeod works on typography, lettering, still and moving images. McLeod’s has been commissioned by Apple, Nike, Dropbox, Toyota, Adobe, Wacom, Diesel, Calvin Klein, Omega, Mastercard, Canon, Greenpeace, and Wired.

When I started looking at David McLeod’s work, I started by looking at his website. It was here that I recognized McLeod’s eye-catching work. The first piece that I recognized and loved was the Wired UK cover. I am a huge fan of Wired (uh hey Wired if you’re reading this, I’m very poor and very nerdy, so can you help a girl out and give her a free subscription please?). The reason I love this image so much is because Wired is a technology magazine that one would expect to be covered in computers and circuts. However, McLeod subverts expectations by giving Wired’s title a furry, very non-computer vibe.

The second image I find interesting is this one from his “Pipelines” post on his website. This image stood out to me for two reasons. The first reason is that the texture of the pipes is so fascinating. The pipes are very defined, but simultaneously so soft. In fact, they seem so soft that it reminds me almost of skin. Which brings me to my second point. When I first saw this image, it looked like a person sitting and levitating in the air. This intrigued me as I began wondering if McLeod intended the viewer to see a human form in these abstract pipes.

McLeod’s last work that I really liked was his New York City gif (above). This work quite literally jumped out at me because it is a moving image. McLeod created this gif for the Metro AR-T App, which uses AR to overlay the work of New York City artists onto the NYC Metrocard. Another one of my favorite mediums is AR, so I found it very neat that McLeod created a work that appeared virtually on The Metrocard. Overall, I liked McLeod’s work as he uses 3D simulations in unintended, unexpected, and intriguing ways.


“DAVID MCLEOD.” MUCH, Accessed 31 Jan. 2019.

“David McLeod on Behance.” Behance, Accessed 31 Jan. 2019.

McLeod, David. David McLeod. Accessed 31 Jan. 2019.

“Talking Art and Technology with 3D Artist David McLeod.” ARTNOLOGY CONTENT, 30 Jan. 2017,

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