Follow this link and read the THU Tales with​ Pedro Conti


When Andrés Esteban Menza Vados heard that one of his 3D idols would be attending Trojan Horse in 2014, he knew he had to also go to the event. That artist was Alessandro Baldasseroni, a character artist who has worked at Blur Studio and Riot Games.

“I heard about THU one day checking the 3DTotal forums,” says Menza, a 24-year-old Colombian multimedia engineer, “and I saw a post saying that Alessandro, who was one of my very first inspirations in this field, was attending an art event. To be honest, I didn't care about anyone else, and I knew that it was my chance to meet him.”

This opportunity to meet an idol was a big deal for Menza. In Colombia, the 3D and entertainment industry is still relatively young and mainly focuses on advertising and video games, Menza says. 

“The advertisement market is really interesting due to the kind of products that can be achieved, but it’s highly monopolized by a few big studios that sub-contract animators and modelers just for some projects, and just to get the credits, artists use to offer their work really cheap, almost free, and that is dangerous for the market.”

Menza, who conferred with fellow artist and teacher Sergio Andrés Ortiz González about some of the challenges and hard truths of the Colombian 3D/CG industry for this story, notes that the advertising market also has some very tight schedules. 

“Artists need to work really fast and hard, and most of the time, quality is compromised, and quantity seems to be more important. The payment is not good at all and payment dates are not assured, mostly because clients don’t understand the hard work required, and the managers of the studios take the art as business.”

Things are somewhat brighter in the Colombian video games industry. Menza suggests this industry has grown through the entrepreneurship of young and visionary people who “develop interesting and creative products using great and different tools such as 3D/2D packages and popular game engines.”

The video games field in the country consists of small studios and start-ups. That, says Menza, makes it easier to find a job without being connected with a big studio. On the down side, at least for 3D artists, “the most vacancies are for developers and graphical designers, because a lot of studios focus their work on apps and smartphone games.”

If all this sounds a little depressing (or even familiar), it isn’t from any lack of enthusiasm. “Colombia has a lot of talent,” states Menza, “and there are hundreds of artists looking forward to find a job.” 

The challenge for some artists, though, is looking outside the country at what other locations are achieving. “Colombian artists, managers and owners need to see all the things that can be accomplished and all the artistic work needed, and how really good studios around the world prefer quality before quantity,” explains Menza. “That’s why, most of us want to work in studios where, artistic work is really appreciated, and our work is taken as an important task, not just a business.”

“This is one of the reasons I spent a lot of money to attend THU,” adds Menza, “to know what else the entertainment industry offers, to know how artists work, to learn what is needed to work in the industry as an artist, bring this knowledge to my country and, maybe, start changing the mindset.” 

After that first THU in 2014, Menza ultimately got even more out of the event than just hearing Baldasseroni talk and by meeting him. “After THU I was a different person. I know it sounds like a cliche phrase but it is true. My work has improved a lot because of the advice I received. Without THU, it could have taken months or years to learn.” 


Follow this link and read the THU Tales with​ Pedro Conti