Image courtesy of Matias Toloza Salech.

Matias Toloza Salech

July 2021 Artist of the Month

3 mins

Another month, another artist feature! We're excited to introduce you to our AREA July Artist of the Month, Matias Toloza Salech. Matias is a 3D Generalist based in Santiago, Chile. He's been freelancing for the past six years, after graduating with a Bachelor's degree in 3D Animation and VFX. Recently, he began undertaking 3D courses at CineLight Academy to bring his skills to the next level.



Portrait photo of Matias Toloza Salech with his arms crossed, who looks towards the camera from the inside of a home.



What was your "this is what I want to do as a career" moment?

I’ve liked video games and movies since I’ve been a kid. I played a lot of World of Warcraft and Starcraft and I just loved the cinematics. When Wrath of the Lich King came out, I knew this is what I wanted to do with my career.


What inspires your work?

The desire to be a better artist and discover new ways of seeing the world.


3D render of Grogu and Mando in a spaceship from the Mandalorian.Grogu Fan Art by Matias Toloza Salech


3D render of Darth Maul from Star Wars wearing a hood and looking at camera.Darth Maul Fan Art by Matias Toloza Salech


What does your workflow look like?

My workflow depends on the project I’m working on. I usually start by researching reference images. I then open a project in Maya to make a 3D model, build UVs, make a Light Rig, and match the lighting. Once that’s good, I bring the model into Substance Painter for texturing, and export it as a TIFF 16. After that, I go back into Maya to use shaders and render in Arnold, and end off by compositing in Nuke.


Which of your projects are you most proud of?

Since being back in school, I've worked on a lot of new projects – all of which I'm proud of. My project “Buzz Lightyear” stands out for me though because it was extremely challenging. Given that Buzz is one of the most recognizable characters in the industry, there was a lot of pressure to get it right. I’m really happy with the way it turned out though.


3D render of toy astronaut, Buzz Lightyear, from Toy Story looking at camera and surrounded by colored lights.

Buzz Lightyear Fan Art by Matias Toloza Salech


What advice do you have for 3D artists just starting off in their careers?

Details make the difference. So always use reference images, and be sure to keep your eyes sharp.

And if you want to reach your goals, you have to work hard and never give up. No matter what happens throughout the process, you have to believe in yourself. Someday, you’ll be exactly where you want to be.


Want to see more from Matias?

AREA portfolio



  • Maya
  • Arnold
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