Interview with 3D artist Matias Toloza Salech

Hi everyone! We continue a series of short interviews with the best artists from Hum3D competitions.

Matias Toloza Salech, the author of work “Work Bench – Customized Weapon” will answer on six questions and give us a look behind the work.

Work Bench – Customized Weapon by Matias Toloza Salech

– Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you become a 3D artist?

As a kid, I used to play videogames all the time. One of my favorite ones was Starcraft from Blizzard, and I spent a lot of time playing it. I didn’t become the best player in the world, just enjoyed the characters, environments, and story. This period of my life awoke my imagination, the love for sci-fi stories and adventures through space. I’ve never been good at maths, science or history, but I realize that I was good at observing my environment. Years later, I discovered that there was a new university career that fitted my interests perfectly, all I wanted at that moment was to create video games. At university, I learned so many new things and tools that helped me build my own worlds. After I finished my career I continued studying on my own, throughout books and video tutorials.

– What’s your favorite aspect of creating 3D art? Is there something you specialize in and enjoy the most?

There are many things I would like to specialize in, but it is just a matter of time and dedication. At the beginning of my university studies I was great at 3D modeling and sculpting, I enjoyed it and still do sometimes, but with time I realize that I was looking for something else: environments, lighting, and textures.

I became very good at observing my surroundings, like nature and cities, the behavior of light, reflection, and refraction of materials. As you may know, the world you see in front of you is built because of light, this basic knowledge allows you to work on your art. Once I comprehended this information, I wanted to apply it on CGI, but with my own style.

– What or who inspires you today?

Hard to say, there are many artists that inspire me, when you enter to Artstation or Pinterest, you can see a lot of great works from a huge variety of people. The most important thing is to find what you seek, something that helps you to see how is your final render is going to look. What about movies and videogames, some of them like Blade Runner, Star Wars, Alien, space odyssey, Starcraft, Bioshock & Doom helps to inspire me.

But If I had to choose one artist, Cornelius Dämmrich is the man.

– Please tell us your five short tips for creating realistic renders?

  1. Keen eye for detail This is the most important skill that you have to work on. To make realistic renders, you must know and understand how the materials and light work. Go outside and explore the world! Everything that surrounds you makes part of your inner knowledge which helps you to imagine how you want your final render to look like. Remember that nothing is perfect, you can choose between making a cleanly or a messy scene.

  2. Composition As we know, composition guides are very useful at the moment of making an image or animation. It helps you a lot to locate objects and get a good balance in the scene, so keep it up using them. Make sure the stuff you put in there makes sense and the scale is correct, we sometimes do mistakes.

  3. References! Everywhere you go, everything you see and touch will be a reference for your piece, so you must take note of your surroundings. Go to Artstation gallery or Pinterest (they are my favorite sites) and search for references you like, get ideas from concept art, start to build stories with your imagination and go for it!

  4. Never give up! The hardest part of being an artist. You see yourself trapped under pressure to make good art and be successful. You compare yourself with other artists works and think “Omg, this is crazy, I will never be able to do something like this!” or “This person has a really good talent, I can’t deal with that”. In my experience, can say that it’s really hard to get over this bad thoughts, but you must use this as energy and transform it to push yourself if you really want to go where you want to be. You will not become the best artist of the world from finger snap, but you can push yourself to be one of them. Like the AC/DC song says: “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n ‘roll!”

  5. Show your work to the world! This part is the most important for growing as an artist, I’ve met many people that are ashamed of their work like I used to be. But hey… I can say that is 25% of the total growth on your professional journey as an artist, so don’t be ashamed of your work, go on and show it! Don’t be afraid of what people may say, this will feed you up and make you stronger.

– Could you please show us any images from the work process with a short description.

It takes a while getting myself convinced of what I want to do. References can clean your mind or get it worse, so I take a few of them and see what I like most from each one.


For this project, I wasn’t sure if I was looking to do something hyper-detailed, something smooth or low poly… I was a little bit confused, got many ideas on my mind and couldn’t choose the right one.

So I just started to work and see what happened, you know, improvise!

Once I finished up making some little details to it, like tubes and wires, I started to improve color, composition, texture, and lighting for my final render.

Modeling process

I helped myself with Megascans and some shapes because I wanted to participate in the challenge and the deadline was too close.


This is some of the materials I used on the scene, they are Megascans mixed with some imperfections.

– Which of your designs are you most proud of and why?

The weapon from above. Maybe is not the best weapon design of the world, I wish I could’ve worked more on the model but I wasted too much time figuring out what to do in the first place. Once the deadline was close, I rushed myself and dedicated full time on textures, composition, and lighting.

But, the thing I like the most about it, is the mix I’ve got between “realistic” and “cartoonish” looking style on the final piece.

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