Tolin FX is an award winning Special FX Makeup Studio, serving the art and entertainment industries for over 20 years.
Tolin FX has a reputation for outstanding professionalism, detail oriented design, precise fabricaton, and a passion for creating. From concept to execution, Tolin FX provides superior solutions to complex creative challenges.
We create custom artworks for the entertainment industry, from monsters to special makeup effects, to props and set decoration. We work in feature and short film, television and interenet episodic, music videos, commercials, theatre, live performance, events, exhibits, museums, fine art, and private commission.
We utilize numerous tools and techniques from clay and pointy sticks to 3d printing and computer controlled machining as well as raw crafts like metal and wood, along with computer visual effects and 3d model design. We can sketch it on a napkin or sculpt it on the computer. We are always looking for new and old (but new to us) ways of solving the creative challenges of our clients.
We operate our special effects studio out of a 6000 square foot facility in Pittsburgh, PA's Beechview neighborhood. Our monster shop includes a show room that acts as a living portfolio, showing off our work from projects past, where we impress our clients and hold classes for the public occasionally. It is also where our lead sculptor, Kyle Roberts, keeps a desk with all of his Pinhead memorabelia. Looming above our showroom, and Kyle's sculpting station, is our technology loft, where we do our 3D printing and animatronic and micro electronics and puppet work. Adjacent the showroom is the squib fx department, where we make all of our blood and manufacture our invention Squib FX. We also have a replication area, where we have dedicated space for mold making and casting, including a foam latex and prosthetics room. Then there is the fabrication space, where we have our metal and wood working, CNC table, and spray booth. We use this room for raw fabrication, large projects, and finishing work.
Our mission at Tolin FX is simple: we strive to make your creative endeavor more awesome!
When you reach the point in your creative process that some part of your project needs focused specialized attention, that's when you call us. Whether its a monster for a movie, a prop for a play, or a set piece for an exhibit, we collaborate with our clients to solve their creative challenges and meet the demands of their projects.
We utilize any technique or technology that we can lean on to come up with solutions to creative challenges. This often means inventing or innovating, but always means learning and pushing the envelope. Our artists balance using the most sophisticated computer technology to design and fabricate with the more traditional approaches such as sculpture, molding and casting, painting to bring our creations to life.
Tolin FX is proud to do a lot of work with the community in Pittsburgh. We lecture about fx makeup at high schools and for teen groups. We also host schools at our shop, showing them severed heads and whatnot. We have even starred on a teen TV show, called Reel Teens.
Tolin FX also offers apprenticeships for those who are interested in expanding their knowledge of the craft. If you are serious about learning about fx makeup and the type of work we do, we will trade sweat for experience. Our apprentices work on real projects with real stakes, growing their portfolios and resumes.
Tolin FX has been recognized several times for various works that they have accomplished. The first of note was in Chicago for fx makeup for the play The Lt. of Inishmore at Northlight Theatre. For that Steve was awarded a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2009.
In 2011, Tolin FX was awarded the DATA award by the Pittsburgh Technology Council as a leading Pittsburgh company combining the vibrant Pittsburgh art and design scene with the technology industry that is growing fast. As part of the honor, Steve was awarded a trip to LA.
Mostly recently in 2017, Steve was awarded the Impact Elly Award by Pittsburgh Steeltown Entertainment Project for the impact that Tolin FX has had on the film industry in Southwestern PA. Tolin was honored with only 3 other award recipients, including the legendary George Romero. Special FX legend Tom Savini presented Steve the Impact Award, which made the whole event even more awesome!
Steve Tolin is the founder and owner/operator of Tolin FX. Excelling in complex collaborative creative environments he utilizes a wide array of design and fabrication skills and disciplines to manage teams and build projects from concept to completed fabrication. Steve has created and coordinated the special effects and special props for many high profile clients. Steve has also produced and secured distribution for his feature film It Came from Yesterday , drawing on all his skills as well as managing on every level of film production from the top down to bring his vision to life. He has taught master classes at many Universities including UCLA, Carnegie Mellon University, American Film Institute, and also volunteer lectures for youth groups and high schools about his craft. Steve has over 20 years of experience as a professional artist and has been recognized with several awards over the years celebrating his studio’s work. Steve is a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a member of IATSE Local 489, and a certified PADI scuba diver.
Tolin FX utilizes over 40 indepedent artists to carry out our work. Most of them are fellow Pittsburghers, but some come from other cities and some even other countries. So many eyes and so many brains creating together gives broad perspective to our work. It takes a village to create the awesome work we do. None of us is an island. We all work together and lean on each other to create the best work we can.