Benjamin Ryan Messer is a digital sculptor and jewelry designer from North Carolina who graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Product Design. He works at Facet Foundry Jewelry Studio where he takes sketches for different custom pieces and creates the 3d model for renders, 3d printing, and casting. He also created Benjamin Ryan Design in 2023 as a platform to sell some of his sculpted ring designs and offer freelance jewelry design services.
Benjamin Ryan Messer
How did you get into design?
Watching too much Cartoon Network and Toonami when I was little is probably what started it. I would try to draw different characters and spend hours looking up drawing tutorials and learning on the internet. This started the snowball to roll in the art direction where I developed some decent drawing and observational skills. In high school I took all the art, architecture, and engineering classes that I could. When I went to college I was split between pursuing a studio art degree or a product design degree. I went the product design route because I felt it had more “tools in the toolbox” as far as the classes and skills it offered to land a job in the creative field. Appalachian State University is where I first got a taste of 3D modeling with Rhino, Solidworks, and KeyShot. I started learning Zbrush after I began working at Facet Foundry Jewelry Studio as their CAD Designer, where I initially used Rhino/Matrix to create the 3D models. I was inspired to give Zbrush a shot whenever I saw what Nacho Riesco and Tomas Wittelsbach were doing in the world of digital sculpting and jewelry design. I’ve learned a lot of great modeling and rendering techniques watching their live streams and webinars.
What are some of your favorite projects?
My favorite projects are the ones that have a lot of organic elements to the design where I can really dive into Zbrush and play around sculpting.
Where in your process do you use KeyShot?
I use KeyShot towards the end of our custom jewelry design process to generate renders for our customers to approve, from there we move into production. KeyShot gives me the ability to really show them what the final piece will look like.
What are some of your favorite KeyShot tools?
It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite KeyShot tool, but I really like the overall KeyShot workflow with simply dragging and dropping a material onto the model to quickly get the results I want. The Studios tool is also really nice, and saves me a lot of time generating multi-view renderings for the different custom designs that come through our shop.
How would you describe your design philosophy?
With all the designs I work on, communication with the client is key to understanding the direction, and what elements they want in their piece. From there I try to find a balance with production constraints, wearability, and the overall form.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I think inspiration comes from all over the place. Just existing, seeing what other artists are doing, watching movies/TV shows, nature, human history… It all just swirls around in the background and eventually an idea pops up that I try to sketch out and model.
What advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you do?
Just dive in and start doing it. There are a lot of great tutorials/webinars for Zbrush and jewelry design online to learn from. The sooner you are able to be proficient in a 3D modeling program the easier it is to let ideas flow. Then you can toss the model into KeyShot and get nice renderings.