Welcome to the first installment of the “Eye on Design” series where I’ll highlight amazing artists that you need to keep an eye on! The first artist I’ll be highlighting is one of my favorites, Stuart Wade, who has a very unique 3D style that I absolutely love. The compositions he creates using simple 3D shapes are brilliant! Recently, he’s been doing live streams on Youtube that allow you to get a peek into his process! Let’s see what makes Stuart tick in this short interview I had with him.
Introduce yourself to the interwebs! Who’s this Stuart guy?
Hello webs! I’m Stuart Wade, but you may also know me by my online moniker, DLGNCE. (Like diligence, but spelled all fancy.) I’m a digital artist, designer and illustrator currently residing in San Francisco. I was born in New York City, grew up in the Philadelphia area, and moved to SF after marrying my amazing wife Jackie about 3 years ago. She’s also a graphic designer, and the opportunities for creatives in the Bay Area are pretty awesome.
When my nose isn’t 6 inches from a monitor, I also really enjoy hiking, jogging and getting outside. I’m also frequently found in the kitchen, whipping up some tasty dishes for the wife and myself.
Describe your journey getting into design & 3D.
I suppose the whole journey started way back in my childhood. I grew up in the 80s, the son of some fairly creative parents. My Dad is a musician and amateur theater actor, and my Mom is an amazing painter working in traditional mediums. I always loved to draw and read comic books and I was lucky enough to grow up in an era replete with video games, Nickelodeon and the burgeoning internet.
I’m fairly confident that immersing myself in these highly visual mediums lead me towards my current career path. I can distinctly remember making images in MS Word on my dad’s work laptop some 25 years ago. I wish I still had those files…
I realized in high school that it was possible to earn a living in the visual arts—and there was no way in hell I wanted to be an accountant! This led me to study graphic design and illustration at university.
Always looking to experiment and grow my skill set, I started toying with 3d applications while working at my first job at a small agency in Pennsylvania. At first it was Google Sketchup, then Blender, but when I discovered Cinema 4D I really began to dive in and fully incorporate it into my workflow
What’s your favorite part about designing for the GIF medium?
I love the simplicity and share-ability of it all. Growing up alongside the internet, it feels like a medium that is truly our generations’. Years ago, gifs were considered the low-brow dregs of the internet. (Think cheesy rotating text and glittering MySpace backgrounds.) As bandwidth has gone up, and as mobile devices are more capable of handling animations, gifs are becoming a ubiquitous and well loved part of the digital landscape.
You have a very unique style, can you tell us some of your influences?
I try to draw my inspiration from all over. There is obviously more cool stuff on the internet than any one person could possibly look at. Social media provides a constant pipeline of eye candy and inspiration for me to stare at. Some of my favorite contemporary artists are AJ Fosik, Aryz, Ferris Plock, Raymond Lemstra, Grand Chamaco, Boy Kong and Sam Rodriguez.
I also draw a ton of inspiration from nature and natural forms. There is a ton of beauty to be seen in the hills and water and foliage in the bay area. I have a collection of small succulent plants behind my workstation that keep me company while I peck away at 3d models, and they are a constant reminder of natures beauty. You’ve probably seen versions of them in some of my renderings!
What’s the one thing in Cinema 4D you couldn’t live without?
Great question… and a tough one to answer. These days, I suppose the Capsule primitive… It’s about as basic as it gets and I use it a lot!
You’re a great example of not needing to know much about modeling to create some amazing 3D artwork. I love how you utilize basic shapes and forms to create your GIFs. Do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into 3D but may be too intimidated by 3D modeling?
Thanks! I’ve always been a fan of playing to the medium, and allowing constraints to inform the final outcome (That’s why I also enjoy working with limited color palettes.) I believe composition and other visual fundamentals are far more important to the quality of the image than fancy geometry or lighting setups. Not to mention the fact that I do all of my rendering from my laptop, so I try to keep my lighting and geometry fairly simple to cut down on render times.
My advice would be to start out by playing and experimenting and learning the types of things C4D is good at, and how you can use it as a supplement to your existing work stream. After some initial exploration, I would take a more tactical approach. Figure out specific things you want to make, and learn how to make them. The internet is FULL of amazing resources—like eyedesyn.com—that will teach you how to approach certain challenges you may be having with your projects. I’ve been working with C4D for about 6 or 7 years at this point, and I can say the times I’ve learned the most are when I’ve had to overcome specific roadblocks to achieve a particular result I had in mind.
Lastly, I would also encourage folks to enjoy the process. Cinema 4D is a complex program and it’s going to take a long time to get good at it. So grab a drink, put on some tunes, and have fun digging in!
More of Stuart’s work: