The Matlab rendering engine can break under some remote desktop use cases, including VNC or X11 forwarding. Local Matlab plots can break due to GPU graphics driver problems.
Setting Matlab figure renderer can workaround Matlab 3D plot issues.
f = figure; set(f, 'renderer', 'painters')
The default renderer
'opengl' is generally significantly more performant than painters.
provides extensive details about the rendering backend.