Learning Materials and Rendering with Xavier Coelho-Kostolny

Learning Materials and Rendering with Xavier Coelho-Kostolny

A true guru of modern character art is launching his own program to help young artist master 3D art.

Xavier Coelho-Kostolny, a true guru of modern character art, is launching his own mentorship program to help young artists master texturing and rendering techniques. He will provide an in-depth look at 3D production methods, including artist-friendly breakdowns of some of the more confusing and unintuitive aspects of modern materials.

This program will run for 4 weeks and have 8 slots available for people interested in developing their material and texturing know how. Additionally, each session will provide private feedback and Q&A sessions to foster group learning and get into the nitty gritty of whatever project you happen to be working on. If you don’t currently have a project going, no problem! I’ll be providing numerous downloadable pieces of example content.

We’ve asked the artist a couple of questions about his program to get more details on its benefits. 


Previous to this program, I did two mentorships in 2016 which had less emphasis on a specific area of the character production process. These programs were very broad, touching on almost all aspects of the character creation process, without giving too much time to any specific area. After these two programs, I was feeling both overwhelmed with their scope, and frustrated with the lack of time to do a deep dive on any given area. I decided to take a step back and focus on one specific topic that seemed to be a sticking point for the people in the previous programs: materials and rendering.

The idea behind running this new, more tightly focused program is that modern materials seem to be difficult for many artists to wrap their heads around, and I think I can use my experience and knowledge to help them. 


I believe this program could benefit most anyone who’s having a hard time with modern materials and rendering, but it’s going to be focused on bringing people with very little or no production experience up to speed. 

While I’ll be getting into some complex topics and taking an in-depth look at some technical details of the texturing process, the point is to provide a solid knowledge base for people who are starting from zero. By providing as much detail as possible, I believe I’ll be able to answer a lot of questions before they even come up.

I’m going to be focusing specifically on materials for characters, how textures and shaders work, and how each of the different textures you use can affect how a character looks in a final, finished product — be it for a game or a personal portfolio. Additionally, I’ll be providing information and examples of common rendering techniques, and showing how shaders and textures interact with lights and post processing.

The overarching goal is to take a large chunk of what artists know about textures and shaders from on-the-job experience, and communicate that knowledge to artists who’ve never worked in a production environment.


I absolutely plan on continuing to educate other artists in the future. I believe that teaching others is an excellent way to reinforce and expand the knowledge I have, and it will also make my life easier down the road when I inevitably work with people who’ve benefited from some of the knowledge I’ve been able to impart.

The plan at the moment is to focus on this program first and foremost, and make further plans after seeing how this program goes. I learn new things about teaching every time I take the time to do it, and I’m sure this program and its focus will help solidify plans for the future. Something I’d definitely like to do down the road, though, is run more programs focused on other areas of character production, such as sculpting or creating low-poly models.

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Xavier Coelho-Kostolny, 3D Character Artist – Insomniac Games

Interview conducted by Artyom Sergeev

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