Ben Dosage builds 3D environments based on “sci-fi optimism” and “post-scarcity luxury aesthetics”
Ben, aka Studio Dosage, creates otherworldly and dystopian 3D imagery for fashion, art, advertising and science communication.
- Ayla Angelos
- 23 April 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Ben Dosage spent most of his life trying to be an indie comic book artist. But, it was during his final year studying illustration at Bristol's University of the West of England that he’d discovered the true possibilities of CG art. “My illustrative work was mainly very highly detailed narrative-driven sci-fi piece,” he tells It’s Nice That. So, in some ways, it was inevitable that he would end up down the route of more experimental tech, working in Bristol under the name of Studio Dosage.
“When I discovered the CG workflow, I felt the themes of my work transferred very well,” he continues, “though it has taken me pretty much up until now to feel as if I can truly recreate my drawings digitally.” He admits he more or less fell into this job as a 3D artist, but above all, it was a natural and just move. “It just made sense at the time, I’m pretty obsessive when it comes to learning new tools.”
A keen collaborator, Ben tends to work heavily on mood boards, sketches and visual references in order to make sure that he’s on the same page when responding to clients and briefs. He also uses Cinema4D as his tool of choice, however this tends to change depending on the types of projects he’s taking on. For collaborative work, 3D scanning works a charm. He uses Form Capture, a London-based 3D scanning studio, to scan his models into 3D – recently completing a Selfridges brief that allowed him to scan the models on the photoshoot, and then finalise the work using digitalised scenes in a 3D environment. “I also use stuff like Unreal Engine for realtime work, Houdini for heavy simulations, and whatever specialised tools I can get my hands on.” Nonetheless, it’s his ability to productively work between the hours of 10pm and 4pm that he marks as his main technique.
After learning about his processes, it becomes clear as to why he describes his work as a medley of “sci-fi optimism and post-scarcity luxury aesthetics”. In the long run, he plans to build on visions of a future world in which the human race has sorted out its “shit” and has moved out of the “proto-technological dark age we’re living in at the moment”. An example of this dystopian view of the world can be seen in a short film for BBC Ideas, titled World Without Humans. Published in May last year, Ben says that his style has certainly progressed since then, but its “strong and clean aesthetic” and the opportunity to work on interesting concepts is what he found most fascinating. Creating the digital landscape, Ben worked alongside Philip Wheeler, the Open University senior lecture in ecology, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “The piece was created to inform people as to what would happen to the infrastructure and architecture of modern society without us there to keep it up,” Ben adds, “and how nature will reclaim the swathes of concrete we’ve coated the planet in.”
In the midst of the current crisis, Ben is interested to see the effects of social distancing on the fashion industry, “especially things like clout culture” – this is because he believes the wealth and power will move towards more digital mediums. And that’s just it; as everything shifts online at a rapidly increasing pace, new possibilities are opened up on a global scale and limitations in terms of genre are broken down. “The ability to share data and collaborate globally with academics and creatives is the biggest positive of the current state of the world,” he says. “For example, seeing the current work using 3D printing, crowdsourcing and hacking existing technology to create ventilators for coronavirus is extremely encouraging to me.”
Continuing to explain how environments like VR chat and Second Life are what interests him greatly, Ben has noticed a transition in the way that culture is presented – art and music events are being hosted “URL instead of IRL”. He adds: “Though I still don’t feel these experiences mimic real human interaction yet, we are basically just seeing the birth of these mediums being taken seriously – and that is really exciting to me.”