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Blender Used in Pipeline for Metallica Video


Robert Schober wrote to tell us about a recent project he was involved in for a music video for Metallica.

"It's been a while, but it occurred to me that I used Blender for some of the models and animation in the music video I directed for Metallica's last single "All Nightmare Long"… most of it was done with Zbrush and Maya, but the bomber, weather balloon, and giant walking robots were done by me using blender…since i started with blender, I like to use it when i have to make elements on the fly to pass on to other artists i work with on projects I'm trying to get them to learn blender in addition to the industry standards so I can maintain an open source pipeline on my vids)…

Anyway, the video is pretty long (9 minutes) and was conceived as media hoax viral stunt…Kirk Hammett announced on YouTube that they had found some old soviet films and were cutting it into a short film with one of their songs as the backing track… All of the footage was shot on reversal stock and color timed to look like 3-strip color film of the 30s and 60s… the animation is a combination of hand painted mattes and cell shaded 3D tied together with a pass in magic bullet using custom settings… Rolling Stone listed it at #3 on their 20 best vids of 2008… Quick comment to readers that may comment, yes there is a lot of subtitle reading involved and yes the video is not cut at the breakneck speed of a typical heavy metal video… we thought that it would become tedious to watch a fast paced rock video for almost 10 minutes and decided to try an edit that has many events timed to the song but largely treats the song like a well-matched soundtrack to a film… sort of like playing Dark Side of The Moon over The Wizard of Oz. The intent was to make it seem more plausible that the footage was authentic and not staged as video… "

Rolling Stone Article and Metallica Video

Robert Shobo's Site HD VERSION

Rolling Stone "Long Weekend Rock List: Best Music Videos of 2008"


  1. this publication is twice greater for me! :) because I'm a huge metallica fan!
    wow... two wonderful things together - metallica and blender

  2. It's bad when they use it for propaganda. A new cold war, evil Russians, and so on.
    Cool animation, but what's behind...

  3. One of the most interesting, inspiring shorts that I've seen in a long time. Great to see a team take a big step backwards away from hi-def Disney-schlick and aim talents exploring something ugly & interesting. Unique + beautiful pacing, CGI used really well in conjunction with the cam shots. Heck... it was great to watch at youtube res... how often does terrible resolution and noisy compresssion make a cg short look & feel better?!

    Thanks for taking the time to point this one out!

  4. I also agree with David, fantastic look and feel here.

    Metallica has a history of this kind of short film soundtrack approach to music video. They used footage from 'Johnny Got His Gun' for one of the versions of the video for One. That is some of the creepiest stuff going though there was no gore. It had a similar documentary-like vibe.

    This particular film also echoes some of Gerald Scarfe's animation from the Wall as well... Especially the flag piercing the zombie...

    Great stuff!

  5. That is a strange movie for sure. I wasn't impressed with the use of blender. The models were only mediocre and the renders weren't that great. But maybe that was just the bad quality of the YouTube movie.

    At any rate the theme isn't my kind of thing.

    NathanKP - Made With Blender

  6. Hmmmmm. I've hardly ever heard Metallica, and it's, er... well, when I was listening to the words, I heard stuff like "crypt", "run of out luck" etc. So, overall, the parts with the man reporting, and maybe a little bit else I liked. But overall I did not like the zombie theme, etc. But thanks for sharing, anyhow. It's good to know that Blender is being carried into the industry by people who care. Thanks! :)

  7. Art's alway a bit of an inkblot. But I really think the video's about pride: "luck runs out..." and it ends in the U.S. as kindof a warning. I don't think any cultural offense was intended, Kostiagol. People in the U.S. actually love the fact that Russia took that kindof stuff seriously: U.F.O.s, Pychics. I love this video and song a lot.

  8. Nice Blender retro-style!
    But by the way: Metallica is one of the worst metal-bands! Zero points for the artistic value!!
    Thumbs down!!

  9. Thanks for letting us know about the Blender use in this video. I think Blender gets used here and there in a lot of professional environments that nobody ever hears about, so it's great to get a peek behind the scenes like this.

    As for the video, I like it a lot. Nice use of various visual styles to tell a story.

    The song's pretty good too... maybe time for me to give Metallica another chance?

  10. Well I'm listening to Metallica as I read this... :P I had no idea, I just wanted something to listen to and had dug up a copy of Reload to relive the days when I used to listen to it constantly. I mainly do gothic metal instead these days! :P

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