Stu Ballinger is a young 3D artist, based in the sunny Australia. The light comes also from his illustrations, full of colorful shapes, with a deep care for composition. Each project is a stylistic exploration, where 2D and 3D softwares are combined and shine with talent.
Let’s dive into the world of Stu Ballinger!
Stu Ballinger – Digital portrait of a young colorful 3D artist
Hi Stu! Can you describe yourself for our readers?
Hi, my name is Stu Ballinger. I am an abstract digital artist and graphic designer currently living in Ballarat (a smaller city near Melbourne).
Also, I am a graphic design graduate with additional experience in media technology. I work as an office graphic designer and print shop coordinator with some additional after-hours freelance work.
You have a unique style showing colorful abstract shapes Can you tell us more about it?
Early on, when I was hanging around DeviantArt at the very start of my career, I was heavily inspired by the abstract art of John Hayes & Audrey Logsdon (under the handles of Futurology & Aeleath), and a bunch of online art collectives, such as Depthcore, Cosmosys, The Luminarium and Slashthree.
The abstract style was very prevalent in the 2000s, and seemed to be dying off. I really wanted to pick it up and put my own twist on it.
When your artwork doesn’t have an obvious concept, such as a portrait or something based in reality, you really need to have a great sense of color and flow to carry the piece, and that is what led me to really work on my own color selection and composition.
When I look at your illustrations, it feels like you’re a painter, but with 3D tools. Am I correct?
While I did take a number of traditional art classes in high school and university, I really didn’t enjoy a lot of them. I’ve never felt at home with a pen or a brush and I rarely even use a graphics tablet. The vast majority of my portfolio has been produced with a mouse and keyboard, but I would like to look into changing that.
How did you start in the 3D world? Why Cinema 4D in particular?
It’s actually a really stupid reason. I had been bothering a really good of mine, Grigori Shevtsov (an amazing artist) with stupid questions about Photoshop and art in general for years. One day he started publishing some stuff that (at the time) was considered mind-blowing in our circle of friends, that he made after picking up Cinema4D.
I started bombarding him with more questions, and was generally just being a pest, and he told me to just try it.
So I did, I sucked, and I hated it. I was 17 and had no concept of patience or learning curve. A year later I picked it up again and stuck with it. So yeah, I pretty much just copied him.
” My artwork is a bunch of small elements
coming together in Photoshop “
Which parts of a 3D project do you like the most and why?
I actually don’t LOVE the 3D process. I do, however, love the results it gives. My artwork is a bunch of small elements coming together in Photoshop. Compositing everything is the part I really love.
Working in 3D, and especially Octane, seems to be a series of crashes, freezes and frustration, so I don’t really tend to enjoy a project until it starts coming together.
Are there new softwares, tools or possibilities that you wish to try in the future?
I am actually pretty content with my current suite of software. I would like to learn some other approaches to creation within these programs, such as learning digital painting within Photoshop, or further my animation skills in After Effects.
If I was to pick up anything new, it would likely be ZBrush or Substance Designer.
” Artists are a message away,
all you really need to do is ask nicely “
Which softwares do you use and why?
I currently use Photoshop & Cinema4D, paired with Octane Render.
Adobe Illustrator has snuck its way into my last couple of projects, and I have used other programs for effects such as Processing and Chaotica, but it’s been a while since I’ve opened those.
Photoshop is my favorite by far, I have been using it for so long that navigating its interface and achieving looks and effects that I like has become second nature. Even if I consider changing up my software suite, it’s likely Photoshop will remain the single constant.
Do you have any resources to advise beginners?
Find a bunch of artists you like, try and figure out how they do things. Social medias like Twitter and Discord are readily available, and are full of communities of artists that are more than happy to help.
Artists are a message away, all you really need to do is ask nicely, and a good few of them would be happy to answer questions.
Where do you find inspiration?
Like every artist, I get inspiration from looking at what my friends are doing. It’s cool to jump into a Discord server and seeing what everybody is working on and picking up ideas for my own work.
My other main source of inspiration is music. I am a huge fan of many genres of music and I rarely work on art without listening to it. The genre can influence what I am working on, and it is common to see my pieces titled after whatever I was listening to at the time. Even my last piece at the time of writing this was named after my favorite track off the last KOAN Sound LP.
Do you have artists that you admire and who inspired you?
This is a very loaded question, and believe me, if I listed everybody, we would be here all day.
- I’ll start with the obvious, Grigori Shevtsov. We have known each other and worked with each other for well over 5 years now. He has always had an influence on my style and just a great dude to be around.
- Another long-time collaborator is Alastair Temple. Ali could easily be listed back up in the influencers of my style, and I was a fan of his for years before we first spoke, but we have been friends for years now and his work continues to be a huge influence on me.
- A person who has been inspiring me a lot recently is Yuya Takeda.There seems to be no limit to what this guy can do, 3D modelling, digital pointing, motion graphics and a bunch of other stuff. There seems to be no limit to what he can do, and his work ethic is insane. He’s always doing something, and the atmosphere in his Sidetrip series is something that I can only dream of achieving.
Thank you for reaching out to me, I always enjoy chatting about myself and my processes.
See more of Stu Ballinger works here: