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Blender Animations Help British Police


thumb1.jpgWith the help of Ian Ball, British police are entering the animation age this week in a bid to get the car crime prevention message across to young people.

[Ian's] "Car Thief Keith" features a character called Keith who attempts to break into a car. When he breaks the window, a variety of weapons spring out of the boot and Keith is stopped in his tracks.

There are three different versions of the cartoon, each seeing Keith meet his end in a different way – by an AVSOM wackomatic, a plasma cannon or a freeze gun.

Viewers are reminded that this is a cartoon and you can't really buy a plasma cannon to protect your car but all you need to do is remove all property and lock your car and you won't have to - it will be safe from thieves.

Here's Car Thief Keith - Episode 1 (Plasma Cannon):

2.jpg 3.jpgYou can check out the other episodes (Avsom WAKOMATTIC, and Ice Blaster) at the "Car Thief Keith" website. These are also available on YouTube at "Keith's" YouTube page.

The press release can be viewed here.

And, there's a website banner available here.


  1. It's always good to see Blender being put to use, but please can someone tell Avon and Somerset Police that five year olds don't actually own and drive cars in Britain (at least not as far as I know and definitely not legally). While they are mildly funny I can't really see these clips having much of an impact on anyone actually much older than that.

  2. Jimmy Grumble, Michael Crawford... before you go calling something cr_p why don't you try to animate something. This kind of stuff can take weeks or months!

    Way to go Ian!

  3. Not gonna comment on the quality. Even the screenshot stills are more than I've produced with blender. But I will say that locking your car and removing valuables does not in anyway make it safe. The only way to a make a car safe from theft is for it to be so crappy it isn't worth it. Like mine.

  4. Wow, the modeling could use some work, but I like your style. I like the way that you use textures for the face as opposed to shape keys. Quite a nice cartoony style. Overall, I got a good laugh out of it, and excellent work!

  5. I don't like them intentionally, technically, they are badly illustrated,
    and the voice overs I don't like, too.
    Intentionally? These clips are advising acting on symptoms.

  6. I do like the ice and glass shatters, and the car only needs a bit of cleaning up to look proper. Keith, however, needs a fair bit of work (though I can hardly talk - I can't model humans to save my life) Perhaps use Mancandy :P

    The textures, too, like like they are straight from a game - not for use in a proper animation

    I don't mind the voiceovers, but it probably doesn't appeal to an audience that does drive cars (hey wait, I drive a car and didn't mind the voiceovers!)

    I do like the different systems that were installed - with a bit of cleaning up, they would be the thing that makes the clip more memorable (I don't like the fact that they say "you can't really buy a such and such" at the end, though)

    So, overall, reasonably good, but not really a finished product, in my view.

  7. mmm... the only way to "protect" "your" car would be that the car wasn't yours (even if the car is crap, some could steal it just for fun).... public cars would be cool... (there is already some "shared" cars in here) specialy electric one (haaa if only they put Tesla Motor's Elise mod in the streets :p )....

    Private property is a hell ... free and opensource product is the future.

  8. I had to check that it wasn't april the 1st again.

    Is the Met so deperate that they have to resort to these feeble animations?

    I don't want to be rude....but I just can't see any merit at all.....I tried.....I really did. That helium voice makes me cringe, the animation is terrible, and in an age where youngsters are watching things like spongebob squarepants, they are as likely to find this as lame as any adult does.

  9. hmm - well I haven't time to watch but looking at some of the stills makes me want to cringe!! I can't see these "spreading" very far to be honest !!

    @Höhrer: - Boris? - I remember a boris from one of the tintin books lol!!

    -epat. ;)

  10. Sovereignncc-e on

    It could be argued that the artist's rather amateurish style was intentional. We are all barraged with high-quality CG advertisements, both photorealistic and cartoonish. What you never see are commercials like this one. This may not be an outstanding example of Blender's capabilities, but I think that if I saw this ad on TV, it would definitely stand out in my mind. And besides, let's face it: who doesn't like watching criminals get beat up by high-tech weaponry?:)

  11. Some of the criticisms here are quite laughable. I would bet good money that most of the people that have criticized these animations absolutely could not produce anything like it themselves. It's clear that Ian (the creator) has an advanced level of understanding of Blender. To produce something like this takes quite a bit of knowledge and effort. There are some not-so-simple things happening in these animations. Being able to create test animations and still images is not the same as creating an animation that has to meet specific requirements (message, entertainment value, project deadline, animation length restrictions, etc.). There are many things going on here that I'm sure would stump quite a few people:

    - characterized walk-cycle
    - music, synchronized sound effects
    - scene transitions
    - particle effects (it's easy to create some particle effects as a test but, to put them in the context of an animated scene, and have them actually work, is more involved.)
    - controlling the visibility of objects
    - breaking glass
    - animated robotic arm
    - "keith" shattering to a pile of ice fragments (very cool!)
    - animated text
    - "shake" effect on text
    - motion blur
    - uv mapping
    - Blender's video sequencer
    - shape keys (?)
    - using the NLA Editor
    - multi-layered materials
    - pretty darn good timing overall
    - and more...

    Also, looking at the "Car Thief Keith Website", the Flash presentation is very well done. Clearly not done by an amateur. I think maybe some of you should take a closer look and really "see" what's there instead of reacting to the fact that it's not Pixar or whatever "standard" that needs to be met before something is validated. It's called style. But, of course, you already know that because it's obvious that you know so much.

  12. Anonymous Programmer on

    Despite my utter dislike of "Car Thief Keith," I must wholeheartidly agree with Kernon- it is much more complicated that it appears. What needs to be improved is not animation but, rather, modeling. However, I do not know what audience "Car Thief Keith" was intended for.

    If such an animation seems difficult in Blender, try writing your own application from scratch- in C++, let alone in assembly or machine code!

  13. Oh Boy!!! I get TEN movie qoute points!! I think that's more than anyone else in the entire Blender Nation!! Maybe if I save up my points I can buy Hoodwinked on DVD.

    p.s. "we're all gunna die in here"

  14. Kernon, huh?
    You are completely wrong. Misdriven. It does not matter how technically good anyone might be or not (if or if not).
    What matters is only, do I like it, do you appreciate it? My answer is clear. No. Absolutely not. Not the style, not the intention. May be it's well made, to me it does not matter.
    I like reading well printed books, I appreciate well printed books (or newspapers) - well, but I also read badly printed books if only they have something to say that seem anyway important or interesting to me.

    @Sovereignncc-e : "who doesn't like watching criminals get beat up by high-tech weaponry"
    pffft - who says who is a criminal? Come on, think about this just a few seconds and think again
    who will own, does own, this kind of weaponry?

  15. Wow! So many comments! Thanks for those who are sticking up for me!

    This is only my second ever Blender project so yeah, it's amateur and it needs work.

    I'm not going to make any excuses to those who don't like it. But I will say that the criticism is hardly constructive and not likely to give me confidence in any future projects. Some of it is just down right harsh, which is a shame for the Blender Community.

    I am a Blender hobbyist who just so happens to work for the police and I was responding to a challenge to come up with innovative new ways to get the message across about car crime which is a problem in our area.

    It is something I did in my own time on limited resources and I had to do everything, including the voice over which I recorded on my cheap home microphone. It ended up sounding hissy so I changed the pitch to disguise it.

    I wanted to do this to show what I could do (& what Blender could do) in the hope of being given permission to do more of this sort of stuff. And at the moment this looks to be paying off... so yay! :-)

    I saw an animation the other day that looked superb, real quality, but it was only 7 seven minutes long and it took the guy 8 years to complete. Sometimes, you just have to cut corners.

    At the end of the day, I've learned a lot and I've got an article on the front page at BlenderNation. I've also had Keith appear on various local newspapers, ITV West and Police Review magazine so it can't be that bad can it?

  16. good work son, maybe now you can give some attention to mars :)

    she has been missing you!

    let me know if you still want some adobe stuff... you know where to find me :)

    [oh yeah, i will be down your way soon...]

  17. Thanks Kernon. And thanks for sticking up for me and listing all those things that I can do, now that does give me confidence!

    Another project in a similar vein is already at the rendering stage and some of the improvements include a more detailed character and scenery and more subtleties in the animation.

    The more you do projects the more you learn stuff and the more confident you get. It’s all about progress.

  18. Höhrer, that movie is what got me to get into Blender and start animating. The movie is clearly more cheaply rendered than Pixar movies, but the plot and everything was so great, so I thought perhaps I can do something like that - on a smaller scale, of course. Now I'm finishing up on my first short (really short - 35 seconds not including credits) and it's all thanks to that movie.

  19. Ian, I am hoping to write a story about this for Can you get in touch with me and let me know if you are interested or not? It's tinahdee at gmail dot com.

  20. Good work Ian. You have provided a resource that adds a refreshing dimension to a very dry subject. Don't be disheartened by negative comments. It's a leap forward in crime prevention messages and should be applauded. Well done.

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