CG Artist of the month

CG Artist of the month: Mike Dugenio | Interview

CG Artist of the month: Mike Dugenio | Interview
Here is a new section where all the best CG-Artist and Nouvelle Mesure Lab clients will be showcased.

Each month, we will award and interview one CG Artist here.

We start with Mike Dugenio, archvizer and loyal customer of the lab. We really liked his work and the way he compose his renders.


INTERVIEW: Mike Dugenio - CG Artist of the month


Hi Mike, maybe you can introduce yourself, by how long you’ve been architectural visualizer and how did you get started?

I started making 3D visualizations in 2012 as a part of a course at the university where I was studying architecture. At that time it was more on a hobbyist basis and routine, and I was thinking that it was something I wanted to learn in order to improve my "future-career" as an architect. After my bachelor's degree, I had a sabbatical year, where I was interning at a smaller architecture office in Copenhagen, mostly making architectural visualizations. After returning to university and finishing my master's degree in Architecture, I went to work as an architectural visualizer at a larger architecture office in Rotterdam. After a year of that, I returned to Denmark and started as a freelancer. I have been freelancing for 1½ year now, under the guise as Studio Dugenio. 

How would you describe your visualization approach?

I am not sure if it constitutes my 'approach', but what I focus on in my work, tends to be finding moments where the architecture becomes photogenic, and where the context and the atmosphere further tries to accentuate that.
I always try to make images that stand out. Images that have a unique expression.

Our Birch Tree Set is frequently used by Mike in his composition.


Your renderings are quite poetic while remaining realistic. You often use fog with some beautiful dramatic lighting. What are your artistic influences (for example paintings, movies, landscape...)?

Realism is more a product of the tools and the engine you are using. It is a bit weird to generalize, but I think realism has an easier way of being perceived than something that is very abstract.

I think realism is good, but interesting is better. Fog is an interesting element to work with when making images. In an ironic way, fog is something you add, that actually removes information in the image. It is quite unique in how it works. I think fog helps simplify the image and it brings a kind of tranquillity and a sense of mystery to it, which I think are 'good' emotions to put into the image.

If I had to limit myself to a couple of influences. I would say I'm very fond of the works of Stanley Kubrick, Julius Shulman, Gregory Crewdson. More directly related to CG I'd say MIR, Luxigon, The Boundary and Bertrand Benoit. They all have incredible amounts of work, within their own style, and with the ability to push the boundaries of their work beyond the 'standard' and elevate their field. 

Platanus Tree Set on the rigth and Desert Bush Set on the ground.


You are also a professional photographer.  Do you think that influences your CGI approach and how does?

I do not regard myself as a 'professional' photographer. Photography has been a big part of my ability to be creative for the last seven years, where I've been photographing mostly architecture and landscapes. 

Photography has ultimately helped me understand, how big of an impact the position, lens and composition of an image has. If you try to compare and generalize a bit, you could say that in CG you can change and make everything. But in photography. you can only really change your camera. So being more limited in that way, helps you become more aware of what you wanna do with your camera and how much power it holds.  

You make lots of full-CG renders and your environments seem to be a big part of your archviz scenes. Do you believe the environment to be as important as the architectural part of your compositions?

I like my images to be considered more as "landscape-photographs" than "architectural-photography". It's a more humble angle. Even though it is called 'architectural-visualization', I think that the architecture is also being informed by its' context, and showing the context of the architecture is just as important as showing the architecture. 

I don't think that full-CG environments are a necessity for good images. I tend to use CG environments mostly out of efficiency and precision. I am not particularly leaning towards one solution or another, it depends on the image. I think it's better to teach yourself how to be flexible with both solutions, rather than committing to one. Because I think in most cases, most images will look the best with a mix of CG and 2D elements. 

Mossy Rocks Set & Desert Bush Set was used to populate the ground while Platanus Tree Set encircle the project.


How did you discover the lab ? What made up your decisions to get assets from our store?

I honestly can't remember how I discovered it. I think someone told me about it at some point. I think I was looking specifically for birch trees, and upon seeing the previews, it seemed quite convincing. I was also immediately fascinated by your Animated Ground Pigeons Set.

Regarding your portfolio, you often use our lab’s trees like birch & platanus in your scenes. Do they seem to be your favorite foliage asset? why?

To me when I inspect the Birch Tree Set, they have a good sense of randomness to them. They seem quite natural. What is good about the Birch Trees, as a tree-species, is that they are very tall and slim. So you can easily populate your scene with them very densely, without blocking too much of the view or light, but still having a strong presence of nature in your frame.

Here : Birch Tree Set


May the fact that we are also involved in archviz industry, increased your trust in our products? 

If you look at the leaf textures for the birch trees, they are dirty and discolored, it makes them appear much more natural. I think it's something that Architectural Visualisers, which you also are, understand and appreciate more. The fact that patina, discoloration, randomness, dirt, trash, etc. has a tremendous influence on the believability and how natural the image looks.


Here : Big Platanus Tree & Platanus Tree Set


What’s your favorite modeler, render engine & plug-in?

Modelling-software : I actually do not model that much anymore. But when I used to, I frequently used Rhinoceros. I think the fact that it's almost CAD based in terms of precision, and that you can model NURBS surfaces quite easily, makes it a great piece of software. 

Render engine : I use Corona renderer at the moment, and I think it's the strongest render-engine based on stability, versatility, speed, image quality, and pricing. 

Plug-in : Designconnected's Connector, which is an assets-management tool is essential. Carefully organizing and collecting, all the things outside of your 3D program like inspiration, textures, references, tutorials, etc. is so essential to both the speed and quality of your images and workflow. 

What is the best advice you would give to a CG-artist in the visualization industry?

The most valuable lesson I've learned over the past years is that you have to find a place to work, where you can make the kind of images you want, and be creative in the way that you want. That is the only way you are going to develop yourself as a CGI artist.

To find a place where the work you do, also is an extension of your own personal learning goals and to be conscious of the direction your work is moving you in creatively. All offices have a particular workflow, pipeline, methodology and artistic direction. And these aspects should be aligned, to some degree, with your own. 

Rendering has become so much more accessible, and open, and easier to learn than ever. So I think, what you have to find and practice and nurture, is your own unique creativity and image-aesthetics, because that will distinguish you out of the crowd of visualizers. And you can only pursue that if you can take creative control of your work. 

And preferably, in my experience, being involved with the image making from ideation to final post-production is really important. Because it challenges you much more, to see and control the entire scope of production of the image.

Here : Birch Tree Set (without leaves) & Desert Bush Set on the ground


Finally some more anecdotal and personal questions :

Who’s your favorite architect?

Mies van der Rohe.

What's your favorite architectural project?

The Baron House by John Pawson.

Who’s your favorite photographer?

Julius Shulman. 

What is the most moving place you've ever visited?

Preikestolen in Norway.

One last word Mike?

Thank you to Nouvelle Mesure for the opportunity to feature my work and the interview. And thanks for making awesome products! And thank you for reading if you made it this far. 



Mike Dugenio - CG Artist of the month 

Website :

Behance :

Instagram :


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