‘Christmas Rush’ 3D Scene Brings Holiday Cheer This Week ‘In the NVIDIA Studio’

Digital artist Božo Balov shares his creative workflows in Adobe Photoshop and Blender; over 500 RTX games and creative apps now available; and the #WinterArtChallenge is back.
by Gerardo Delgado

Editor’s note: This post is part of our weekly In the NVIDIA Studio series, which celebrates featured artists, offers creative tips and tricks, and demonstrates how NVIDIA Studio technology improves creative workflows. 

‘Tis the season for friends, family and beautifully rendered Santa animations from this week’s In the NVIDIA Studio artist, 3D expert Božo Balov.

This week also marks an incredible milestone, with over 500 NVIDIA RTX-powered games and creative apps now available with support for ray tracing and AI-powered technologies like NVIDIA DLSS. Over 120 of the most popular apps — including the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Autodesk Maya, Blender, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, OBS, Unity and more — use RTX to accelerate workflows by orders of magnitude, power new AI tools and enhancements and enable real-time, ray-traced previews.

To celebrate, NVIDIA GeForce is hosting a giveaway for gift cards, rare, sought-after #RTXON keyboard keycaps and more. Follow GeForce on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or X (formerly known as Twitter) for instructions on how to enter.

Say it ain’t snow: the NVIDIA Studio #WinterArtChallenge is back. Through the end of the year, share winter-themed art on Facebook, Instagram or X for a chance to be featured on NVIDIA Studio social media channels. Be sure to tag #WinterArtChallenge to join.

Finally, 80 Level — the creative community for digital artists, animators and computer-generated imagery specialists — is hosting its Community Metasites Challenge. Artists can showcase their creativity by applying unique aesthetics to a simple block level via characters, game mechanics, visual effects and more — with a chance to win a new NVIDIA Studio laptop. Register today.

Wrapper’s Delight

Balov’s Christmas Rush 3D animation reimagines Santa as a resident of the coastal city of Split, Croatia — but with a harsher, less jolly edge.


Balov jumped straight into modeling edgy Saint Nick in the virtual-reality modeling software Quill. He deployed vertex-painting techniques and used a photogrammetry scan of a Vespa as a base, adding brushstrokes to blend it with the rest of the scene.


To achieve a flickering effect on Santa’s clothing, Balov created a custom texture with different brush strokes in Adobe Photoshop. The texture doubles as an alpha map, which intentionally clips the geometry.


“When it comes to rendering 3D graphics, nothing really comes close to NVIDIA GPUs.” — Božo Balov

He then used Adobe Photoshop to paint monochromatic background layers. Balov’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU unlocked over 30 GPU-accelerated features, including blur gallery, liquify, smart sharpen and perspective warp.

Balov then converted the files to the FBX adaptable file format for 3D software before importing them into Blender, where he animated the layers to move in the opposite direction of the character to create a sense of speed. He kept the lighting fairly simple, with one light source as the base and a few supplemental ones to emphasize specific parts of the scene.


Balov prefers working in Blender’s real-time engine EEVEE to animate his scene, cutting wait times. RTX-accelerated OptiX ray tracing in the viewport enabled greater interactivity with smoother movement, speeding his ideation and creative workflow.

Extraordinary detail.

“Rendering is a joy on NVIDIA RTX cards,” said Balov. “Since OptiX made its debut, rendering times have been cut in half or more — Blender Cycles feels like a real-time engine.”

When asked for advice to give aspiring artists, Balov emphasized the importance of individual passion.

“Pursue what matters to you,” he said. “Don’t spend time fulfilling other people’s ideas of what art should be.”


Check out Balov’s art portfolio on Instagram.

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