Artist Profile : Ben Ridgway 3D Artist

Volanti Displays Artist Profile : Ben Ridgway


Ben Ridgway recently sat down with us to discuss his work and answer a few questions about 3D art and what the inspiration was behind his various works.

Volanti Displays: What is your background in the visual art / animation world? How are you currently involved in the visual world?

Ben Ridgway: My name is Ben Ridgway and I’m an Assistant Professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. I have 15 years of professional experience as both a 3D artist in the video game industry and as a Professor. While in the games industry I helped to create games for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft console systems. I have been making experimental animations since 1992.

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. 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.”

Ben Ridgway : Portfolio

Volanti Displays: What software did you use to create such works as your Cosmic Flower Unfolding?

Ben Ridgway: I use a combination of ZBrush and After Effects. Here’s a recap of a presentation I did at SIGGRAPH that breaks down how I made the film.

Cosmic Flower Unfolding

Inner Space Artifacts

Volanti Displays: What was the inspiration behind Inner Space Artifacts?

Ben Ridgway: Artifacts from inner space transformed into moving digital sculptures. When creating experimental animations I often use intuition and visualization techniques to come up with ideas. Often times these ideas come to me as a flash of insight. Other times I must plumb the depths of my psyche to find novel approaches to making moving images. The film “Inner Space Artifacts” was a journey of deep excavation into the world that resides behind my closed eyes. The moving objects in the animation I regard as “artifacts” that I uncovered and shaped into ephemeral moving digital sculptures.


Last year Ben’s film Tribocycle was featured on the Digital Dome at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ben Ridgway: “Tribocycle” was created by using raw footage from my previous film “Triboluminescence” and is designed as a looping movie for large scale projections and installations.

Digital Dome
Digital Dome at the Institute of American Indian Arts

The Digital Dome is a unique space to learn new applications for creative expression, scientific and technical exploration, and the merging of art and technology. It is also unique in the world as the only articulating dome which can move 90 degrees and be positioned in multiple locations for different viewing experiences.

Ben has premiered his work at numerous film festivals and has been actively showcasing his work as installations all over the world in various galleries. For a list of his films and where they’ve premiered click here.