At SIGGRAPH 2013 Ben Ridgway will be giving a presentation on how he created his latest film 'Cosmic Flower Unfolding'. It was created using a combination of ZBrush, Maya, and After Effects. Mostly ZBrush for sculpting, animating, and rendering. Using ZBrush was absolutely essential in order to achieve the look he was looking for. "Rendering highly detailed objects changing shape in a traditional 3D program would have taken many hours versus a few minutes in ZBrush," he says.
Cosmic Flower Unfolding is a constant flow of emerging and dissolving oceanic, futuristic, and mandala forms. It is a tribute to abstraction, its connection to the inner space we inhabit and how it can be externalized.
Ben Ridgway is currently an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, USA. He also has 13 years of professional experience as both a 3D artist in the video game industry and as a Professor. While in the games industry he helped to create games for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft console systems. Ben has been making experimental animations since 1992. His films have been showcased in film festivals worldwide and have received numerous awards.
“I am an experimental animator. My abstract animations investigate the metaphysical features of reality. They are designed to stimulate archetypal associations and invite the viewer to make personal connections to the visual and auditory experience without any reliance on narrative or spoken language.
My art is intimately connected with the exploration of new technologies used for 3D computer graphics and animation. My focus is using newly available software applications in unconventional ways to generate innovative approaches to creating avate-garde films. The driving vision behind my work is fueled by drawings I make using traditional media. These drawings are created spontaneously using a vocabulary of structural forms that I have developed over time that can be arranged and interchanged in a multitude of different ways. My drawings are mostly abstract but sometimes can cross over into figurative designs fused with abstract forms. The musical compositions in my work are inspired by the use of both analogue and digital sources. Most of the time the musical arrangements I design straddle the line between atmospheric noise and music. My goal is to use sound in a way that creates an auditory parallel to the visual experience. Lighting, color, visual symbols and qualities of motion all inform the music I create. Both music and motion play equal roles in my film making process and a deep knowledge of both of these disciplines have allowed me to create unique works of art that few people can create single-handedly.
My work is abstract by nature and uses non narrative film making techniques. The undercurrents of my work point to themes centered around time, cycles, the concept of infinity, and the similarities between artificial and natural systems. In a world where technology and artificial systems are becoming more prevalent my films are a reminder that they are both a product of nature. The processes I develop to create my work are equally important as the final product. I strive to find new and innovative methods for creating sophisticated animations while retaining the ability to use intuition and spontaneity throughout the creative process. Also, my films do not contain dialogue or written language of any sort. This allows my films to be enjoyed and interpreted by anyone regardless of their native language.”